Swedish Program for ICT in Developing Regions
With funding from The Swedish Program for ICT in Developing Regions (Spider), the InSTEDD iLab Southeast Asia introduced and extended Verboice, an open-source tool which specializes in using interactive voice response (IVR) to support health, safety and sustainable development work in Cambodia.
Case studies highlighting innovative solutions implemented using Verboice: download here!
Verboice is a free and open-source platform that enables non-programmers to design and run a variety of interactive and automated voice-based applications (hotlines, alerts, reminders, quizzes, surveys, …). Everything is done through a drag and drop interface which lets users combine Verboice’s several features into a multitude of different applications.
Interactive Voice Response Systems and the Future of Cambodia
Voice is the most universal and inclusive means of communication, and it’s an ideal way to expand the reach and impact of health and humanitarian technologies. In September 2012, with funding from Spider (The Swedish Program for ICT in Developing Regions), the InSTEDD iLab Southeast Asia introduced and extended Verboice, an open-source tool which specializes in using interactive voice response (IVR) to support health, safety and sustainable development work. Verboice projects can start small and scale up, making it possible to improve lives even in communities previously closed off by literacy and technological barriers. Below are a few of the projects to come out of this grant.
Using InSTEDD’s Verboice platform, MSIC designed a semi-automated mobile phone-based intervention. This intervention relied on an pre-recorded voice message, which was sent out to MSIC’s patients every two weeks over the course of the four months following their abortion. The pre-recorded message reminded patients that family planning methods are effective means to prevent unplanned pregnancies and provided them with the possibility to request a call back from a MSIC counselor. Less intrusive than direct contact from counselors, this approach gave patients the flexibility to seek support if and as desired while making it easier for MSIC to rationalize its counselors’ time.
A toll-free hotline for workers to access information about the labor law and personal health as well as rate the performance of their factories.
BFC turned to the Verboice software to design an automated hotline that workers can dial into at any time. Besides offering information about the labor law and personal health on a 24/7 basis, the Verboice-powered hotline offers the benefit of simultaneous calling, permitting hundreds of workers to call at the same time without the need for additional staff input.
An interactive hotline complementing and amplifying the Loy9 program by providing the audience with an additional medium to engage with the program’s content.
Loy9 has been hugely successful with young Cambodians with 2 million people tuning in to the weekly TV drama and over 100,000 tuning in to the weekly radio phone-in program. To build on this success, BBC Media Action wanted to investigate whether they could ad a mobile platform to the program. Because of the lack of compatibility of Khmer fonts with many inexpensive phones, BBC Media Action favoured a voice-based application over the use of SMS.
Verboice, a software developed by InSTEDD, proved to be the perfect tool, enabling PIN to design and send out prerecorded voice messages to its target group according to a pre-defined schedule. PIN used the software to send out 7 different messages to new parents, providing them with advice on how to care for their child during its first month of life as well as reminding them to seek care from a health center if experiencing any complications. As a pilot, the service was offered to patients from 11 health centres and one hospital in Kampong Chhnang province. Registration to the service was conducted by the midwives directly at the health facilities.
An automated hotline providing info on road safety risk factors and encouraged best practices.
Funding for road safety education is very limited in Cambodia. Given the restricted financial context, CRY wanted to explore the possibility of using ICTs as a cost effective alternative to heavily staffed information campaigns. With mobile-phone coverage rapidly expanding in Cambodia, including in rural areas, mobile technology presented particular advantages. Due to illiteracy, low education levels and the fact that the Khmer font is not available on many inexpensive phones, however, that standard SMS-based approaches were not especially adapted.
An automated hotline providing anonymous access to information on family planning, sexual and reproductive health. In order to scale up its counseling service, RHAC used InSTEDD’s Verboice tool to launch an automated hotline as a complement to its existing counselor-lines. The Verboice hotline can be accessed 24/7 and can cater for countless numbers of simultaneous calls. As it relies on pre-recorded messages and on a user-driven call flow, the Verboice-hotline is virtually self sustaining, making it a low-cost option for scale up. The Verboice-powered hotline also offers complete anonymity to the callers, a valuable feature for those who may not have felt comfortable exposing their concerns and questions to live counselors.
An innovative intervention providing families with support for the first 4 weeks of their child’s life.
Verboice, a software developed by InSTEDD, proved to be the perfect tool, enabling PIN to design and send out prerecordedvoice messages to its target group according to a pre-defined schedule. PIN used the software to send out 7 different messages to new parents, providing them with advice on how to care for their child during its first month of life as well as reminding them to seek care from a health center if experiencing any complications.
As a pilot, the service was offered to patients from 11 health centres and one hospital in Kampong Chhnang province. Registration to the service was conducted by the midwives directly at the health facilities.
A health reminder system based on regular and targeted voice messaging
As an alternative to SMS, MoPoTsyo turned to InSTEDD’s Verboice, a tool enabling it to record and send automated voice messages to patients. Because patients are contacted over the voice function of their phone, levels of technical or reading literacy were no longer an issue. The possibility to organize patients into subgroups based on their conditions was an additional benefit to MoPoTsyo who was able to target messages to specific patient subgroups. Likewise, the possibility to send out messages in advance using the scheduling option was welcomed by MoPoTsyo as it enabled the team to record and send several days’ worth of messages at once, thus saving valuable staff time.