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Human Network International

Human Network International (HNI) is "a global development organization dedicated to bringing the benefits of technology to individuals and organizations working in the developing world. It is headquartered in Washington, DC, US, with offices in Nigeria, Madagascar, and Mozambique.

Website: http://hni.org/


HNI works "across all sectors to promote the free flow of information between vulnerable groups and the humanitarian and development professionals dedicated to helping them." As of 2015, HNI is involved in localisation of mobile phone interfaces.

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Introducing our new Executive Director: Alex Miller

Alex was a founding board member who served as HNI’s Secretary from 2007 to 2015. He has been a key architect of HNI’s vision and values, in particular, the development of HNI’s 3-2-1 Service.

Alex Miller

Alex Miller

David McAfee and Kellen Eilerts have moved to new positions with Viamo (formerly VOTO Mobile). Viamo has been and will continue to be a close strategic partner with HNI. David and Kellen were instrumental to HNI’s success and growth. HNI wishes them and Viamo all the best in their exciting new adventure, and we look forward to our continued close collaboration.

HNI’s board is committed to HNI’s mission and to exceed our partners’ expectations for impact and innovation. Under the leadership of its new President and CEO, Alex Miller, HNI will continue to provide the highest quality service to HNI’s partners.

As part of the transition in leadership, HNI will also explore new opportunities to further HNI’s mission. These include collaborations with Viamo and other organizations that share similar missions and values. The future is incredibly exciting. HNI and Viamo already communicate daily with more than 100,000 people in 26 countries. The next phase promises even greater scale and impact.

Read more about Viamo’s plan >

The post Introducing our new Executive Director: Alex Miller appeared first on Human Network International.

Madagascar Survey: 20% of adults don’t understand taxes; 36% have never paid

Survey data gathered by HNI’s Mobile to Mobile Survey call center revealed that nearly one in five Malagasy adults don’t understand what taxes are or why the government collects them. Among the most poor surveyed, more than one third did not know.

This and other findings were presented last week by Madagascar’s National Institute of Statistics (INSTAT), Tax Directorate (DGI) and the World Bank on January 26th 2017.

Madagascar Survey: Taxes

A presenter from DGI points out the high percentage of “do know now” responses among the most poor survey respondents.
Photo: HNI

The lack of knowledge about taxes and tax law is the barrier that significantly inhibits many Malagasy citizens from paying taxes — 35.9 percent of adults in Madagascar have never paid taxes.

Percentage of adults who have never paid taxes

Percentage of adults who have never paid taxes
L-R: Poorest, Poor, Average, Rich, Richest, Overall

HNI’s Mobile to Mobile Survey call center surveys 2000 households every month to support the Listening to Madagascar (L2M) initiative, part of the Bank’s Listening to Africa project.

Our call center make calls to a representative sample of thousands of household in Madagascar. One method used to realize a true representative sample involved providing some of the households with phones and solar chargers in order to charge their mobile phones.

Midi Madagascar Article

Midi Madagasikara article on the L2M statistics
27 January, 2017

HNI representatives spoke with journalists interested in the survey methodology, and other surveys and statistics that have been produced by Mobile to Mobile Survey call center for L2M.

Journalists Interview DG INSTAT

Journalists Interview Razafindrakoto Garisse, the head of DGI
Photo HNI

Muray Ramahenina, a reporter for Gazetiko, a Malagasy-language newspaper, said that it was really useful having access to the survey data in addition to statistics published by the government. “As an economic journalist,” Ramahenina said, it is the statistics on economic themes that interest me the most.”

Reporter at L2M Conference

The panel took questions from journalists, agencies, and representatives from the private sector.
Photo: HNI

Several attendees praised the DGI for its transparency in providing the survey results, and asked that more households surveys and evaluations be carried out. Razafindrakoto Garisse, the head of DGI, said that the department was interested in doing more rounds of surveys.

The interviews conducted by our Mobile to Mobile Survey call center helped the DGI realize the need for an awareness campaign. The campaign will be carried out this year to educate the population about taxes. The objective of the campaign is to promote responsible citizenship, which will increase the amount of citizens and businesses taking action and paying taxes.

Learn more about HNI Mobile to Mobile Surveys >>

Learn more about Listening to Madagascar >>

The post Madagascar Survey: 20% of adults don’t understand taxes; 36% have never paid appeared first on Human Network International.

