Saturday, October 17, 2009

Use of Mobile Phone SMS in Program Delivery and Monitoring

Increasingly, mobile phones are becoming cheaper and thus more widespread around the world and owned and used by the poor. SMS is most likely the most widely used electronic means of communication in the world, with an estimated 2.5 billion active users.

Percentage of people covered by mobile services, by country in the MEE Region:
                         % population covered     Mobile phone service
Country                by mobile service          per 100 people

Armenia:                        88%                              63
Azerbaijan                     94%                               53
Egypt                            98%                               40
Georgia                         96%                               59
Iraq                               72%                              n/a
Jordan                           99%                              23
Kazakhstan                     94%                              80
Kyrgyzstan                     90%                               41
Tajikistan                        4%                                1
West Band/Gaza             95%                              n/a
Yemen                           68%                               3

Why use mobile phone SMS in development?
1. Very cost effective for communication (data and information).
2. Fast because SMS is sent in real time and immediately.
3. High exposure in that, generally, 90% of all SMS messages are opened.
4. Potential for large reach depending on how many use mobile phones.
5. Personal in the SMS can be personalized.
6. Interactive in that receives can respond.

If you would like to read more, below are links to sites that provide more information about mobile phones in development work.

Community mobilization (FrontlineSMS
Cash transfer (

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