You likely get email updates such as this, not only from companies like Viamo, but also from trusted news sources that come straight to your inbox or phone. More pressingly – you are getting this email –  which means you have access to the internet. But what does breaking news look like in areas where internet access is sparse, or radio and TV are a luxury?

In an increasingly digital world, traditional newsrooms are struggling to remain relevant. Yet globally 3 billion people remain disconnected from the internet, with limited ways to access news and other essential information. For Aron, a shoemaker in Tanzania, Viamo’s 3-2-1 Service is his most trusted news source. Aron lives on the shores of Lake Victoria, and radio signals don’t reach his area. With a basic mobile phone he is able to call the Service, toll-free, and hear the daily news bulletin.

 

 

In Tanzania we partner with Times FM Radio to upload content daily, providing Aron and thousands of others a tangible way to keep informed. In March when the late Tanzanian President John Magufuli passed away, our Service saw a 23% increase in calls in the days that followed. 

Earlier this year in February, Niger had its presidential elections on the horizon. In the days leading up to the elections internet access was completely shut off country-wide. This not only interfered with those who use the internet to access news, but with the journalists trying to report the news. In Niger less than 14% of the population has access to the internet. During this period, the 3-2-1 Service saw a 113% increase in calls, with 448,793 being the highest number of calls in one day, demonstrating that it is an essential, trusted source of information. A similar increase in calls to our 3-2-1 Service for news took place in Mali in the days following the coup in August of last year. We partner with Foundation Hirondelle in both Niger and Mali to get the latest news on the Service. 

 

The drastic increases in calls to our 3-2-1 Services during times of crisis shows how deeply our users rely on the Service to access important information that helps them stay informed, as well as make better decisions in order to live healthier, more productive lives. The 3-2-1 Service is available nationally, for free, in local languages, ensuring that we are reaching even the hardest to reach populations. Daily news is now available in 13 of our 18 countries that have the 3-2-1 Service, and it is one of our post popular content areas.. In most countries the news headlines also appear in our “daily digest”, a stream of content that mixes daily dynamic content with important information on health and livelihood that provides Manou and Aron, and hundreds of thousands of others a meaningful way to engage information through the mobile phones they own.

 

Interested in learning more about our 3-2-1 Service? Get in touch with us today!