Peace Corps Volunteers to Improve Monitoring & Evaluation with DataWinners

HNI’s Third-Year Peace Corps Volunteer, Julissa Soriano, assisted the DataWinners Client Support team in coordinating a two-day DataWinners training workshop for 15 fellow Peace Corps Volunteers in Madagascar.

The workshop covered a range of functions using HNIs mobile data collection platform, from building a simple questionnaire all the way to Advanced Questionnaires with XLSForm, which the PCVs enjoyed creating.

Volunteers left with an abundant amount of knowledge and have initiated a Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting, and Improvement (MERI) committee. The MERI Committee aims to improve and modify the way volunteers approach reporting forms and programming events not only in Madagascar but worldwide.

The workshop was held in October 2016.

The post Peace Corps Volunteers to Improve Monitoring & Evaluation with DataWinners appeared first on Human Network International.

Ghana: Crowdsourcing Citizen Feedback on Government Service Delivery

Are Ghanaians satisfied with government services? A survey conducted by our partner, VOTO Mobile, revealed some discrepancies between official government indicators and what Ghanaians say when you ask them directly.

The survey was conducted using the VOTO Mobile Interactive Voice Response (IVR) platform — the same platform that powers HNI’s 3-2-1 Service. Making All Voices Count funded the research and has published a practice paper summarizing the methodology and results:

The research set out to evaluate the IVR platform as an additional tool to supplement the “District League Table (DLT),” which evaluates local government service delivery in six different sectors: Education, Sanitation, Water, Health, Security, Governance.

VOTO concluded that the indicators used by the DLT are not necessarily good predictors of citizen satisfaction.

Happiness of respondents with the six DLT sectors

Happiness of respondents with the six DLT sectors

Ghanaians were called at random and offered the option to take the survey in Twi, English, Ewe, Hausa, Dagbani or Gonja.

In terms of overall satisfaction with the six DLT sectors, the survey revealed that Ghanaians were mostly unhappy with the services provided to them, showing particular discontent with sanitation.

VOTO demonstrated that IVR surveys can be a cost-effective addition to the data released by government agencies, and can enable decision makers to make more grounded decisions.

The research was conducted by VOTO in partnership with the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana). The DLT was developed by CDD-Ghana with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

Get the Practice Paper from Open Docs >>

Learn more about the 3‑2‑1 Service >>

The post Ghana: Crowdsourcing Citizen Feedback on Government Service Delivery appeared first on Human Network International.

Life-Saving Information: The 3-2-1 Service in Mozambique

HNI’s 3‑2‑1 Service is increasingly used to prevent the loss of life and infrastructure through the dissemination of critical interactive messages on disaster preparedness and management.

In partnership with Vodacom Mozambique, the Service was launched in Mozambique on November 7, 2016, and made available for free to more than 6 million Mozambicans with access to a mobile phone.

To engage Mozambicans in understanding disaster preparedness, HNI collaborated with Vodacom, and National Disaster Management Institute (INGC) as part of USAID’s Coastal City Adaptation Project.

The five-year project is being implemented by Chemonics, which announced the 3‑2‑1 Service launch in its Impact Stories blog:

Storm Warnings in Mozambique

Storm Warnings in Mozambique
Screen Shot: Chemonics.com

To receive a storm warning, citizens use a mobile phone (either a basic phone or a smart phone) to dial 3-2-1, toll free, at any time of day. Callers hear a message in one of three local languages — Portuguese, Changana, or Macua — that guides them to a menu of topics with weather information. Messages include information such as timing for a cyclone or storm, areas of potential flooding, and suggested ways to protect individuals and property.

Mobile for development can be an empowerment tool for vulnerable communities as long as providers choose solutions that can address the needs of those populations. The Interactive Voice Response (IVR) platform behind the 3‑2‑1 Service is developed by HNI partner VOTO Mobile.

Within 48 hours of the promotion of the service, the 3‑2‑1 Service received more than 200,000 calls. The benefits of the service allow communities with low literacy rates to gain simple access.

Through engagement with callers and statistical data retrieved from the service, hopefully the service will continue to meet more needs of the Mozambican population by transcending all sectors – preventing and reducing risks across the board.

Learn more about the 3‑2‑1 Service >>

More about the 3‑2‑1 Service in Mozambique >>

The post Life-Saving Information: The 3-2-1 Service in Mozambique appeared first on Human Network International.

