MobiSAM is a project in Southern Africa that promotes digital citizen engagement and two-way communication between citizens and Government. It exists as a collaborative research project between De Montfort University, Rhodes University, and the United Nations University (Macau), together with partners in government (local and national), civil society, and NGOs. The MobiSAM project first begun in 2012, in Grahamstown, in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. Local researchers at Rhodes University engaged with local government, media and civil society to develop and integrate a digital citizen engagement tool for reporting basic service delivery issues (water, sanitation, electricity, and parks and recreation). The MobiSAM technology incorporates both a reporting interface for citizens (via a mobile or web application), and also a ticketing function (mainly used by the municipality to address internal communication challenges) used for:
- Direct citizen reporting (water, sanitation, roads, electricity, stray animals, & finance related);
- Collating & visualising reported problems through heat maps & graphs per ward area;
- Monitor reports by all registered users (citizens, CSOs, media, municipalities) to facilitate evidence-based engagement;
- Communication enabling the municipality to update citizens on the progress of their reports, provide information regarding planned/unplanned outages, and push out service delivery polls to assess the situation in different wards or citizen satisfaction in addressing an issue.
The MobiSAM project continues to function in the local municipality in Grahamstown, and has dynamically evolved from a research project to a tool for evidence-based engagement between local and national government. Contextual challenges still exist though, which most of our publications speak to – nonetheless, research continues to contribute to strategies around self-sustainability and/or continuity of the initiative.
In 2018, a new project was initiated by the MobiSAM team, in collaboration with the NGO SAfAIDS, called MobiSAfAIDS. SAfAIDS has been implementing a regional programme across the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region entitled, Transforming Lives: Transforming the Policy Environment for Accelerating Access to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) by Adolescents and Young People within the SDG Framework. The programme aims at transforming the policy environment towards upholding the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of adolescents and young people. The programme is premised around four pillars of intervention: policy development; policy advocacy; social accountability monitoring; and evidence and knowledge sharing. Through the Transforming Lives programme, SAfAIDS has partnered with Civil Society, Governments, Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) service providers and MobiSAM to pilot evidence-based engagement around access to SRH services by Adolescents and Young People. The MobiSAfAIDS project will be scaled to other regions in South Africa, and adapted for a new programme called Advocacy and Community-Based Monitoring for HIV & TB Key and Vulnerable Populations.
MobiSAM Duration: 2012 – cont.
MobiSAfAIDS (Transforming Lives) Duration: 2018 – 2021
MobiSAfAIDS (Community Based Monitoring) Duration: 2021 – 2022
Granted by SAfAIDS (funded by Sweden and AIDS Foundation South Africa)
Lead: Caroline Khene