Mobile Tech Brings Hope to Children in Zimbabwe

    by Tina Rolfe
    August 19, 2011

    In Zimbabwe, it’s common for people to receive information over their mobile phones rather than using email or the Internet. That’s why Kubatana, a non-profit that aims to improve the accessibility of human rights and civic information in Zimbabwe, teamed up with Freedom Fone to broaden access to information about Operation of Hope.


    Freedom Fone provides a voice database with which users can access news and public-interest information via land, mobile or internet phones.


    In August, Operation of Hope arrived in Harare, Zimbabwe. Operation of Hope is an American volunteer surgical team that travels to developing countries each year to perform cleft-lip and cleft-palate surgeries as well as other types of facial reconstructive surgery for children in need.

    But because many of the people who might benefit from Operation of Hope don’t have access to a computer or the Internet, we needed to figure our how to to alert Zimbabweans about the group’s mission.

    Sending Out Bulk Messages

    Kubatana sent out a bulk text message to its network of members. The text message publicized a bank of telephone numbers that people could phone into for all the details relating to the surgery screening day in July. In addition, a series of classified advertisements were placed in all of Zimbabwe’s national newspapers.


    Freedom Fone ran the deployment for information on Operation of Hope in July. Our telephone lines went live July 4, offering basic audio information on surgeries scheduled for August.

    After just two days following the deployment, Freedom Fone received 91 calls! Approximately 30 of these were connected for the duration of the audio content.

    Hopefully, our technological assistance in broadening access to information about these free surgeries will bring a smile to some children who possibly wouldn’t have known about this life-changing opportunity.

    Image courtesy of Operation of Hope.

    Tagged: children freedom fone ivr kubatana mobile phones operation of hope zimbabwe

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