How a simple text message makes life easier for students in Zambia

Imagine having to travel to university for over an hour. If you have to travel to get to an inspiring lecture, it is all worth it. But what if you just have to go to get your marks, or worse, what if the lecture is cancelled last minute? This is an annoying situation, occurring quite often at Mukuba University in Zambia. Mukuba University, founded in 1974, offers degrees in both mathematics and science to around 1200 students.

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How mobile phones aren’t only distracting in universities
TTC, together with Mukuba University, used a tool to solve this problem: SMS. In December 2012 the project started and around 1000 students of Mukuba University received messages to announce changes in lesson plans, to send students their grades and to provide updates on upcoming events. It is estimated that around 24.000 messages will be send, based on targeting 1000 students twice a month for a period of 12 months. The goal of the program is to strengthen educational management and administration.

In the future the system is supposed to start working with two way messaging. Students then will be able to type in a key word (their personal student identification number for instance) and can then receive their results without having to travel to university at all.

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Connect4Change is a consortium of Dutch development organisations (IICDAkvoCordaidEdukans,ICCO) and specialized ICT organisations (TTC) that made this project happen. The mission of Connect4Change is to strengthen people and civil society organisations in the sustainable use of and lobby for ICT to achieve their development goals, in particular in economic development, health and education as these are the key sectors in the sustainable reduction of poverty. TTC is the preferred partner in this consortium to implement the mobile telephony components of the ICT projects.

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