Teaching “Climate‑Smart Agriculture” with Cell Phones in Tanzania

HNI is preparing to empower Tanzanian farmers with free and actionable information on “Climate‑Smart Agriculture” accessible on simple mobile phones with the 3‑2‑1 Service.

In partnership with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) HNI conducted a workshop to draft Climate‑Smart Agriculture information for the 3‑2‑1 Service with Tanzania’s Ministry of Agriculture Livestock and Fisheries, National Extension Officers and with farmers themselves. The information, in Swahili, is developed in line with national guidelines, and will be hosted by Vodacom Tanzania, HNI’s telecom partner in Tanzania.

Content Committee for Climate-Smart Agriculture

The Content Committee for Climate-Smart Agriculture in Tanzania
Photo: Hannah Metcalf (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Agriculture in Tanzania is the biggest contributor to the economy, accounting for about half of the country’s GDP and export earnings. The Agriculture sector employs 77.5 percent of the population, provides livelihood to more than 70 percent, and contributes about 95 percent of the national food requirements, according to the Ministry.

Although the agriculture sectors are key drivers of social and economic development in Tanzania an increase in temperature, declining rainfall and more frequent droughts have lead to huge reductions in agricultural production in Tanzania. This has threatened the lives and livelihoods of millions of low income families across the country.

Globally, climate change has been occurring at increasing rates over the last 30 years, having a significant impact on natural resources and agriculture. The result of climate change has meant a decline in agricultural productivity, including changes in agro-diversity. The prevalence of crop pests and diseases is also reported to have increased posing more challenges to agriculture. Studies by the Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA) indicated that some areas, that were once considered highly productive, such as the southern and northern highlands will continue to be affected by declining rainfall, frequent droughts and significant increase in spatial and temporal variability of rainfall. In the long term this will impact planning and resource allocation, and may even lead to a shift in types of agricultural products.

Tanzania Farmer

A farmer in Tanzania’s Iringa region, and a potential user of the 3-2-1 Service.
Photo: Hannah Metcalf (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The impact of climate change and variability are expected to lead to seasonal shift, shortening of seasons, pasture and water shortages and related conflicts. Climate change is also expected to increase the severity, duration and frequencies of weather related extreme events such as drought and floods, thus affecting agricultural production and threatening the lives and livelihoods of millions of poor people. Warmer temperatures, wetter climates and increased CO2 levels are also projected to favour increase in insect pests and fungi, leading to an increase in the use of pesticides and fungicides, which may negatively affect human health.

As a result of the direct impact of climate change on the agriculture sector, there is an urgent need for farmers to adapt their agricultural practices in Tanzania. It is believed that effectively reducing vulnerability of agriculture to climate change will significantly contribute to socio-economic development and ensure food security. The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries have been working hard to address the concerns surrounding Climate Change and Agriculture and this year they will publish the National Climate‑Smart Agriculture (CSA) Guidelines, which identify and respond to some of the most immediate threats posed by climate variability and climate change to the agriculture sector. The purpose of these guidelines is to accelerate uptake of CSA practices in the country to increase productivity and climate resilience in the agriculture sector, but also to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

These guidelines are essential to all stakeholders especially extension officers for informing smallholder farmers, on the best way to adapt and mitigate in building resilience for agricultural farming enterprises. However, disseminating and educating the estimated 31 million people who are actively involved in agriculture in Tanzania, is a big task and given the urgency of farmers adopting Climate‑Smart practices, there is a need to disseminate this information through more innovative and effective channels. Unsurprisingly, mobile has been identified as one of those suitable channels.

The 3‑2‑1 Service works like a search engine, but without the need of an Internet connection. At any moment, someone can use their simple mobile phones to proactively retrieve information on CSA, via Voice, SMS, USSD or Web.

“Through 3‑2‑1, we allow the farmer to be the decision maker, when it comes to Climate‑Smart Agriculture,” said Hannah Metcalfe, HNI’s Country Manager in Tanzania. “Through the use of mobile technology, our aim is to empower more farmers to adopt climate smart farming practices in order to enhance national food security for the whole of Tanzania.”

After dialing “321” farmers follow voice prompts that lead them to the information they need on how to farm more effectively in a climate change context.

When designing the messages in the workshop the content committee ensured that when adapting the content of the CSA Guidelines, each message was designed to be as easy to understand and as actionable as possible. Through the use of the 3‑2‑1 Service we are expanding the ability of the Ministry of Agriculture to provide crucial information, in particular, with farmers working in the most remote and poor areas of Tanzania.

