Despite Bolivia’s progress toward generating accurate statistical information, there is a lack of data available at the municipal level to create effective social policies that address the most vulnerable children’s needs. At a time when budgets and decision-making power is being decentralized to the departmental and municipal levels, this information could effectively guide the distribution of public funds.
On another note, young Bolivians currently lack a voice in shaping programmes and expenditures that affect them. They are not generally involved in gathering information, raising awareness, or advocating for change that affects them and their families. Increasing their involvement can help to guarantee new policies have an impact on their lives.
Accurate information collection is vital to monitoring and improving children’s lives, especially for members of indigenous populations living in hard-to-reach rural areas. The limited information available now comes from the national census and surveys that reflect national conditions as a whole and cannot shed light on the reality of local conditions. RapidSMS text message-based data collection can solve the statistical challenges Bolivia facies. Today, mobile phone coverage reaches 80% of the country and 76% of Bolivian households have at least one cell phone. UNICEF Bolivia can easily deploy this tool to conduct health and nutrition surveys, register children in public health campaigns, track supplies, and promote community discussion. Using RapidSMS data collection would give the country the ability to collect and organize complex data by working together with local people, especially young people, who have basic cell phones.
With the instantaneous ability to post information collected through free SMS texts to the Internet, RapidSMS’ flexibility and wide scope will allow the Government of Bolivia and other organizations to contact people living in the hardest to reach locations and overcome prior obstacles like poor roads, a lack of electricity or a slow postal system. With this real time data, UNICEF Bolivia can improve programming and support the Government of Bolivia to create timely evidence-based policy responses and budgets that address the needs of the country’s most vulnerable children.
This project will start with an initial group of 500 SMS reporters who will be trained to provide information in the form of texted polling responses tied to their individual cell phone numbers (to avoid the skewing of data through repeated responses or from individuals outside the reporting group). Providing this free SMS-enabled service will empower young Bolivians to act as “SMS reporters” who respond to polls, receive factual information and poll results, and voice their opinions on the issues that concern them the most. Collecting this timely and accurate data on the country’s most vulnerable and excluded populations will bolster UNICEF Bolivia and the Government of Bolivia’s ongoing efforts to protect children and families from structural poverty and inequality. Improved youth participation will also help raise awareness on specific issues, improve community-led development and provide information sharing and policy advocacy at all levels of government. UNICEF will share the collected data in full with local government partners.
The overall objective is: To use RapidSMS texting to support data collection and youth engagement activities.
The specific objectives are to:
|Activity||Expresed in USD|
|Year 1||Year 2||Year 3||Total|
Design and implementation of the pilot project
Develop a software application and web platform
Provide training for SMS reporters
|2.||Communications and advocacy
Raise awareness about the benefits of having a voice heard
Recruit SMS reporters on radio and television
|5.||Technical assistance (Build the capacities of local authorities and NGOs)||50,000||50,000||50,000||150,000|
|6.||Monitoring and evaluation||10,000||10,000||15,000||35,000|
|7.||External communication and visibility||5,000||5,000||5,000||15,000|
|Total programmable amount||260,000||210,000||245,000||715,000|
|Recovery cost (10%)||26,000||21,000||24,500||71,500|
|Total required budget||286,000||231,000||269,500||786,500|