Using Mobile Phones to Report Informal Fees Requested for Maternal Health Care

first_imgPublicizing the hotline: The awareness-raising campaign was resource intensive. However, it played a key role in increasing women’s knowledge of their entitlements and in publicizing the project. Many stakeholders feel that additional resources should be put into campaigning so that all primary health care facilities are included. This could include hiring more campaigners to travel to the centers and using other media, such as community radio. Motivations behind usage: In some communities, SAHAYOG worked with grassroots women’s organization. Those health centers which are closer to and used by members of these organizations had far higher levels of reporting than others. This indicates that higher levels of awareness and desire to improve the health system are important in motivating users to report grievances, especially when there will be no personal compensation provided to those who report paying informal fees. Quality improvement and policy change: The data generated by the platform can be used by health facility managers as a tool to monitor health facilities’ performance. The data can also be used as an indicator to track quality improvement efforts, which one facility covered by the project has already done. Further, with careful negotiation by SAHAYOG, the Uttar Pradesh and district governments see the My Health, My Voice project as something that helps them to accomplish their goals, rather than as an adversarial outside intervention. However, support and advocacy are required to ensure that the results are used by the government. In general, while the data and maps were publically available, program managers and government officials only looked at them when SAHAYOG presented it to them.For more information on the technical set up of the project, including the internet, IVR, and Ushahidi requirements, please see a brief detailing the set up and lessons learned here.Do you have an opinion on the role mHealth can play to improve maternal health? What do you see as the biggest advantages of mHealth? The limitations? If you are interested in submitting a blog post for our ongoing guest blog series on mHealth for Maternal Health, please email MHTF Research Assistant Yogeeta Manglani at [email protected] this: Posted on May 5, 2014August 10, 2016Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Guest post by Averting Maternal Disability and Death (AMDD) and SAHAYOGDespite the investment of enormous resources by India’s central government and the Uttar Pradesh state government in creating demand for facility childbirth and ensuring free maternity care, requests for informal payments by providers and consequent denial of care persist. The government states that they are unable to take action on informal fees, as they have no hard evidence of their frequency. Informal fees pose an important barrier to reaching quality universal health coverage.In response, SAHAYOG, a grassroots women’s health and rights organization based in Uttar Pradesh, in collaboration with the Averting Maternal Death and Disability (AMDD) Program at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, launched the “My Health, My Voice” project in January of 2012. The project uses interactive voice response (IVR) and mobile phones to report requests for informal fees. SAHAYOG has publicized the project through brochures, community meetings, and announcements painted on buildings.Since the project launch, women have called in over 1100 reports of informal fees. More than half of these reports are for fee requests exceeding 500 rupees (about 8 USD). The reports are mapped in real time on a website that uses Ushahidi, an open access software platform that was created to track election violence in Kenya and is now used for many different types of transparency efforts. The hotline also includes an emergency number that goes directly to the mobile phone of a partner women’s group. This emergency number was essential as there were approximately 20 calls related to denial of emergency care. The partner organization followed up immediately, resulting in immediate attention being given to the women.Thus far, SAHAYOG and AMDD have culled some key lessons from ongoing monitoring and evaluation:User experience: Women felt safe making reports using the My Health, My Voice because their reports were anonymous and untraceable. And, because the reports did not place blame on an individual health worker, women felt that they could safely return to the health facility in the future to seek services without retaliation. Among the possible modes of mobile phone communication, IVR is significantly more accessible than text. Many of the most ubiquitous phones support Roman text only, making text less accessible in settings where the primary language (such as Hindi) does not use Roman letters. Despite IVR’s advantage in using voice rather than text, SAHAYOG learned that significant assistance and mobilization was still required to ensure use of the hotline. While many people own mobile phones, it may be that men use the phones more frequently than women. ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:last_img read more

