[Guest post by Alene Dube, Communications officer for NANGO.]
The National Association of NGOs in Zimbabwe (NANGO) has launched a social service delivery campaign in Harare for residents to speak on problems they are facing in their neighborhood. The campaign is under the banner ‘sei sei Harare?‘ gives residents an opportunity to be monitors and reporters of the problems in their neighborhood.
Running from the 14th of October to 25 November 2011, Harare residents send three free SMS once a week on social service delivery problems in their neighborhood to the number 0774437777. They will be reporting on issues such as water shortages, power cuts, sewer bursts and uncollected garbage on weekly bases. The information is being mapped on the website www.pupurafakazazim.com, showing number of reports per neighborhood. Residents also state their street name and neighborhood so that reports produced area specific and it can be identified which areas were affected during a particular period.
This campaign, first of its kind in Zimbabwe is modeled around the Ushahidi concept that emanated from Kenya and has taken the world by storm. The platform promotes citizen participation on issues that affect them on daily basis. The purpose of the campaign is to collect residents concerns and facilitate dialogue and engagement between residents and social service providers in Harare.
Although social service delivery is a national concern, this campaign is a pilot campaign targeting in Harare.
Data gathered will be processed into reports produced and used during engagement dialogue meetings with targeted social service delivery providers.
Social service delivery is a national problem in Zimbabwe. Water shortages, burst sewers, uncollected garbage, potholes, dysfunctional traffic lights and power cuts are some of the daily challenges faced by Zimbabweans This problem worsened during the dollarization period where resident’s bills were converted into foreign currency without a clear formula. Ever since then, many Zimbabweans have failed to settle their bills as the ratio between their income and their expenditures was unreasonable. Many felt they were cheated hence stopped paying for social service delivery leading to clashes with social service providers. There have been marches and demonstrations by various residents associations but with little impact.
Engagement with social service providers has not been very fruitful yet this is a critical area as it addresses the social well being of Zimbabweans. In a bid to find a solution to these challenges, NANGO came up with this project which offers residents a platform to speak on problems they face in their neighborhood. Through the use of non violent strategies of engagement, residents will engage and dialogue with the concerned social service providers to find solutions to problems they are facing.
Anele Herbet Dube is a young and creative communications and media expert who has great interest and understanding of ICTs and Social Media as powerful communication and information sharing tools. He has been in the civil society fraternity for more than two years, rising through various ranks at NANGO from being a regional communications officer to Assistant regional coordinator before being the Communications Officer at a national level. He holds a Bsc. Honors Degree in Journalism and Media Studies from the National University of Science and Technology (NUST), Zimbabwe. Currently he is studying a Diploma in Social Media Marketing with the Alison Institute.