We are delighted to announce that we have awarded a grant of £12,000 to Cell Life towards project Lungisa. Lungisa – which means “fix it” in isiXhosa – will provide a platform to enable Cape Town citizens to send text based, audio and video reports outlining challenges in service delivery. Participants will be able to report using SMS, Twitter, MXit, email and web. Any resident of Cape Town can submit reports, though the project’s focus will be on townships and informal settlements.
The delivery of services such as water, sewage, electricity, schooling, policing and health care remains a clear priority in South Africa. Eighteen years after the first democratic elections, progress has been made in expanding access to those who lack it, but in many townships and rural areas in particular too many people continue to go without basic services or receive services of a poor quality.
Lungisa will therefore provide a much needed community monitoring mechanism. It will make it much easier for citizens to report issues to government officials and to obtain information they need about social services. Lungisa will channel reports– by making phone calls or through email, fax, or Twitter – to those government officials in different departments responsible for the issue at hand. Critically for the first phase of the project, the City of Cape Town has agreed to partner and collaborate with Lungisa, which make it easy for Lungisa to channel reports to and follow up with the City’s existing reporting and response systems.
The resulting information will map problem area “hot spots”, both geographically and in different areas of service delivery. For example, students or parents could report that teachers are not showing up to class, or patients and their families could report that hospitals are lacking essential medicines, or citizens could report if they don’t have reliable access to water or clean sanitation. Reports generated will be publicly accessible and searchable on the website and mobisite.
The person submitting the report will also be able to share their report with their friends and community through social media like FaceBook, MXit or Twitter – thereby allowing them to generate support online for any particular issue to be remedied.
Duty bearers and partner NGOs will also be able to comment on the reports generated, provide context, and updates – all in an open transparent manner and within the public domain and with a view to sharing information and, if needed, co-ordinating action.
Lungisa will also be preparing special reports containing aggregated information of the reports which have been generated on related topics. These reports will be shared with media partners, NGOs, government officials, and think tanks as part of our and their ongoing advocacy work to highlight problem areas.
Lungisa – which will be piloted in Khayelitsha, a township in Cape Town, South Africa – has also received funding from Freedom House.
Indigo’s funding of £12,000 will contribute towards technical development of the site, salary costs, SMS costs, training, awareness raising and PR.