Users of the 3‑2‑1 Service will also be able to opt in to receive call notifications from the government and key partners. In turn the Service enables the ability to monitor more closely the number of farmers who are proactively accessing information on Climate‑Smart Agriculture.

Learn more about the 3‑2‑1 Service >>

More about the 3‑2‑1 Service in Tanzania >>

The post Teaching “Climate‑Smart Agriculture” with Cell Phones in Tanzania appeared first on Human Network International.

Ending Gender-Based Violence in Madagascar:A Call to Action

To mobilize action to end violence against women and girls world-wide, HNI is participating in the ‘16 Days Against Gender-Based Violence,’ a campaign spearheaded by UN Women and Rutgers Center for Women’s Global Leadership.

16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Logos

Logos in English, French, and Malagasy from Rutgers’ 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign

This international campaign is running from the 25th of November to the 10th of December. Each day throughout the 16 days, we will highlight a key informational gender-based message from our 3‑2‑1 Service.

Here are two examples from more than 50 messages on gender available in Madagascar:

Definition of Violence

Malagasy with English Subtitles

Psychological Violence

Malagasy with English Subtitles

The 3‑2‑1 Service is a mobile phone information service provided in partnership with Airtel Madagascar. The service provides resource-poor populations with the tools to improve their decision-making skills and well-being.

Airtel has more than 3.5 million subscribers who can access the service by dialing “321” on their phone anytime and anywhere, free-of-charge. Following the voice prompts, the caller will be directed to choose among various informational messages including but not limited to health, gender, agriculture, and family planning.

HNI’s participation in the campaign supports the efforts of Madagascar’s Ministry of Population, Social Protection and the Advancement of Women in disseminating pertinent information to the Malagasy population.

The gender topic messages in Madagascar were developed in collaboration with national and international experts, including Conseil National des Femmes de Madagascar, Gender Links, GSMA Connected Women, Réseau des Observatoires de l’Egalité de Genre, Liberty 32, Search for Common Ground, Syndicat des Professionnels Diplômés en Travail Social, Women and Youth’s League for Democracy Madagascar, and Youth First Madagascar. All messages are approved by the Ministries of Justice and Youth and Sports.

Our social media during this campaign will be focused on messages largely based on identifying, preventing and seeking assistance through many forms of violence – physical, psychological, sexual and economic.

We invite you to follow the 3‑2‑1 Service throughout the campaign:

Learn more about the 3‑2‑1 Service >>

More about the 3-2-1 Service in Madagascar >>

HNI’s participation in the ’16 Days Against Gender-Based Violence’ is led by Julissa Soriano, a United States Peace Corps Volunteer in Madagascar and an alumnus of Rutgers University.

The post Ending Gender-Based Violence in Madagascar:
A Call to Action
appeared first on Human Network International.

Universal Lessons in Democracy via Cell Phones in Ghana

Politics is not a game of insults, it is about ideas. We must accommodate different opinions and not allow partisan politics to destroy families and relationships.

That could well be a commentary on the American general election this year, but it’s not. It is one of 15 new public service messages available in Ghana in six languages.

On December 7 Ghanaians will elect a President and Members of Parliament. HNI and Vodafone Ghana Foundation have launched an “elections” topic on the 3-2-1 Service in Ghana to help people — youth in particular — to nurture the country’s nascent democratic traditions.

On a continent known for fragile democracies, Ghana is a standout: an African country with freedom, and a track record for civilian rule and successful multiparty elections. It’s a short track record — since 1996 — but a track record nonetheless.

Here are three example messages that Ghanaians can access for free by dialing 321 from any type of phone with a Vodafone account:

Political Tolerance

Parties must address issues that relate to the developmental needs of the nation, and avoid personal attacks.

Language: English

Voting Process

Do not allow yourself to be used to disrupt the voting process on election day.

Language: Twi

Youth and Development

The youth must come together after the elections to hold the winning party accountable for their promises to the youth.

Language: Ewe

The messages were developed in partnership with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and Youth Empowerment Synergy (YES Ghana), involving youth contributors, the National Youth Authority (NYA), and the National Commission for Civic Education. The messages were then reviewed by the Electoral Commission of Ghana. Each message is available in English, Twi, Ewe, Ga, Hausa, and Dagbani.

