ICT (Information Communication Technology) has undergone an explosion in Africa, most notably in the area of mobile communications. Internet access is still limited, particularly in sub-Saharan countries and very often innovations in mobile technology have stepped in to fill the gap. In Lesotho many young people do not have an email address, but have more than one mobile phone, although market penetration (currently at 39%) is likely to be heavily twisted towards urban populations.
Kick4life has adopted the use of mobile technology to increase the comprehensive knowledge of young people on HIV and AIDS. The project is also designed to increase uptake of HIV Testing Services and peer counseling, increase ART adherence of participants, and provide easy access to support networks where correct information on HIV prevention and HIV counseling and testing services can be obtained.
How it works?
Cell phone text messages are automatically sent out to Vodacom Subscribers who currently make up about 70% of the market in Lesotho. The messages are about HIV Life skills education and HIV testing and counseling. Pre and post testing will prove whether such messages can promote changes in attitude and even lead to take actions like going for HIV Testing&Counseling. The project has taken place in 2 stages so far:
- Question is sent out to the subscriber and they are to respond back with the correct answer; response levels are measured both before and after the release of a key message corresponding to the question.
- Subscribers are prompted to text in a word ‘HIV’ to the # 54321,beginning an automatic dialogue in which the participant is asked various questions about their testing history, and then offered the service of locating their nearest clinic.
Over 2 million responses were received in the first few months indicating that many people are reading the texts, are willing to respond, and showing interest in SMS as a means of communication. In broad-spectrum the figures showed a good increase in correct responses after the key message had been released, suggesting that the campaign had been successful and there is an increasing knowledge level on key topics such as HIV transmission, prevention and treatment.
Given the encouraging early successes of the campaign, Kick4Life are now investing in developing a more robust software platform to help further develop the project and make it easier to create more specific campaigns for different audiences in the future. Let us all join hands in transforming lives for the better, from all different parts of the world whether you're a company, organisation, a football club or individual you are welcome to support us in achieving our mission. For more information check our website www.Kick4Life.org and feel free to get in touch.