UNICEF launches a toll-free SMS number - 4400 - for the young people of Nepal
Kathmandu, 27 April 2010 – UNICEF Nepal today launched a toll-free number - 4400 - for young Nepalis to join an electronic debate. The 4400 number, launched with a tagline “SMS garaun sitaima,” (SMS for free), is a toll-free mobile text message service that allows users to send messages direct to the UNICEF’s website in Nepal at www.unicef.org/nepal.
“This is a unique initiative whereby the young people of Nepal can text for free their opinions directly to the World Wide Web.” said UNICEF Nepal Representative Gillian Mellsop. “We realise that so many young people wish to voice their opinions - and this modern facility will reach out to them all across the country initiating debate through a combination of mobile technology, the web and national radio networks.
The ‘4400’ number is being launched in partnership with the popular radio show ‘Saathi Sanga Manka Kura’ (SSMK), the youth oriented radio programming run by Equal Access Nepal. Every week, SSMK will initiate a topic of debate on air and invite opinions. Listeners can then text in their views and comments on the given topic by sending an SMS, free of cost, direct to the "Voices of Youth" section of the UNICEF Nepal website. Even those who may have missed the radio show will be able to access the updated discussion topic of the week by typing “VOYQ” on their mobile message box and sending it to 4400.
“This service will provide a platform for Nepali youngsters to put their views on issues that concern them," said Mr. Deependra Joshi, Country Director of Equal Access Nepal. "Over time it will also provide an interesting wealth of material that can help pinpoint more accurately the primary areas of interest and concerns amongst the youth community.” "
UNICEF and SSMK have undertaken the 4400 text initiative in response to the relatively low access to computers in Nepal but very high access to the radio and increasingly good access to mobile phones. The toll-free SMS service is targeted at all young people-from urban to rural areas, from the mountains to the plains of Nepal. Initially the service is intended just for response to queries aired on SSMK. Depending upon the volume and nature of response, the service will be expanded and modified to address other queries that young people may have.
The service goes live on 27 April 2010.
For more information:
John Brittain, Chief of Communication, UNICEF Nepal. Tel: 5523200 x 1182 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kaustuv Mani Pokhrel, Program Manager, Equal Access, Nepal, Tel: 5013509, 5013563 x 210. Email: email@example.com