In an bid to improve the conduct of last month’s election in Sudan, citizens were offered a reliable, efficient way to communicate different practices pertaining to voting, all from their mobile devices.
The service was provided by a group of Sudanese civil society organisations – the Sudan Institute for Research and Policy (SIRP) and Asmaa Society for Development, in collaboration with other groups – which took advantage of Ushahidi’s platform, which provides an open crowdsource crisis information service, and deploys Clickatell’s text messaging gateway.
Posted live to a special web site, http://www.sudanvotemonitor.com, Clickatell-powered mobile messages appeared on a map, letting citizens and officials know of inappropriate behaviour as it happened on election day.
Politics Daily reports: "After the first day of elections, more than 100 text message reports were posted. Each reported incident is broken down into one of 12 categories, including 26 reports of voter tampering and 15 reports of disturbances, including violence."
Clickatell CEO Pieter de Villers comments: "Incorporating SMS into these important world events gives people more power, making sure that people are kept safe and rights are protected.
"During public elections, the truth sits in the hands of the people who are present and witnessing the action at the polls. Pretty much everyone carries a mobile phone, and everyone knows how to text – it makes sense to offer people a voice using mobile messaging. I commend the local Sudanese for making these communications available to the during such an important election."
In 2009, the US State Department used Clickatell’s text message gateway to offer the people of the Middle East and Africa the ability to send in text message comments live during President Obama’s historic speeches, giving people who normally don’t have a voice the ability to express their feelings.
In January 2010, Clickatell worked with Ushahidi to offer the people of Haiti and Chile the ability to text in life-saving information regarding food and water supply, rescue information following both tragic earthquakes.
"Text messaging is now a critical communication channel for people all over the world. SMS is familiar to everyone, works on every phone and is often able to get through when voice messages cannot," says De Villiers.