mGirls TXT

mGirls TXT

Cape Town , South AfricaCape Town , South Africa
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

To reach a target audience of min 30,000 girls with health information through a TxtAlert network and mobisite that provides them with accurate and engaging health content.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

HIV/Aids, teen pregnancy, violence against girls & women are highly prevalent in South Africa (SA). Inspired by this fact and the need to provide girls with a positive platform to develop, the award winning Girls & Football SA uses sport, media and education as sources of empowerment for girls. We believe girls deserve to have access to accurate health information, which often is not the case. As sole organization to emphasize a safe, girls-only space in SA, G&FSA has gained in-depth insight into girls' health. With firsthand experience witnessing the spread of inaccurate health information detrimental to girls’ livelihood & development, G&FSA and Praekelt are developing a mhealth platform, mGirlsTXT, reaching a large demographic by delivering accurate health information through mobile.

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

Objective: Raise awareness on healthy life through health education w/ TxtAlert for girls in rural communities. Immediate Direct Target: Min. 30,000+ girls aged 10-19 averaging about 1,000 girls targeted per community. Secondary Direct Target: National/continent wide reach. Indirect: Entire township communities (100,000), schools, families, organizational/institutional, bodies, media/“social” networks Method: Provide girls in hard to reach areas w/ health information they need through use of mHealth campaign (USSD) and online portal w/ health content. The G&FSA/Praekelt educational/interactive mHealth campaign is geared towards girls 10 – 19, one of most vulnerable demographics in South Africa. Research shows these girls don’t have access to health information they need, nor do they have access to same communication channels as many youth their age do. By opting in to receive bi-weekly health facts during running of campaign, girls gain access to important health information
Impact: How does it Work

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

Network: Build network of girls that subscribe to receive bi-weekly health information for campaign duration. Target girls in sports club (tournaments) in addition to schools & clinics. Method: Through use of TxtAlert, simplified text message service used through Praekelt technology, send out free messages to said network (messages must be paid for by provider). Girls have access to information in anonymous, safe way. Online: Through mobisite, girl can sign up to browse engaging, accurate health content. Because of challenges with data/Internet connectivity, the mobisite will be light, simple, easy to understand and multiple languages Engagement: Through interactive quizzes/games, girls encouraged to participate in a health dialogue, while learning from health information providers. By increasing traction/dialogue in this space, G&FSA is able to provide the South African government, UN (in line w MDGs), brands/corporations/partners with important data on an under researched demographic. Although a growing portion of the world is using smartphones, majority of communication via mobile phones in South Africa happens with simple models. As data in South Africa is very expensive (users pay per gigabytes), we maximize cost efficient mobile phone usage to ensure more girls have access to the information they need, and that a conversation surrounding girls’ health needs takes place. For many of the female youth in South Africa, it's impossible to download data heavy content, which in turn limits their access to health information. Our initiative changes this.

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

Peers: Our partners are Praekelt, South African Women’s Football Association, Nike Foundation, Women Win, Pick n Pay. Praekelt, our mGirlsTXT implementation partner, works in partnerships w/ brands, mobile network operators, content creators, user experience specialists, digital tech to create engaging platforms & inspiring campaigns. Their multidisciplinary team across 5 int’l offices harnesses power of mobile tech to change behavior. Competitors: There are limited efforts focused on both girls’ health in South Africa and on girls’ development or access to technology. This is unfortunate, because it is beneficial to learn from competitors. As such, we look at implementation of other mobile technology projects (not necessarily related to girls’ health) to learn from their experiences.

Founding Story

The world is at a crucial turning point with increased attention paid towards the importance of the usage of mobile messaging for the spread and monitoring of health information. In June 2011, Girls & Football SA attended the GSMA mobile health conference in Cape Town. There, we learned from the most important leaders in the field of health and of mobile technology. We were inspired to start working on a mobile health messaging campaign because we all know that girls’ health education leads to healthy choice regarding child birth, sex and sexual development. If girls don’t have access to this information, we are not doing them justice and we are limiting their options for growth. Through implementation of mGirlsTXT, girls not directly participating in Girls & Football SA workshops due to limited resources, still have access to important health information. Further, we are able to create a shift in the perpetuation of violence against girls and women.
About You
Girls & Football SA
About You
First Name


Last Name


About Your Organization
Organization Name

Girls & Football SA

Organization Country

, WC, Cape Town

Country where this project is creating social impact

, WC, Cape Town

Age of Innovator


Gender of Innovator


How long has your organization been operating?

