Instant Networks Programme

The Vodafone Foundation Brings Mobile Technology to a Displacement Camp in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

In an emergency situation, speed of communications is critical and can the mean difference between life and death.

Andrew Dunnett, The Vodafone Foundation (from the report Mobile Technologies in Emergencies)

Phone booths are an abandoned technology in most countries, where the majority of people rely on personal, mobile phones to communicate on the go. The Vodafone Foundation is revolutionizing what phone booths can be in the wake of disaster and displacement, by offering those most affected a way to connect and keep in touch with distant family members. The Vodafone Foundation’s ‘phone booths’ prmake and receive calls and text messages, and to receive money via SMS (short message service), a welcomed resource in the face of limited economic opportunities and decreasing aid.

The Vodafone Foundation believes that mobile communication technologies can address some of the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges and improve people’s lives. This notion has driven the foundation’s investment in emergency response telecommunications since 2001. The Vodafone Foundation invests in the communities in which Vodafone—a British, multinational, telecommunications company headquartered in London—operates and is at the center of a network of Vodafone’s global and local social investment programs.

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Leveraging SMS Technology

The Red Alert Campaign

The Instant Networks Programme isn’t Vodafone’s only intervention that leverages SMS technology. Vodacom, the local brand of Vodafone in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), pledged money and launched a fundraising and awareness raising campaign on domestic and sexual violence in the DRC. The campaign reached out to employees and customers and invited them to donate money via SMS. This Red Alert Campaign raised almost $150,000, which was donated to the Panzi hospital in Bukavu in the province of South Kivu to build a facility for survivors of domestic and sexual violence to receive medical treatment. Fundraising was accompanied by a national campaign including television ads, events, demonstrations, and appearances by local government officials to raise awareness of these issues.

The Vodafone Foundation aims to be one of the first responders in a disaster, providing instant communications and fundraising support over our networks.

Andrew Dunnett, The Vodafone Foundation (from the report Mobile Technologies in Emergencies)