20 unexplored places to find freelance work online

first_imgSometimes, when jobs fall in your lap or your inbox is full of inquiries, freelancing feels like a walk through the park. You know, the kind where bluebirds tie your shoelaces and beautiful people with adorable dogs wink at you as they jog by?Those are the times when it’s fun to tell people, “Hi, yeah. I’m a freelancer.”Other times, it’s like walking through an eerily empty park. During a storm, in the middle of a horror movie… and you’re hungry the whole time.Those are the times when you don’t care what you tell people, so long as they buy you dinner or spot you $20 for your website hosting.The rough (and hungry) times are when it’s helpful to know where to find extra freelance work.I’ve written before about finding freelance jobs, but it was a pretty broad overview. This time, I’m getting specific, and focusing on the best freelance sites available online. I promise, I’m not going to tell you to just “try UpWork!”I mean, obviously you can give UpWork a shot… but I want you to know there are more options out there. A lot more options.Go for your ideal freelance work niche.You want to get noticed, right? Throwing your talents out into a pool of a million people trying to get hired for a million different kinds of freelance work is going to make that difficult. Throwing your hat into a smaller ring of similar job-seekers, however, is a much easier way to stand out.Be aware of the types of freelance work sites out there.Once you’ve nailed down the niches you want to explore, you’ll also need to think about the type of site you want to deal with. These sites can get confusing and overwhelming, so let’s walk through them.The BasicsEven the lines between some of the best freelance sites can get a little blurry, so I’m going to break them down into four categories: Paid, Unpaid, Screened, and Unscreened. There are different terms I can use, like “Job Board” or “Job Directory,” but I want to keep this as simple as possible, so here we go:Paid/UnpaidCertain sites will cost you a little bit of cash in order to get you work. Now, I know that nobody likes spending money if they don’t have to, but these sites can have their advantages. Some ask for a monthly membership fee (and sometimes offer a money-back guarantee), others take a percentage of the earnings you make from any freelance work found on the site.Many of these sites actually manage the financial transactions, adding a layer of protection to both you and the people looking for qualified freelancers.There are also plenty of options out there for totally free sites. Just like anything, though, these come with pros and cons. It’s likely that the free sites will be flooded with freelancers looking for work, and for businesses looking for cheap work. Again, it’s all up to you and your situation. When you’re scrounging pennies, even a $10 can be a big deal.Screened/UnscreenedPrepare yourself, friends, because I’m coming at you with more pros and cons.Some sites have a screening process tied to their services. This means that a team of people will comb through applications to ensure that featured freelancers (and sometimes even the entities looking to hire the freelancers) meet a specific set of standards. This makes it a little harder to get your work onto the sites… but if you do make the cut, it’s likely that the jobs you get hired for will be of higher quality (bigger jobs, higher pay).Just like with the free sites, an unscreened site leaves room for lower-quality (smaller jobs, lower paying) clients… and sometimes that’s exactly what you need to get through a rough patch.Alright, alright, already. Here’s a list of the actual sites.I’m going to break these down into niche, and let you know whether they’re paid/unpaid/screened/unscreened, as well as any other info I find pertinent.Ready? Let’s do this.Web Development and Design:Codeable — Codeable is a screened option that applies a 15% service charge to your final estimates. Remember, this screening process can be a big benefit to you, should you get accepted. This is what Codeable CEO, Per Esbensen, has to say about it:“Online outsourcing has been bleeding for a long time (and still is) due to the bidding process and the lack of quality control. Codeable addresses both these aspects by providing estimates to customers and a thorough quality control approach. Actually, we recently renewed our original vetting process, which combines language and communication screening, test projects, as well as live code testing, to an extent that 2-3% of all applicants make it past the screening.”Envato Studio — This is another screened option, and the company takes 30% of your final project earnings. Payment is collected by Envato and managed through an earnings account.Smashing Jobs — This one’s a “job board,” which means that employers and business owners looking to hire freelancers pay to get their job listings posted on the board.Freelancers can look through the ads and contact the employers of their own accord. Not screened, and of no cost to you.Behance, Dribbble — These two are fairly well-known portfolio/job board sites. Since I’m rounding up