Tostan committed to scaling up its Community Empowerment Program (CEP) which ensures that marginalized groups, notably women and girls, have the requisite knowledge to access the 21st century's pathways to sustainable development. This commitment brings the best practice and award-winning CEP model to communities across Africa with new components.
Tostan will accomplish this through the implementation of an innovative, engaging and practical human rights-based literacy program teaching SMS text messaging for economic empowerment and positive social change. Tostan will:
- Finalize a new module within the already existing Tostan Community Empowerment Program to provide literacy and numeracy skills to non-literate, lowest-income rural populations of Africa, with an emphasis on reaching adolescent girls, through the use of SMS text messaging. The newly developed SMS for Literacy module will enable affordable access to financial services (credit, savings, funds transfer and insurance) and to health information and services.
- Extend the Tostan CEP model to networks of committed African communities using new information technologies such as SMS text messaging to coordinate initiatives for social norms change (such as female genital cutting and child/forced marriage) in collaboration with relatives in the African diaspora.
- Facilitate the implementation of community-demanded services, including mobile banking, health and education services, as well as business opportunities-- in direct collaboration with partners such as Manobi, which will contribute to improved health, economic well-being and respect for human rights.
- Create social and practical access to mobile banking services for millions of adolescent girls and women in rural African communities through a program of community-led development and technology-centered literacy training.
The results of this initiative will have measurable impacts in many areas including both health and poverty alleviation within a five-year period in seven African countries specified in this commitment. These impacts will also reach other African nations as Tostan extends its geographic scope in the coming years.
Tostan's commitment strategy will be divided into two phases:
Phase I: Pilot Phase for Finalization of SMS Texting for Literacy Sessions and Techniques (October 2008-December 2009)
- Work in 240 existing Tostan partner communities in their second year of the Tostan CEP using the refined literacy module with SMS Texting for Literacy sessions integrated at appropriate times in learning cycle.
- Focus on experimentation sites in current implementation zones
- Train Tostan field staff, supervisors and facilitators
- Create monitoring and evaluation plan with rigorous scientific evaluation in collaboration with the Center of Evaluation for Global Action.
- Conduct informational exchanges with Tostan-trained Community Management Committees and local leadership in selected communities
- Work in partnership with Manobi and pilot communities to define services that Manobi platforms can facilitate such as:
- Market linkages for subsistence and vulnerable farmers, artisan fishermen, and small women-owned enterprises
- Local government services to improve basic service delivery
- Well-being services (birth registration, vaccinations, pre- and post-natal consultations, malaria prevention and treatment, family planning products and services)
- Research most adapted cell phone models available in Senegal for use in pilot phase; negotiate with local supplier to obtain sufficient numbers for phase 1 (minimum 6 per village)
- Launch reduced cost mobile service through partnership with mobile phone providers.
- Work with existing community entrepreneurs to sell mobile telephones and telephone credit
- Create partnerships with microfinance institutions (e.g., FDEA/Senegal) and relevant governing bodies to design and implement mobile electronic banking services in partnership with rural communities.
- Mobilize community support to shift of social norms, utilizing SMS text messages to organize community meetings, inter-village meetings, and public declarations.
- Identify and contact social and family networks in-country and abroad to inform and engage extended family members in this initiative, specifically working with Tostan France and Tostan Sweden.
- Support Tostan's financial and administrative needs for organizational growth to ensure efficient and effective scale up.
- Implement monitoring and evaluation plan.
Phase II: Model Refinement and Expansion (January 2010-December 2011)
- Finalize updated CEP package, including SMS for Literacy, based on evaluations, feedback and discussions with field staff, participants, and partners
- Launch finalized CEP in 760 new communities in seven countries:
- Launch partnerships with microfinance institutions in seven countries, inviting representatives to meet with communities during Tostan-organized meetings to promote mobile banking products.
- Support the spread of community norms shift and mobilization for the abandonment of harmful traditional practices, working in particular with women and girls to use mobile communications to help raise awareness with neighboring villages and in the African diaspora.
- Hold seminars with extended family members living in European countries in conjunction with Tostan France and Tostan Sweden.
- Test feasibility of other available information and communication technologies in local languages
Review of project progress based on benchmarks with partners in Dakar, Senegal after one year
Continuation of third year of CEP in 760 communities.
- Final phase two evaluation conducted in seven countries in conjunction with partners
- Strategic planning for scaling-up to new communities and new countries by the end of 2011.
Partnerships with mobile phone suppliers and mobile network providers in order to secure handsets, SIM cards, free short codes, etc. to be used during the module.
Partnerships that will facilitate communication with leaders in the mobile technology community in order to share experiences and best practices and stay abreast of the latest innovations
Tostan can offer a network of empowered communities ready to use mobile services that are financially viable and relevant to rural communities.
Tostan can share best practices, as well as knowledge about mobile communication trends in rural communities and potentialities of mobile applications vis-à-vis development discovered during its Jokko Initiative.