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Plan and Nokia Launch Short Message Service to Facilitate Learning

Plan and mobile phone manufacturer Nokia have launched a Short Message Service (SMS) that aims to facilitate learning and help bridge information gaps through richly formatted messages without the need for a data plan.

The service known as Nokia Life, which was launched in Kenya, includes parenting advice which supports parents in bringing up their children with advice on the physical, emotional, and social aspects of growing up. It is available free of charge for an initial 30-day trial period, with the option to subscribe monthly for as little as 2 Kenyan Shillings per day. It is available on local mobile platforms in both English and Swahili.

“We are working towards achieving Education for All goals by bringing learning opportunities for children, youth, and adults through mobile technology. “We are finding new and innovative ways to use mobile phones in the areas of learning and improving child rights,” said Samuel Musyoki, the Acting Country Director for Plan Kenya.

Musyoki said Plan and Nokia were also working in Uganda to mobilize teachers, parents, students, and local education authorities with the support of mobile services and radio to take an active role in school governance.

“Improving school governance helps to ensure that children receive high-quality education and also contributes towards achieving gender equality, lifelong learning opportunities for youth and adults, and adult literacy,” he said.

“Plan and Nokia have been working together since 2006. The partnership has reached over 700,000 youth and children directly, and helped them to become active and leading participants in their own development. Mobile technology plays an important role in empowering children and youth,” Plan International’s Acting Director for Kenya, Mr. Samuel Musyoki said.

Nokia General Manager for East Africa, Bruce Howe, said recent research by Strategy Analytics showed that about 75% of the 40 million Kenyans have a mobile subscription. Between July and September of 2012, more than one billion SMS’s were sent by Kenyan subscribers, highlighting the potential for SMS based services.

Nokia first introduced Nokia Life in India in 2009, quickly expanding to China, Indonesia, and Nigeria. Nokia Life services have since been experienced by more than 95 million people, in 18 local languages, with content co-developed by more than 90 knowledge partners including academics, governments, and non-governmental organizations.

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