From Colombia to Ghana to Canada, communicating with members of parliament, tracking city council spending, and advocating for environmental oversight of extractive industries are among a wide range of governance activities that have become possible for anyone with access to an internet connection, a computer, or a smartphone. That’s a lot of people, but not nearly enough.
According to the report, with support from the Foundation to Promote Open Society, Developing Radio Partners (DRP) launched the one year pilot project, working with three local radio stations in each country. The primary aim of Zachilengedwe Tsogolo Lathu, as the participants named it ("Our Environment, Our Future"), was to empower rural Zambians and Malawians to address key climate change issues, especially local deforestation, by improving their access to information on the subject via radio and mobile phones.
UPDATE: 18 June 2013 According to the Mobilisation Lab, this is now a World Record-breaking garbage clean-up! Congratulations everyone! FrontlineSMS has had a strong connection with environmental issues since our Founder had the initial spark of an idea while working on an anti-poaching project in South Africa. We're delighted to be able to host Een Irawan Putra of KPC Bogor and the Indonesia Nature Film Society to our blog, to share how he used FrontlineSMS in Indonesia to invite he community to help clean up the garbage clogging the Ciliwung River.
Our twenty-seventh guest post comes from ECOCARE Maldives, an NGO working for the protection and sustainable development of the environment, writing about how they've used FrontlineSMS in their environmental awareness programme with local school children. It's an incredibly simple use case, but it helps them to continue offering the service, and making a difference on the ground...
ECOCARE was introduced to FrontlineSMS software by 350.org during one of their SMS projects, Project Mobilize. After the October 24, 2009 event we used the software in one of our environmental awareness programs.
At the beginning of 2000, an ongoing environmental awareness program, called the Sonevafushi Nature Trip, was launched to create awareness among the primary school children of Malé and Baa Atoll. Baa Atoll lies about 96 miles to the north of Malé. Transporting 100 school children and teachers to the atoll was quite a challenge. School children from Malé and islands in Baa atoll work as colleagues to study the environmental issues such as mangrove ecosystem, coral reefs, beach erosion, biodiversity, natural vegetation, and waste in the atoll. We run the six-day program every year, during the school holidays.
The project makes it possible for children from Malé, who don't have the opportunity to experience greenery in the dusty, smoke-laden city. They are given a chance to learn what the environment is and what could be done to protect and preserve the environment for sustainable future development. They learn about the dependence that the fishing industry and tourism have on the coral reefs and life around it, and the great importance of protecting the reefs. At the same time, school children and the community in the islands of Baa atoll learn from their counterparts from Malé the extent of the environmental degradation that Malé has gone through in its urbanization, and understand the consequences if Baa follows in Malé's footsteps. In future, these children will become the citizens making the decisions to turn away from a path of environmental damage.
While the participants spend almost one week away from their family and concentrate only on the environment, we send important updates and other information via SMS to the mobile phones of their family members and other authorities, using FrontlineSMS. We've found it to be much more reliable than other softwarewe've used.