Téléphonie Solidaire - Civil society - Collective self organization for dialogue and support
Country of the case / Scope:
Start Date/End date:
Third Sector Organisation
Emmaüs Le Défi (non-profit organization that provides support for disadvantaged persons) is implementing this initiative which French name refers to communications aimed to solidarity- in collaboration with a French mobile phone operator (SFR). This project take its roots in the observation that mobile phone is a crucial resource for people in precarious situation. Indeed, for people placed in a situation of social isolation (living alone and/or unemployed), the mobile phone facilitate interaction with various social circles (family, friends, professional relations) and contributes to the strengthening of social bonds. The project aims to make available tools and means of communication to disadvantaged people and assist them in their use and its financial management. Initiated in January 2010, the project is composed of three parts: 1) use of mobile phones training; 2) social support; 3) and a supportive mobile phone offer.
Currently it benefits to more than one hundred people. A network of social actors (social services, educational institutions) selects and guides disadvantaged people in order to help them benefiting from the “Téléphonie Solidaire”. For these actors, mobile phone is also a crucial mean of communication inasmuch at it is often the only link they have with the persons they follow. Once integrated in the program, each beneficiary is followed by a member of Emmaüs Le Défi to make an assessment of its use and consumption. This support is important because it provides guidance for users who ran into debt because of their mobile phone invoices. Indeed, for people suffering from social exclusion, the monthly budget allocated to the mobile phone represents between 20% and 50% of their total budget. A guide of good practices is provided to them, as well as training on good uses of mobile phones in order to reduce spending. Finally, such a support is associated with a prepaid calling card at preferential rates (four to five times lesser than regular rates). Prepaid card have some advantages: no commitment, valid for a period of six months, renewable on request. The access to the program is limited in time in order to prevent negative effects such as dependency from the social offer.
Target and key users:
Host population and IEM
It is addressed to disadvantaged peoples, including IEM
Involvement of IEM in the practice:
The project was not dedicated specifically to IEM, but to targeted poor people in France. However, 80% of the beneficiaries of Telephonie Solidaire are actually IEM. They participate in the design of the solutions: the pedagogical part was created from the questions and issues raised by them; they have also contributed through a qualitative questionnaire to improve the version 2 of the project.
Impact assesment and methodology:
The project is still very new, so for the moment the unique impacts assessed are the immediate impact on the budget of the beneficiaries, as well as the facilitating effect of the initiative on user's social and labour integration.
Innovation and creativity:
The project was clearly created to tackle a problem which has been raised, with absolutely no other solution developed so far. The problem tackled is the cost of telecommunication in the budget of the poor, which is often a factor or exclusion and poverty. While the majority of social services is still considering telecommunication as a “luxury”, the innovation of this initiative consists on the development of a social project targeting the ICT budget of poor people. The innovative approach is also in the complement between a social offer ("pay as you want" cards) and a pedagogical support to ensure autonomy. Lessons learnt from experimentation also brought a lot of creativity amongst the private partner, SFR, who learnt to understand better an important whole part of its customer base.Sustainability:
For the time being, 20% of the project costs are covered through incomes generated by the project itself. The 80% left is financed by SFR, the private company partner of the project. One strong issue of the project this year will be to find an economic model (targeting the stakeholders who benefit from the program) in order to support the costs of the pedagogical part of the project.