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Make a Gift, Send a Smile...

A person makes a gift ( $ amount) to a mom-to-be in low income country who has a basic mobile phone. The gift is received an as sms. The mother uses the code ID in the sms to pay for a hospital deliver and transportation costs. Could be combined with a campaign for collecting no-longer-used Nokia phones- the gift maker receives a small amount for sending his/her old Nokia mobile.

Photo of Krassimira Iordanova
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How could this work?
1. The person who wants to make the gift logs on, enters the amount (i.e. $40) chooses a phone number of an expecting mom from a dropdown list, hits Send.
2. An expecting mom receives an sms and with a click of a button she listens to it in her own language (the local language can be derived from the country code number). She knows the amount of the money she has received. A follow up sms tells her in which hospital she could go.
3. There is an unique gift ID in the sms.
4. The expecting mom delivers in a hospital.
5. The hospital receives the payment using the gift ID.
6. The gift-maker receives an automatic “Thank You” sms once the payment has been used.

- Webpage could be set up to allow sending of such gifts (similar to and The webpage should support a list of mobile phone numbers that are up-to-date of expecting moms or families of expecting mothers in low-income countries- see the visual. The webpage could be something like- powered by Nokia.
- Network of hospitals that accept such payments.
- Volunteers, internet kiosk workers that know about the program and explain the mothers the purpose of the sms. They could also inform the moms at which hospital she could deliver.

Creating a mom-to-mom community. (This concept is inspired by Nivedita and Vincent, who posted inspirations related to sharing experiences).
Ensuring that the gift could be used only for a hospital delivery. Often expecting moms in rural areas don#t have much of a say in the family.
How to keep a database with current numbers of families expecting children?
People might feel uneasy about sending money to a number that they don’t know.

An inspiration I came accross that uses a similar application to what I'm suggesting- "Swedish postal service looks to SMS instead of stamps":

What is the minimum level of mobile technology needed for this concept?

Mobile phones that receive sms.

How could this work in a low-literacy context?

Visual that makes the sms look different then an usual sms; sms that could be played as a recording (to solve the literacy problem)

Which partners could help realise and deliver this solution?

  • Oxfam
  • Nokia
  • Mobile operators

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Félix Beaulieu

Hey Krassimira, I though your idea was great and it gave me a foundation to push the concept one step further. I tried to address the disadvantages you mentioned regarding a database to keep updated and the cold experience of giving money to a “phone number”. I came up with this different approach:

What you think? Thanks! ☺