John Ngugi's New Entry

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Nairobi, Kenya
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$1,000 - $10,000
Scaling strategies launched within the past 6 months:
Lobbying, Policy Change
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Fighting drug abuse through the use of short Message (SMS) service on mobile.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if everyone in the globe received information on their mobile phones on periodic basis concerning the effects of drugs abuse and where to go for help?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The Drug Abuse Awareness Through SMS project aims to make the drug abuse a personal issue, a family subject and a social issue by delivering factual information to mobile users. The recipients get a choice to go into drug abuse with knowledge of full side effect impact or choose to stay out for the very reason. The recipients who are already into drug of abuse addiction get to know where to go for help. The sms builds a database of issues.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

A mobile phone SMS service designed that deliver factual information to individuals subscribed to it. This triggers drug abuse discussion at social gatherings such as family, institutions of higher learning, corporate gatherings. It reaches the masses with the messages of drug abuse prevention by majoring on the negative sides of drugs of abuse and it increases uptake of treatment and rehab services. This will boost economic productivity and sustainability across all sectors.


Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

The idea was piloted for three months with a database of over 350 mobile recipients. The impact was that among the recipients were individuals working with the youth. They would share the messages with the youth groups who would then give feedback to the recipient and that way, the youth continued with their knowledge and choice making based on facts. Another recipient was a teacher in a primary school. Every time the message was delivered, he would read out the message to the class and the youngsters always looked forward for the information and had the chance to ask questions to their teacher. That way, the war on drug abuse became a frequent issue. We also had individuals referring their family members for assistance on receiving the sms

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

We reached out to over 350 recipients during pilot in three months. Through the recipients, we were indirectly able to reach out to more than five three hundred more people. Some of the recipients were Probation officers who come into contact with drug affected individuals and families; based on feedback received, some shared the smses with the clients some who were university students. The vision is to make the service available to each and every mobile user. This way, factual and researched information can then be available to individuals who can then make informed choices. The impact of this would be to save significant amount of financial resources committed to drug abuse treatment, awareness and save the society from the social ills associated with drug abuse.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

The scale up strategies include getting people, agencies that would believe in the idea and partner. Specifically, scale up is aimed at using the local social groups such as community youth groups, institutions of learning, and social interest groups who would assist in the enrollment of the recipients. Another strategies is to bring on board the corporate, government agencies and other organizations who spend significant amount resources treat and rehabilitate those affected by drug abuse. Aim will be to bring them on board and enable them sponsor the idea as social responsibility.
Funding: How is your project financially supported?: 
individual donations or gifts - 5%
foundation or NGO grants - 5%
corporate contributions - 50%
earned income (product or services sales, licensing, franchising, consulting, financing, etc.) - 35%
other - 5%

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

After the initial take off, the idea should self sustain significantly through companies or organizations that would like to invest in it as a social corporate responsibility project. The other strategy is through offering consultancies. The idea will generate a lot of tangible data through responses. This data can be analyzed and can be shared at a cost, raising sustainable revenue for its sustainability.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

We have many initiatives around the problem of drug abuse. The internet has lots of information about drug abuse. However, there is no authentic research to show to what the information available reaches the most needy. What we do know is that significantly few people are able to mine the relevant information from internet. In Kenya, National Council Against Drug Abuse (NACADA) have a call service, only accessed by those mostly affected. The SMS becomes better than these because it delivers information to the individuals, is easily understood and is affordable.

Founding Story

The idea came about as result of listening to the many stories of the people that we handle within probation department. One day as i talked to a young person I told him that there is opportunity in coming up with innovations around issues such as drug abuse and technology. At that time, it occurred to me; we need a service that provides information to all, but that would trigger a multiple effect. With mobile telephone becoming widely embraced, I realized that it was possible to come up with a mobile phone based solution. The aim was to reach both the individuals and the social set ups that the individuals are in- mostly the families for we realized drug abuse discussion at family table occurred mostly when one of them is directly affected


I am the vision carrier. On board are; Dr Gakunju- Lead Consultant at NACADA; Executive Officer at MASAA, Patrick Okwara- Administrator at MASAA, Steve Wakhu- Senior Probation Officer, Government of Kenya, Joy Naitore-Senior Probation Officer, Government of Kenya, Morris Gatheru a Computer technician. Totohealth Ltd has been a partner through the sponsorship of the pilot phase that took place between October to December 2015.
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