Skip to main content

Digital technology is changing how NGOs and non-profit organizations interact with program participants, paving the way for greater accountability. By leveraging simple, non-internet mobile phone technology, NGOs can reach a wider audience, breaking barriers of digital literacy and geographic access.

One main advantage of Viamo’s solutions is our use of voice technology which allows for a more inclusive communication approach compared to traditional SMS methods or digital platforms that require internet access or new tech.

In this article, we will explore the benefits and impacts of low-tech digital solutions for enhancing social accountability and transparency within NGOs.

Why accountability and transparency are the backbone of NGOs

Accountability and transparency are key principles for NGOs to maintain public trust and donor confidence. When organizations are transparent and engage with stakeholders, it shows their commitment to responsible and ethical operations.

For the nonprofit sector, accountability means being responsible for actions and decisions, and being accountable to their stakeholders, including the communities they work with, donors, government agencies and the general public.

By being open and transparent about their finances and work, NGOs can show donors and the public how their funds are being used and the impact of their programs.

While many organizations have stringent financial transparency policies in place, very little transparency is given to the actual work conducted.

Digital tools can be a great way to boost the credibility of an NGO’s work. With digital solutions, NGOs can share the impact of their work in more quantifiable ways, giving donors and stakeholders the information they need to trust the organization’s impact.

Low-tech digital solutions and their advantages

When it comes to reaching communities in remote areas that may have limited access to communication technology, low-tech digital solutions can play a crucial role for NGOs.

These low-tech digital technology solutions are great for reaching target communities. They can address limited data access and digital skills without needing smartphones or internet connectivity. Plus, they can reach people at scale, making it possible to engage with a large number of people across vast geographical areas.

Whether a mother in rural Zambia needs information on breastfeeding, or a young woman in Kampala needs sexual reproductive health information, NGOs can greatly improve access to services and provide lifesaving information to people who may otherwise be cut off from vital resources. These tools have the potential to bridge the gap between remote communities and the information and support they need to thrive.

Voice technology and its benefits

Voice technology, known as IVR, is a game-changer for nonprofit organizations looking to improve their outreach and impact. By using simple mobile phones, voice technology allows NGOs to reach a broader audience than SMS, making it an ideal solution for populations with limited access to smartphones or the internet. This means that even individuals with low digital literacy can easily engage with the organization’s programs and services.

One of the key benefits of voice technology for nonprofits is its ability to enhance communication with program participants. Whether it is tracking engagement or behavior change, through interactive voice prompts, NGOs can provide information, collect feedback, and even conduct surveys. All while ensuring that everyone can participate regardless of their digital skills.

Another advantage of voice technology is its capacity to streamline reach and impact. By reaching more people through voice-based communication, nonprofits can expand their reach and maximize their impact on the communities they serve.

Voice technology offers nonprofit organizations a cost-effective, efficient, and accessible tool to enhance their communication, reach, and impact, while also strengthening their relationships with program participants and donors.

In 2018, Opportunity International partnered with Viamo on a strategic initiative to enhance customer savings balances and engagement across Ghana.

The campaign effectively engaged around 37,000 customers through personalized voice messages over a period of six months. Customers who took part in at least six out of ten weekly calls saw their mobile savings balances almost double, reaching an average of $13 USD compared to $7 USD for those who only participated in two or fewer calls. This shows that using mobile engagement can help people change their financial habits and save more money.

Comparison of voice with SMS-based solutions

Voice and SMS both have their own set of features and functionalities that make them suitable for different purposes.

Voice allows for a more interactive and engaging user experience as it enables users to navigate through a menu of options using their keypad, listen to pre-recorded voice messages and even respond using voice commands. On the other hand, SMS-based solutions offer a simpler, text-based communication method, allowing for quick and easy dissemination of information to a large number of people.

In terms of reaching and engaging with target audiences, voice has the advantage of being accessible to those with limited digital literacy as it does not require reading or writing. SMS does not allow for the depth of engagement that IVR does.

Cost-wise, SMS-based solutions are generally more affordable than IVR, as sending text messages tends to be cheaper than voice calls. However, IVR can reach a wider audience, making it more cost-effective in terms of reaching a larger number of people.

Ultimately, the choice between IVR and SMS-based solutions depends on the specific needs and target audience of the NGO. While IVR may be more inclusive and engaging for some populations, SMS could be more cost-effective and suitable for others.

Benefits of IVR over SMS

When it comes to reaching and engaging with people in remote and low-literacy populations, Viamo’s digital solutions are a game-changer for NGOs. Our use of Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology sets us apart from other platforms by offering a way to reach a far wider audience than traditional SMS methods. IVR breaks down the barrier of digital literacy, making it accessible to a larger number of people who may not be comfortable or familiar with texting. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of IVR over SMS and how it can revolutionize the way NGOs connect with the communities they serve.

  1. Reaching out to marginalized communities through IVRWhen it comes to reaching out to marginalized communities, accessibility and inclusivity are key. At Viamo, we understand the importance of ensuring that all people have equal access to information and resources, regardless of their background or level of digital literacy. That’s where our IVR (Interactive Voice Response) technology comes in.Using IVR, we are able to connect with far more people than traditional SMS methods, making it easier to reach underserved populations. By utilizing simple mobile phones, we can engage with communities that may not have access to smartphones or the internet. This means that we can provide essential information and resources to those who need it most.The benefits of using IVR to connect with marginalized communities are vast. Not only does it increase engagement and participation, but it also improves access to important resources and information. By using voice-based technology, we can break down barriers to communication and ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to access the support and services they need.At Viamo, we are committed to creating communication solutions that are inclusive and accessible to all, and we believe that IVR is a powerful tool for reaching and empowering marginalized communities.
  2. Collecting feedback and opinions from beneficiaries via IVRSetting up IVR to collect feedback from project beneficiaries is a simple and effective process. With Viamo’s IVR system, you can gather valuable opinions and feedback from beneficiaries in just a few easy steps.First, we recommend utilizing short, easy-to-understand questions and prompts for the IVR system. This ensures that beneficiaries can quickly and easily provide their feedback, making the process more efficient and inclusive for all.Additionally, our IVR system allows beneficiaries to provide feedback anonymously, ensuring that they feel comfortable expressing their opinions without fear of reprisal. We also support the use of local languages, so beneficiaries can provide feedback in their native tongue if necessary. This ensures that their voices are heard and understood without any language barriers.With Viamo’s IVR system, you can reach a larger audience and gather invaluable feedback from beneficiaries in a way that is inclusive, simple, and effective. Utilizing IVR for feedback collection not only breaks through digital literacy barriers but also ensures that all voices are heard, making it a powerful tool for NGOs and organizations dedicated to making a positive impact.
  3. Conducting surveys and assessments using IVR
    IVR technology is a great way to conduct surveys and assessments for gathering data from participants, especially in areas with limited digital literacy. Using IVR technology for surveys and assessments is a powerful way to reach a large number of people and gather valuable data, even in areas with limited digital literacy