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Enabler Cards

What if we can enable people who live in hard-to-access areas to gather and send information, by giving them the information and tools to do so before violence erupts? Building on several inspirations and ideas, Enabler Cards explore that question.

Photo of Arjan Tupan
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The Enabler Cards contain information about basically everything we can think of that can help people in hard-to-access areas to get information out when violence erupts. They can contain information about where to find the Red Flag outposts, or how to contact the DIStress numbers, but also information on how to build an FM transmitter from scrap. Furthermore, they could contain information about better farming practices, other people in the area (to prevent perpetrators to exploit the ‘we’ vs ‘them’ emotions), and basically anything we can think of. They might even contain small packs containing the items needed to make a radio, or pinhole camera.

For the distribution of the Enabler Cards, existing logistic operations will be used, very much, and maybe exactly, as Cola Life does, or the use of the meaningful packaging Idea.

Languages (and learning)

The Enabler Cards will be printed in at least 2 languages of which English will be one, and a local language the second. Hopefully, people who receive and use the cards will learn a bit of English as well. Of course, they will also contain clear visual language, because it’s quite likely that in the areas we’re focusing on, written language might not be understandable for all.


The Enabler Cards are not only carriers of knowledge, but also enablers of sharing knowledge. Each card will have a easy to tear off 'blank' card, that asks the one holding it to share their knowledge (and spread it). These cards can be shared within the community, or use a system like proposed in the uPost Idea of Simone to be distributed/spread further.

A plug-in Idea

This Idea is meant to be a plug-in for other Ideas. It can be combines with several ideas that have already been posted.

Other mediums/channels

One suggestion from Lee, in the comments of his concept 'The Beacon', is to use the information on the Enabler Cards also on other channels. For example sending it out through SMS via the system as proposed in the 'The Beacon' concept.

Also, as suggested by Christophe, the information could be printed on the back of receipts, for example from airtime.


As suggested by Yachun, it's great to organise the topics on the Enabler Cards in several, colour-coded, categories. See the attached document for more information as well.

Structuring information

For the cards that call to stay connected, or call for reporting of issues, it would be good to understand the information need on the receiving end, and then make sure that the cards instruct people to send the right information. A simple example could be: "in case of emergency, text [village] [crime] [name victim] to 12345."

Some questions to explore further

- What type of information can we share on these Enabler Cards?

- How can we define areas of focus best, to understand where to get the Enabler Cards to?

- How can we get them into areas where violence has already erupted?

How does your idea gather AND verify information? How does your idea keep those who use it safe?

This idea does not directly gather and verify information. However, the aim of this Idea is to enable people to do so in the future. It's very much a preventive measure, and by providing information on how to relay information in a safe way, the Enabler Cars can also help to keep people who use them safe.

How might your idea be designed to scale and spread to help as many people as possible?

The cards should be simple, maybe the size of playing cards. They should be straight forward to produce at relatively low cost. By using existing logistics networks, costs of distribution can also be kept low.

How might your idea make use of exisiting technology? Has your idea been tried in a different or related context?

A great example of how part of the idea already is working, is ColaLife, in terms of distribution. Getting information to people in hard to access areas, is also they are already showing that it can be done. Projects like the farmers recording their knowledge with ojoVoz, are also proof that information and skills are quickly adopted.

How could you begin prototyping this idea in a simple way to begin testing and refining it? Who would use your idea and/or who is using it now? Is your idea technically easy medium or hard to implement?

What I would like to do with a prototype, is make a 'self-build' Enabler Card, with instructions on how to build a radio transmitter from scrap. I would use a distribution channel like ColaLife for spreading them. After distribution of the Enabler Cards, I would try to measure radio-wave traffic in the designated area. I'm not an expert, but it might be as easy as using a radio and scanning frequencies. If all goes well, transmitting activity would increase, which would mean that in that area, people have gained a way of communicating. In a next stage, we could follow up with tips on how to use the new transmitter to keep communities safe.

How is your idea adapted for conditions in hard-to-access areas, such as lack of internet and mobile access? Can users adopt it without much behavior change?

The idea builds on inspirations that have shown how information can spread to hard-to-access areas, but also on how inventive and creative people in these areas are. Natural curiosity, and the urgency of coming up with solutions for making daily life safer and easier, have led to inventions like the radio transmitter, or the lights that keep cattle safe without having to kill lions. I believe that this Idea builds on behavior already present, and doesn't require a behavior change, but will enable better flow of information.

Evaluation results

13 evaluations so far

1. How scalable would this idea be across regions and cultures?

Looks like it’d be easy to spread across multiple regions and cultures - 69.2%

This idea could scale but it might need further iteration to make it widely relevant - 23.1%

Seems that this idea would best be suited for a single region/population - 7.7%

2. Would a lot of resources be required to create a pilot for this idea? (think time, capacity, money, etc)

This idea looks easy to pilot with minimal resources being invested - 69.2%

Feels like this idea could take a moderate amount of resources to pilot - 23.1%

Seems like piloting this idea would take a lot of resources - 7.7%

3. How suitable is this idea for various challenges on the ground such as lack of internet or mobile access?

Yep, it feels like it could work easily beyond internet or mobile access - 92.3%

Not so sure – it looks like it would require online or mobile connectivity - 7.7%

This idea definitely seems to rely on internet or mobile access - 0%

4. Could this idea put users or others at risk?

Nope, it looks like everyone would be safe - 30.8%

There are some potential concerns, but these could be addressed with further iteration - 53.8%

I can imagine some people being put at risk with this idea - 15.4%

5. Overall, how do you feel about this concept?

This idea rocked my world - 61.5%

I liked it but preferred others - 23.1%

It didn't get me overly excited - 15.4%

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Team (6)

Annie's profile
Annie Brown

Role added on team:

"Great addition to this idea by proposing to make them more 'interactive'. Awesome."

Arjan's profile
Louise's profile
Louise Wilson

Role added on team:

"I'm absolutely energized by your encouragement! Thanks!"

Stephan's profile
Stephan Kardos

Role added on team:

"I like how Stephan's concept and this one combine very well, and am grateful for some cross-ideation already!"

Priyanka's profile
Priyanka Kodikal

Role added on team:

"Great sharing in general, and specifically some wonderful provocations for this Concept."

Yachun's profile

Attachments (1)


Enabler cards description by Yachun


Join the conversation:

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Hi Arjan,

sorry to come late in the conversation. I love the idea.

I like the idea that people could add their own information. It'd be nice to see how you could collect this local information and share it at least in a region.

To your point about language, I can also think of some people in the village (but maybe also children: see my point below) having a pack of this card and sharing them with others (a little bit like the Grameen phone village women).

As you suggested having also information about farming, I can also see an extension of it as a version for children to teach them about issues related to violence and basic practices and number to contact.

Great idea!


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