Concern Worldwide, a company limited by guarantee, Registered Company Number: 39647, Registered Revenue Number: CHY 5745,
Registered Charity Number: 20009090, Registered in Ireland,
Registered address is 52 – 55 Lower Camden Street, Dublin 2.
Phone: +353 1 417 7700
Setting up a mobile phone programme
In her latest post, Amanda McLelland explains how the emergency response team successfully set Concern’s mobile phone transfer programme in Niger.
We started by tackling the biggest issues. We purchased phones, sourcing new, very low-cost models. We produced picture-based teaching tools and mobilised teams to over a hundred villages. These teams taught women to recognise letters and numbers, to send and receive text messages and codes they’ll receive for cash. Concern also gave groups of women solar-powered chargers.
We realised that each beneficiary would need photo ID to sign a phone contract. A couple of calls confirmed that the women we were targeting had no form of ID whatsoever. No problem, I thought. We’ll just make them some ourselves. It seemed like a great idea: it would decrease fraud, increase accountability and allow third parties to verify recipients’ identity.
Reality kicked in when I faced the fact that we needed to photograph 9,000 women in 116 separate remote villages. We scoured the internet for hardware to allow us to design and print the cards. We also had to get community leaders to confirm each individual’s identity.
We gave each of six of our education teams a laptop and a webcam. We have excellent local staff, but out of the 24 assigned to help, only four had strong computer skills. So, intensive training sessions were held on how to use the software and tools.
The villagers had never seen anything like it and were totally fascinated. Most of the women had never even seen a photograph of themselves. Now they were looking at themselves and their friends on a computer screen. Everyone wanted to look, causing quite a commotion and slowing the teams down considerably.
Tracked for research
After six days, the process was complete. Three weeks later, 9,000 women possess their first ever photo ID, allowing them to get their cash at authorised points. We track the participants across not only our cash programmes, but also our nutrition programmes. This helps Concern’s research into the effectiveness of cash interventions in food crises and their impact on malnutrition rates.
With 7.1 million people facing extreme hunger in Niger, we are working against the clock to give people what they need to survive.