1‐5 years

Has the organization received awards or honors? Please tell us about them

Girls & Football SA has been selected as a winner in the 2012 Girl Effect Challenge. Girls & Football SA is a leader in its field through girl-centered sport programming. We are honored to have been chosen from all the amazing participants and are proud to be associated with the Girl Effect.
Girls & Football SA won “Best Documentary” at the Festival du TV et Cinema in Beirut, Lebanon, which represents the second biggest film festival in the Middle East region. It is the first time that this award has been given to a female director and a female led initiative since 1939, when the awards and film festival were founded. We are incredibly honored to have received this award.
Girls & Football SA received the “Best Research Paper” award at the Interdisciplinary Centre of Excellence for Sports Science and Development Conference. Our academic research, gathered through key informant interviews with both female and male football players highlights the importance of football as a tool for development for girls and young women.
The National Committee for International Co-Operation and Sustainable Development, together with Ashoka Changemakers and Nike, awarded Girls & Football SA the first prize in the Sport and Business Plan Challenge. Girls & Football SA is thrilled to be recognized by key players in the field of sport development.

The information you provide here will be used to fill in any parts of your profile that have been left blank, such as interests, organization information, and website. No contact information will be made public. Please uncheck here if you do not want this to happen..

How long have you been in operation?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Which of the following best describes the barrier(s) your innovation addresses? Choose up to two


Social Impact
What solution(s) does your initiative address to better the lives of girls and women by leveraging technology? (select all applicable)

Access to technology, Access to education/training, Access to health care, Policy change/advocacy.

What has been the impact of your solution to date?

G&FSA: In 2 years, reached over 2000 girls directly, worked w/ communities, teachers, leaders. Wrote comprehensive programming for girls’ dev. Won 4 awards, worked with SA’s leading retailer on first creative campaign in honor SA’s National Women’s Day, wrote for SA’s oldest feminist journal, changed the field for women’s football in SA, content creation by girls for girls, tackled discussion on corrective rape, shared our message at TedX, received letter from Mrs. Obama congratulating our work.
Praekelt Foundation builds open source, scalable mobile technologies and solutions to improve the health and wellbeing of people living in poverty. Our programs have reached over 50 million people across 15 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. We specialize in the following areas: mHealth (Prevention of Mother to Child HIV Transmission, Txt Alert, MAMA, Young Africa Live South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania), mJobs (Ummeli), mEducation (OnePlus, Motswadi), mAgriculture (Gates Foundation) and mDemocracy.

What is your projected impact over the next 1-3 years?

Girls & Football SA believes that interactive messaging through TxtAlert encourages audiences to become educated on health, their rights, in addition to providing them with a platform to develop, communicate and interact. Girls are an under resourced demographic in South Africa, and by providing them with a platform dedicated to their development, Girls & Football SA and strategic partners see potential in a positive shift in South African gender imbalance, which increasing SA’s chances of reaching the Millennium Development Goals.
As such, we envision a measurable, dynamic shift in health education in SA. Further, in working with Praekelt Foundation, we are able to continue working towards sustainable change rooted in technology.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?

- The prevalence of mobile phones able to connect to the internet within the target audience specified (hence a two pronged strategy is envisaged: mobisite and TxtAlert)
- Network failures (Internet or Mobile Network Operators) between the user and the site (unfortunately there is nothing we can do to prevent this directly, but we will ensure that our content is optimized for the network and carriers)
- Access to funds to ensure the sustainability of the project (will approach advertisers for the mobisite amongst other fund raising activities in order to reach target and goals)

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

Reaching our target and raising awareness amongst girls and women on healthy behavior.

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Task 1

Fine tuning engaging content based on current knowledge of health issues within target demographic

Task 2

Achieve our target of registering 30,000 girls onto the program, through txt alert, mobisite, promotions

Task 3

Begin to build an engaging community of girls (as measured in the way and frequency with which they interact with the platform)

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

Reaching our target audience and creating shift in girls' understanding of health

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Task 1

Achieve our target of registering 30,000 girls onto the program, through txt alert, mobisite, promotions

Task 2

Begin to build an engaging community of girls (as measured in the way and frequency with which they interact with the platform)

Task 3

Create support for community and create resources that provide information on various ways to change lack of education

Tell us about your partnerships

Praekelt Foundation: Our partnership with the Praekelt Foundation will ensure that we have the necessary support to build the back end required.
Nike Foundation: Our close work with the Girl Effect and Nike Foundatio ensures that we have a strong support network through their reach and community.
Women Win: With specific focus on girls and women's development, our partnership with WW ensures we have access to the best research for content generation.
Pick n Pay: South Africa's largest retailer has supported our National Women's Day campaign, ensuring a strong network within South Africa.

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list