Somewherein using SMS to raise funds for Sidr Victims

by Dina on November 23, 2007 · 0 comments

in Onlineactivism,Social Tools in Disasters

Cyclone Sidr Aparna Ray, in a post at Global Voices Online links to several blogs that are trying to garner aid and resources to help victims of Cyclone Sidr. [Image on right courtesy BBC News]. Towards the end of the post, she shares this simple yet cool use of SMS to get people to donate:

Bangla blogging platform Somewherein, in association with Save the Children, has launched an innovative SMS based campaign “Jagoron” (which literally means ‘the awakening’) to enable those living in Bangladesh to do their bit in aid of Sidr victims. The campaign works as follows:

A mobile phone user types SAVE and sends SMS to a given number. Each SMS costs Bangladeshi Taka (BDT)2. Then Somewherein and other sponsors add a certain monetary figure, currently standing at 15BDT (this is a dynamic figure which will go up as more corporate sponsors join the campaign) for every BDT2 generated through the SMS and the total amount is deposited in the Save the Children Cyclone Relief fund.

For those living outside Bangladesh, Somewherein requests them to send their donations directly to the Save the Children Cyclone Relief fund as this SMS facility is available for local residents only.

Am wondering whether an application like Twitter can enable donations like this on a larger global scale!

In a chat with her, Aparna also pointed me to the right panel at the blog, which has another cool use of SMS. Only this time, it’s SMS-Blog! It’s in Bangla, so I had to ask her to interpret it for me. It was set up to gather breaking news and all comments sent in are posted in the right panel. More on how it works, and how it’s being used, in Aparna’s words:

well its very simple…the blog gives directions @bba . eg., @bba curfew relaxed from 8am to 10pm. send to 5455. and it gets posted on the blog, that’s it. and the right hand bar of the blog reflects the comments. since its sms generally comments are short. but people are now using it even to wish happy birthday or send general messages :) . its useful and fun! and taps the Asian’s love for texting :)

Very cool!  Also check out Mobile Active for more on mobile phones and civic action.

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