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Meena, yes! Get the local telco's involved. Sharing info among people who are participating in this whole thing doesn't need smartphones or costly back-end infrastructure. Like you suggested, use SMS as a simple broadcast system. A low-cost webserver can be set up to collect incoming messages from users - for data mining or whatever use makes sense in the local context.

Regardless of what ideas make it to the implementation stage the biggest challenge is likely making people consciously aware of what each interaction with the "program" means for everyone around them. Maybe then you'll see the behavior/cultural change everyone is ultimately after.

Totally agree Jason. But if that doesn't turn out to be enough, business owners could be incentivized by free publicity, maybe stipends from local government and at the very least, they'd get increased, more meaningful foot traffic in and around their business. Well, one would hope so anyway :)