We're delighted to announce the publication of the first in our series of in-depth case studies of FrontlineSMS implementations, from Plan International, documenting their work in Benin to develop and pilot a Violence Against Children SMS helpline. Linda Raftree, who many of you will know as @meowtree on Twitter, has written extensively about the programme on her blog, but the case study tries to pull out a bit more of the institutional processes and the technical pitfalls they overcame in the process.
About the programme
In early 2009, Plan was working to strengthen both local and national reporting of trafficking and violence in Benin, West Africa. They were looking for a way to lower children’s and community members’ barriers to reporting, including the risk of reprisals and stigma, communications challenges, and access to places where violence could be reported. The Plan team theorised that collecting reports via SMS, which is anonymous and low-cost, would encourage reporting and allow for a better understanding of the nature and the quantity of violence that was happening.
This in turn could be used to raise awareness around the severity of the problem, advocate for the necessary resources to prevent it, and develop better and more targeted response and follow-up mechanisms. The ability to visualise the data on a map could also have an impact on decision makers and might be a tool that children and youth could use to generate dialogue and advocate an end to cultural practices that allow for violence against them.
The case study covers the training and piloting process, combining Ushahidi and FrontlineSMS, results and key learning to date, and some of the challenges they faced - such as finding appropriate modems, and getting people to SMS, rather than calling, the helpline number.
Seeking new case studies
We hope to produce many such case studies, which are aimed at staff looking to implement SMS or FrontlineSMS in their work, but also can be passed on to managers and donors to help them understand the concepts and challenges involved - if you would like to be one of them, get in touch!
To read more about the programme, download the case study here: Plan International VAC case study, [pdf 1MB].