Updated Jun 20, 2018

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RapidPro in the Education Sector

Part of United Nations Children's Fund

Disseminating critical life saving information through innovative cost effective mobile phone technology in disaster prone isolated areas.


The innovation has no owner


Stage 3: Proof of Concept

Focus Areas:

Education and Technology

Education and TechnologySEE LESS

Implemented In:

Papua New Guinea

Papua New GuineaSEE LESS

Key Partner
Country Implemented In

Target Beneficiaries

The beneficiaries will be 81 000 students of which 26 000 are girls in the 712 schools located in Milne Bay province, mostly living in rural and remote areas where information is hard to reach. Teachers, surrounding communities and relevant government authorities will also benefit from this innovation.Using the Rapid Pro platform, adolescent girls and other students will be able to both receive early warning information relating to impending disasters and actions required for preparedness on the one hand and on the other, they will be able to send information on incidences of gender based violence in schools and their surrounding communities, which will be collected from the central Rapid Pro server based in the Division of Education in the province and analysed. The information on incidences of GBV will be shared with the provincial GBV Secretariat for data collection, referral and response while information on disasters will be shared with the Disaster Coordinator for action.

Innovation Description

UNICEF Innovation globally has been working with SMS systems since 2007, when it created an open source platform called RapidSMS with its partners to support ongoing data collection efforts and youth engagement activities. RapidSMS is a free and open source framework designed to send and receive data using basic mobile phones, manage complex workflows, automate analysis and present data in real-time. In Cambodia, for example, a country prone to flooding, an Early Warning System ‘EWS 1294’ which delivers warning voice messages directly to the mobile phones of people at risk has been very successful in saving lives. More than 200,000 households in seven provinces were covered 'EWS 1294'. RapidSMS has been used widely in international development, and many organisations contributed to the RapidSMS codebase. An agreement is currently in place between UNICEF PNG, Digicel Mobile Phone Company, the National Information and Communication Authority (NICTA), and the Department of Education to initiate for the first time in PNG the RapidSMS innovation called Rapid Pro in the education sector. The current agreement is to collect information only in the education sector to build up a reliable data source for the country. In this joint proposal with UN Women, gender responsive disaster preparedness and GBV data collection and response will also be incorporated into the Rapid Pro systems platform.

Competitive Advantage

While using mobile technology to alert people on disasters is not new, it is new in the education sector with a link to gender based violence reporting and monitoring. The context in which the idea will be implemented also makes it unique because it has never been done in PNG and the geographical make up of Milne Bay province also makes it a very unique pilot project site. In collaboration with UN Women, the proposed innovation to expand the features and application of the existing RapidPro technology for emergencies will include UN Women’s comparative advantage in preventing and responding to GBV, creating gender and & GBV awareness. The expectation is that the empowerment and protection of girls will be realized.


Date Unknown
New Country Implemented In
Papua New Guinea
Date Unknown
Key Partnership