SMS + internet + Citizens = BungeSMS
Bunge SMS in Kenya is a mobile phone-based service that combines the internet and mobile telephony with the aim of empowering every Kenyan to influence local governance in their constituencies. People can report corruption, violence and environmental degradation, influence constituency project choices and monitor development activities. This service provides Members of Parliament and other stakeholders in each of the constituencies and counties with a source of timely information on the needs and desires of voters.
Who We Are?
"Bunge" is the Kiswahili word for "parliament"
BungeSMS is the SMS service that enables citizens to easily influence the decisions made by their Members of Parliament. BungeSMS is an idea that existed before the elections held in 2007 but was actualized in April 2008 after we were involved in the development and testing of the Mobile Advocacy Toolkit alongside other organisations in Africa. Incidentally, it is on November 26th, 2008 that we conducted a BungeSMS poll on the taxation of salaries and allowances of Members of Parliament in Kenya by running advertisement on a local TV station, K24. 100% of the respondents demanded that MPs must pay taxes on their allowances. That is one of the ways in which we hope BungeSMS will empower citizens to demand accountability from their political leaders and shift the power base back to the governed. We have also received views on citizens demands for very specific development projects within constituencies.
What We Do?
A governance platform
We provide a platform to allow citizens to send a text message to their Member of Parliament with a message about their policy preferences.