MobiSAM aims to get residents and municipality in touch
MobiSAM Version point 2: Bringing Makana Municipality at the touch of your fingertips
In 2011, an E-governance project named MobiSAM (Mobile Social Accountability Monitoring) began as an idea between friends discussing their water problems at the height of Grahamstown’s water outages.
The idea was simple. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a more effective way in which Makana could update its citizens on scheduled and unscheduled outages and wouldn’t it be even greater if there was a way residents could effectively report problems directly to Makana?
Taking cues from these initial discussions among concerned and connected citizens, MobiSAM was officially formed in 2011 as a way of improving Makana Municipality’s communication and responsiveness around Grahamstown’s water services through the use of mobile phones.
The application aimed to provide an avenue to report water related problems directly to the municipality for users registered with the application in addition to receiving updates directly from the Municipality. The MobiSAM application also included a mobile polling application that allowed individuals to voice their opinion, rank their most pressing needs as well as the quality of current service delivery in their neighbourhood.
Between 2011 and 2014, MobiSAM managed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Makana, register a number of users as well collate the intelligence gathered from residents by way of mobile polls.
However, due to the high turnover in the leadership of Makana Municipality, MobiSAM decided to pause its operations in order to re-strategize and think of a better approach to strengthening communication between local government and citizens.
We are happy to report that MobiSAM is back, with a new approach to capacity building in the municipality. “We realised that our initial approach was quite adversarial, and didn’t gain much traction from within the municipality” Prof Thinyane, project manager stated during a strategic planning session between members of the MobiSAM version 2.0 team.
“MobiSAM version 2.0 is different – instead of hoping that pressure from us citizens will compel the municipality to provide better services, our new approach aims to strengthen the communication strategies of the municipality internally first, and then externally with the residents. It is much more holistic this way, as the approach identifies and builds on the current situation within the municipality”.
Taking this approach has been very beneficial and currently MobiSAM is gearing up to resume operations as of September 2016.
Once live and running MobiSAM will allow registered users to:
- Report service delivery problems using any type of mobile phone;
- Receive important service delivery information/notices or responses to reported cases directly from the municipality;
- Collate and visualise reported problems so that all registered users can monitor reported cases;
- Inform the municipality about your service delivery needs to assist with local government planning.
Before the new MobiSAM application launches in September this year, we need your help in contributing and expressing your views and sharing information with MobiSAM.
Thank you for your support and through active citizenry and a collaborative approach we believe we can work toward making Makana a great place to live.
From the MobiSAM team
Published in the Grocotts Newspaper, 24 June 2016