Resources you will need

If you're looking to use mobiles in your advocacy and activism work you will need to assess what resources your organisation has available.

For more information on how to budget for a mobile phone advocacy project see our section on Budgetting for mobile advocacy.

  • If you planning to work in remote locations without or limited infrastructure you should consider how you are going to manage your power supplies - see information below on this.
  • Even organisations with very limited resources are able to use mobile phones at low cost through simple use of SMS and voice. For example by sending an advocacy message – popularising information about a law or information about a meeting – which can then be spread again by recipients forwarding the messages to multiple friends and family members and individuals who support your cause. For no cost an organisation can set up a system of missed calls to use as free signals amongst staff. For example you can arrange that when someone makes a missed call at a certain time or makes a call a certain number of times this serves as a signal to attend a meeting.
  • More complicated uses of mobile phones – such as setting up a system for sending and receiving 'bulk' SMS messages may require an investment in hardware such as a computer, cables and specialised equipment such as GSM modems as well as needing a consistent electricity supply if your service is going to be available all the time. These systems will also require ongoing technical support – so before investing in this equipment you should ensure that your organisation has these resources available.
  • If you are considering using a commercial online system for sending SMS messages you should bear in mind that you will need a credit card to sign up for it.
  • If you are thinking about using a mobile phone camera for capturing images for use on your organisation's website or reports or for reporting purposes this will require investment in a reasonable quality phone camera.
  • Many 'clones' of high end phones are now available – these are cheap copies of phones that may look very similar to top brands. This is a very fast developing market so it is hard to get proper reviews or specifications of those phones. Be warned that these clones may not deliver the functionality you are expecting.
  • If you want to use your mobile phone as a means of accessing the internet on the move you will need to check whether the GPRS mobile data service you need to do this is available in your area. The same applies to users with WIFI (wireless communication) enabled, they both need WIFI services freely available.

Power supplies

If you planning to work in remote locations without or limited infrastructure you should consider how you are going to manage your power supplies.

Solar chargers can be a great way of ensuring that you have continuous power available.

Before you invest in a charger there are some questions worth asking;

  • Can the charger store power so that I can charge my phone/mp3 player later?
  • What is the charge time to usage ratio for a mobile phone?
  • Can i also use AC or car adaptor with the charger?
  • Is there a realistic limit to how many charges the device can handle in its lifetime? This is especially important if you are planning to supplement your income by offering a phone charging facility.

Some solar chargers which have been recommended;