some of the best freelance sites that aren’t quite so talked about, I’m not going to spend a lot of time on them… but they’re definitely worth a mention.WritingProBlogger — ProBlogger is a prominent blogging resource started by blogger Darren Rowse. The “jobs” section of the site is an extensive job board, similar to Smashing Jobs. There is no screening process for for freelancers or hiring companies, so ProBlogger warns applicants to use “due diligence” when applying for jobs.Scripted — Scripted is another freelance marketplace, but specifically for writers. There is a screening process in order to become a Scripted freelancer, and you would receive payment from Scripted, rather than straight from the client. From what I can tell, there isn’t an official percentage taken from freelancers’ earnings, but there’s a chance that the payment transactions might incur some fees.Krop — Krop is a combination between a job board and a marketplace. Clients looking to hire freelancers post jobs on Krop’s website, and the freelancers can contact the client themselves. Freelancers do, however, get to create a profile and add it to Krop’s database.No screening, no charges or percentages taken from earnings. Krop is a resource for almost all freelancers, with jobs in web design, copywriting, SEO, graphic design, and more.Flexjobs — Flexjobs is a subscription-based job board. For a monthly, quarterly, or yearly subscription, you get access to Flexjobs’ job board, job search tips, and portfolio options.One notable aspect of Flexjobs is the company’s focus on the freelancer’s ease of use, rather than the entities posting the jobs. I always like that in a company, you know?Graphic DesignAwesomeWeb — The folks at AwesomeWeb offer a paid service, but with a bit of a twist. For $27 per month, you can upload your portfolio to their “small, exclusive freelance marketplace,” with the safety net of a 90 day money-back guarantee if you don’t earn anything during that time.Nicholas Tart, the man behind AwesomeWeb, believes fully in his model, and here’s why:“AwesomeWeb is the site that I wanted as a freelancer. Every other platform was bloated with free accounts, restricted client communication, and wasted my time with cheap proposals.We believe the client should contact you, instead of you contacting them, based on the quality of your work. This minimizes bidding wars. Then every project should start with a call. 100% open communication. And successful projects should lead to long-term relationships with regular retainers.Freelancing should be a warm, human experience. That’s why we built AwesomeWeb.”Toptal — This is a marketplace with a heavily-screened acceptance process. They accept applications from both Graphic Designers and Developers. Toptal handles all financial transactions, but there isn’t any copy detailing costs or fees.Coroflot — Coroflot is a free job board that allows you to directly contact the parties looking to hire.Authentic Jobs — Another job board that’s free to the job seeker, and from what I can tell, the freelancer communicated directly with potential clients. The sister site, Authentic Pros, is a directory that allows you to create a freelance profile.AIGA Design Jobs — This is a job board available only to AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) members. Once you’ve become a member (memberships begin at $50/year), you’ll have access to a job board of listings that hiring companies have paid to list.**SEO, Social Media & Marketing**Freelancers Union — Along with Freelancers Union providing endless killer resources, they also have a gig section. Their Hives section has everything from gigs to industry specific advice. If you haven’t checked it out yet, do it, now.Growth Geeks — This is a screened option for freelance marketers that allows you to become part of the company’s “network of experts.” You must submit an application and make it through the screening process, but since the site’s pricing structure is quite regular and package-based, you’ll likely have a consistent working rate. (There’s also a DesignGeeks and WordGeeks option.)Inbound Jobs — Another job board, but with a fairly thorough application to fill out, if you find a job worth contacting.GrowthHackers — A job board in which you directly contact businesses to apply.We Work Remotely — Another straightforward job board that puts you in control of communication with prospective clients by applying directly.Take a deep breath. Don’t freak out.I realize this post, for a few reasons, might be a little… overwhelming. One, a whole lot of sites just got thrown at you. And, two, now you’ve actually got to sit down, create profiles, fill out applications, and go through screening processes.This is a good time to remind yourself of why you’re a freelancer. You want flexibility, and you want to do what you’re good at. Sometimes, that takes a little leg work… or a lot of extra typing. Remember, being a freelancer means that you’re not isolated to the small handful of companies hiring in your area; there are roughly a million bajillion places you can find work, as long as you’re willing to put forth the effort.Isn’t it a beautiful thing to have options?last_img read more