Many people in Uganda have a mobile phone or at least access to one, in 2010 there were more than 12 million mobile cellular subscriptions! WWF and Text to Change established an innovative partnership to increase public awareness and involvement in the Earth Hour campaign 2012. By using SMS we create more awareness on environmental issues like securing clean and renewable energy resources and reducing CO2 emission in Uganda.
Hundreds of millions of people, businesses and governments around the world unite each year to support the largest environmental event in history – Earth Hour.
More than 5,200 cities and towns in 135 countries worldwide switched off their lights for Earth Hour 2011 alone, sending a powerful message for action on climate change. It also ushered in a new era with members going Beyond the Hour to commit to lasting action for the planet. Without a doubt, it’s shown how great things can be achieved when people come together for a common cause. In 2011, Earth Hour saw hundreds of millions of people across 135 countries switch off for an hour.
In Uganda, the approach to the Earth Hour Campaign is slightly different. As many people in Uganda have a mobile phone or at least access to one, WWF and Text to Change, established an interesting partnership, where people in Uganda can send in a free SMS in which they commit to contribute and reduce CO2 emission. Within one week over 200 people have sent in commitments like: “in 2012 I will plant 500 trees, sensitize communities, stop throwing plastic bags around, use energy saving stoves, avoid bush burning for charcoal” and much more. This information will be used to hold people accountable and in 2012 we shall conduct field visits to check if the commitments have really been implemented.
WWF Uganda Country Office (UCO) is implementing the Energy and Climate Program to facilitate access to efficient, cost-effective and climate-friendly energy solutions to meet Uganda’s sustainable development needs now and in the future. An important part of achieving this mission is increasing public awareness and personal commitments to secure clean and renewable energy resources. The Earth Hour 2012 campaign together with Text to Change’s SMS based platform is an important vehicle to achieving its energy and climate mission in Uganda. SMS is the perfect way to communicate with the Ugandan public and let them participate in the Earth Hour campaign 2012, named “We will if you will”.
By texting WWF SOLAR to the short code people promise to replace their kerosene lamp with a Firefly solar lamp and if they send WWF STOVE, they promise to replace the old stove with a energy efficient one, that saves them 50% of your normal firewood or charcoal costs. For both products, WWF contributes 20% of the costs.
Other partners in this initiative are Barefoot Power, Ugastove, UpEnergy and Impact Carbon.
TTC has developed a well designed flexible mobile phone platform that is able to use sms, voice and data for spreading and collecting information. The TTC platform is perfectly suited for carrying out health, economic development, education, accountability and conservation programs. Because of the brilliance and the simplicity of this concept TTC implements a wide variety of programs and TTC uses this platform to support its partners worldwide.
WWF –the global conservation organization-- was founded in 1961, and has grown to become the world’s largest, experienced and independent conservation organization with about 5 million supporters and a global network active in nearly 100 countries. The organization is represented in all six continents through 5 associates and 27 national organizations and operates 24 regional program offices, which are mainly located in developing countries.