More about the 3‑2‑1 Service >>

More about the 3‑2‑1 Service in Ghana >>

The post Universal Lessons in Democracy via Cell Phones in Ghana appeared first on Human Network International.

Public Service Information in Six Ugandan Languages:The Launch of #161Ug

With a free call from any kind of mobile phone, Ugandans now have access to public service information in six national languages: Ateso, English, Luganda, Lugbara, Luo and Runyakitara.

161 = 321

HNI and Airtel Uganda launched the 1-6-1 Service last month — similar to HNI’s service known elsewhere as the 3-2-1 Service.

Airtel callers dial the short code “161” and follow voice prompts for trusted information on Agriculture, Weather, and Airtel’s Mobile Money Service.

During the launch event, Airtel promoted the new service on social media with the hashtag #161Ug. The response was impressive.


As in other countries where HNI has launched the 3-2-1 Service, the technology platform in Uganda is the VOTO Mobile Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system. Unique to Uganda is the extent to which Airtel Uganda has leveraged the system to promote and educate people about mobile money services: What customers can do with mobile money, how to use it, and the costs

The Agricultural messages were developed with our partner Self Help Africa.

“This new resource delivers practical information in five Ugandan languages,” said Tony Kisadha, Uganda Director for Self Help Africa. “What better way to help Ugandan farmers than to teach them to help themselves, and in their mother tongues.”

More topics will be added in coming months, including Family Planning messages developed with PACE (PSI/Uganda).

Launch Event Photos:

Airtel Uganda 1-6-1 Service Launch Event Airtel Uganda 1-6-1 Service Launch Event Airtel Uganda 1-6-1 Service Launch Event Airtel Uganda 1-6-1 Service Launch Event Airtel Uganda 1-6-1 Service Launch Event Airtel Uganda 1-6-1 Service Launch Event Airtel Uganda 1-6-1 Service Launch Event Airtel Uganda 1-6-1 Service Launch Event Airtel Uganda 1-6-1 Service Launch Event Airtel Uganda 1-6-1 Service Launch Event Airtel Uganda 1-6-1 Service Launch Event Airtel Uganda 1-6-1 Service Launch Event Airtel Uganda 1-6-1 Service Launch Event Airtel Uganda 1-6-1 Service Launch Event


More information about the 3-2-1 Service >>

More information about the 1-6-1 Service in Uganda >>

Photos by Sumy Sadurni https://sumysadurni.com/

The post Public Service Information in Six Ugandan Languages:
The Launch of #161Ug
appeared first on Human Network International.

Listen to WASH Information from Three African Countries

For World Water Week, we have gathered a few of the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) messages available on our 3‑2‑1 Service. These messages and more life-enhancing information are made available by our telecom partners for free on any kind of mobile phone.

Listen to the messages, recorded by native speakers, and read the English subtitles.


The Service will launch in Botswana later this year on Orange Botswana, where it will be promoted as the 1‑2‑4 Service (with the short code 124 rather than 321).

The WASH messages for Botswana were developed with the Botswana Ministry of Health and Chemonics International through the USAID Southern African Regional Environmental Program (SAREP).

Importance of Handwashing

Language: Setswana. The messages will also be available in English.


In Ghana the WASH messages for were developed with Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), Grameen Foundation, GSMA, and UNICEF. Our partner in Ghana is the Vodafone Ghana Foundation, and the messages are made available for free to subscribers of Vodafone Ghana.

Why it’s Important to Wash Your Hands

Language: English. Also available in Ewe, Ga, Hausa, and Twi.

When and How to Properly Wash Your Hands

Language: English. Also available in Ewe, Ga, Hausa, and Twi.


The 3‑2‑1 Service has been available for the longest in Madagascar, and currently has nearly 20 different WASH messages, developed through partners including: Catholic Relief Services, Conservation International, Grand Challenges Canada, ICPM Madagascar, Madagascar National Parks, Missouri Botanical Garden, UNICEF, USAID, and WaterAid, with the full participation of the Madagascar Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene.

Our telecommunications partner is Airtel Madagascar, which provides the service for free to its subscribers.

Unsafe Water and Its Consequences on Health

Language: Malagasy

What to Do to Prevent and Treat Waterborne Diseases

Language: Malagasy

What to do with household water

Language: Malagasy

Featured Image: “Handwashing Day” by UNAMID Photo (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The post Listen to WASH Information from Three African Countries appeared first on Human Network International.

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