These are the projects for which we are currently seeking funding.
1. TALC Zambia
Our partnership with Treatment Advocacy and Literacy Campaign (TALC) began more than five years ago with DFID funding, and the most recent Comic Relief project ended in September 2018. We would be seeking in the region of £500,000.
TALC is a Zambian NGO led by and for people living with HIV, and is running the End AIDS portal in Zambia. A pilot phase was initiated with funding from DFID to cover three locations in Zambia. Following on from the piloting phase, we have now completed the implementation of a transitional phase with funds obtained from a Comic Relief grant (£419,807) over two years.
The End AIDS Portal provides a one-to-one service for people living with or concerned about HIV that enables them to ask HIV-related questions by mobile phone short message service (SMS) and receive individualised SMS responses to their questions. It enables a large number of people living with HIV to access information that is useful for them and supports their adherence to medication. Over 10,000 people have requested information and/or have been reminded of their appointments to collect their medicine or undertake blood test to assist the monitoring of the treatment they receive.
Pregnant women who are HIV positive are given advice about breastfeeding to ensure their babies remain free from the HIV virus. Young people hesitant to test for HIV are advised about the benefits of knowing their HIV status.
In order to influence the Ministry of Health, the project makes use of the gathered data to inform future HIV programming. The project has also trained clinicians in new treatment guidelines in order to improve their skills in HIV management at the front line within the health service system. In the event that clinicians are faced with questions that they cannot handle, they are also welcome to contact the portal for advice.
As part of the capacity building support provided to our Zambian Partner, TALC is now more systematic in drawing work plans for each of the staff members and has recently completed the organisational strategic plan for the upcoming five years.
“CODA has helped the organisation to improve in its organisation and planning, being focused, analytical and also documenting stories of change to demonstrate the impact the programme makes in people’s lives who are reached by our programming, especially with the End AIDS Portal. CODA has also been instrumental in ensuring that our M&E system is improved in order to effectively monitor progress towards set indicators.”
2. People’s Health Movement
The aim is to support the building of mobile tools for collective action by Grassroots Health Enabled and Amandla.mobi, for use in the first instance by the South African People’s Health Movement.
The wider project involves people empowering themselves, their families, their communities by taking advantage of the widespread usage of mobile phones as a means to convene community health action groups. It improves lives by providing health information allowing people to improve their own, their families’ and their community’s health, encouraging local action on social determinants of health and through local advocacy improving health services. The groups use mobile communication to convene groups, share information, and support groups to set their own community health priorities, acknowledging that health has social and political as well as personal aspects. Many groups have already been formed using door-to-door community building but the mobile tools will extend reach and efficiency of building a people health movement to demand improved health services nationwide. The People’s Health Movement works with communities to understand people’s health needs, help them solve some of their own problems, and pressure government to provide better quality services collectively.
The People’s Health Movement (PHM) has 15 years’ experience working with communities in South Africa and over 20 other countries to identify health needs, educating people on the politics of health including the social determinants of health, organising local action to improve services, researching health challenges, and coordinating a progressive voice in national policy.
In June 2018 Bavuse was launched as a tool for mobilising activism around health, and within a month there were over 2,000 users. The initial core technology has been built allowing free-to-user communication by SMS, USSD, email, mobisite, Please-Call-Me, Facebook and other channels, in a way that supports targeted conversations for individual information, local self-organising and national advocacy.
Bavuse is a live communications tool for people without access to normal computers, and PHM is a respected organisation involved in national health policy, and local activism and education, particularly in the Western Cape. 4,000 people signed up to Bavuse after its initial launch in June 2018.
3. Constitutency Watch, Zambia
Constituency Watch uses a Facebook page-per-constituency to facilitate direct citizen engagement with their elected representatives. Constituents comment on service provision in the neighbourhood (such as rubbish collection, potholes, sanitation etc.) and members of parliament explain what action they intend to take to address prioritised issues. Constituency Watch is both a citizen engagement strategy and an accountability technology; it encourages and facilitates civic participation and interaction with elected representatives to make a practical contribution towards participatory democracy. This is in a context where MPs rarely, if ever, visit their constituencies except in election months, and in a country where press freedom and public demonstration is supressed. Citizens in Zambia have never previously had access to such open and participatory means of engaging in the democratic process and the pilot has already paid dividends, and the initiative is already creating a great deal of interest within Zambia.
The next phase of work is to establish a Constituency Watch website to aggregate map and share experiences across constituencies. This will include issue mapping using Ushahidi to integrate crowd-sourcing of social media content from members of the general public. Mapping will be key collateral for bloggers and journalists to substantiate and illustrate stories to take issues to a national audience.
The website will allow constituents to submit reports of local issues live to an online map. By using an SMS short-code anyone with a regular cellphone can submit reports about an issue that has been resolved or remains a concern. Reports can also be submitted by email or Twitter and can be illustrated with photos or video.