Fasten your seatbelts! Vodafone Live makes MAMA user numbers skyrocket

There is excitement in the Praekelt Foundation MAMA South Africa camp.  They are watching MAMA’s user numbers climb.  They’ve used up all their fingers and are still counting.  Growth, it seems, is relentless.  Just over a month ago MAMA content was released on Vodafone Live! and already 175,983 additional mothers are actively accessing MAMA information via this platform.  At this rate, combined with steady user growth on Vodafone Live!, MAMA has now reached 200,000 users on 9 October -  sharing relevant maternal and child-health information that can improve wellbeing for South African mothers and their families.  So please join us in welcoming MAMA SA’s 200,000th user!

MAMA – the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action -  launched in the US in 2010 with the aim to use mobile technology to support new moms and pregnant women in three implementation countries: Bangladesh, South Africa and India.  These countries were chosen as implementation sites for MAMA, for good and bad reasons:  “Good” stems from the fact that in these countries, mobile penetration is at record highs and are still growing  - making mobile technologies the opportune way in which to reach moms with life-saving information. The “bad” refers to unacceptable high rates of maternal and child mortality and the challenge of meeting MDGs 4 and 5 seems to be slipping out of reach …

MAMA South Africa officially launched in the lead-up to Mother’s Day, in May 2013.  MAMA uses mobile to inform and empower mothers to adopt healthy behaviours and encourages them to access maternal and child health services and information.   This includes advice, resources and information that encourages early antenatal care, assists mothers in understanding how to prevent HIV transmission to their babies, and promotes exclusive breastfeeding for all mothers.  MAMA leverages a variety of platforms and channels, because the point is not to give moms something new, but to reach them where they are, right now.

Channels and methods that have not have been harnessed globally such as a mobi site and an interactive quiz system, have proved immensely popular in the local context.  Of course, Praekelt Foundation is no stranger to using mobile to power community change in ways that can be scaled up.  In fact, high user numbers for any Foundation project are a must-have.  Even so, the Foundation’s Marcha Bekker says that the speed of growth on MAMA has exceeded the team’s expectations, particularly the users coming from the Vodafone Live! platform.  Says Marcha: “We are extremely excited about our strong partnership with Vodacom and that they have seen the value of MAMA content and are now offering this content to their Vodafone Live! users - free of charge.  The levels of engagement and repeat-visitors we see, are testimony to the fact that their customers find the MAMA content useful and helpful”

Maya Makanjee, the Chief Officer of Corporate Affairs at Vodacom says, “Vodacom is encouraged by the phenomenal increase in MAMA users on the Vodafone Live! platform.  This confirms our belief that a mobile phone can be used very successfully in the delivery of critical maternal health information, helping reduce maternal and child mortality incidents.

With its unique, multi-channel approach and focus on local issues like HIV during pregnancy, South African mothers are seeing the value of signing up to MAMA.   South Africa’s expectant and new moms can currently benefit from MAMA in one of four ways: mobi content via Vodafone Live! ( free for Vodacom users; for non-Vodacom users; an SMS reminder service to gain tailored info aimed at each mom’s pregnancy (*120*2112*1#); or the USSD quiz service  (*120*2112#).  Coming soon will be  MAMA on Mxit, which will bring the MAMA content to moms on the MXit platform.

Sounds good?  But what do users think of MAMA?  Here’s what an avid MAMA user says, “This MAMA is giving us information about a nutritious diet such as which vegetables or fruit to take during our pregnancy time … my advice is to follow MAMA!”


Original source Praekelt Foundation: