RLabs Mobile Services into Africa

This weekend was another great milestone for the team at RLabs and JamiiX as we partnered with MXit to expand our mobile services into other parts of Africa. The mobile services being offered includes the Angel service and the JamiiX mobile counselling support services.

This partnership will now see the RLabs mobile services not only supporting South African mobile users but will also reach countries such as Kenya, Uganda, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Swaziland, Nigeria and Mauritius. We are excited about this partnership and looking forward to seeing the lives of people being transformed through the use of mobile phones.


RLabs Mobile Services

October has been a busy month providing support to thousands via the RLabs mobile services (Angel on MXit and DAS@jamiix.im). Both these services are unique in that it offer subscribers to these channels a wide range of social services that they can access. Angel (Sponsored by MXit and RLabs) is an information portal that provides its users access to information related to substance abuse, stress and coping, depression, debt counselling, educational opportunities etc. The DAS@jamiix.im contact is a LIVE support service provided by RLabs and Impact Direct (Sponsored by JamiiX) where users can have real time conversations with trained counsellors in a number of social areas.

October has been a very busy month on these services and we just want to share some of our activity via these offerings. In total both these RLabs services have 109,107 subscribers indicating the power of using mobile phones to provide social services to communities. In addition to the RLabs mobile services other offerings such as HIV, Debt and Lifeskills which is supported by RLabs serves a further 87,344 subscribers bringing the total number of people being supported via the mobile channels to 196,451.

Some demographics of interest to the above services show that the age group with the highest number of users subscribing to the RLabs services are users aged 18-25. See graph below for distribution of our subscribers by age:

The subscribers with regard to gender is distributed evenly (See graph below):

The Top 5 social services most frequently accessed by the mobile subscribers are:

1) Stress
2) Depression
3) Drug Addiction
4) Educational Services
5) Relationship related

The total number of interactions during October for the Angel and DAS services were 512,791 and proves the increased activity of engagement using low cost chat platforms such as MXit.


Drug Advice Support and Angel Breaks 100,000 users barrier

Today marked a day full of celebrations as two of the RLabs Social Services broke the 100,000 users barrier. The services Drug Advice Support (DAS) and Angel was started in 2008 to address the problem of drug addiction in the Western Cape. The project started with 10 learners who subscribed to the DAS service before it exploded later in 2008 (See video of first mobile chat counsellors above). Towards the end of 2008 in partnership with MXit a new service called Angel was launched to provide 24 hour access to information addressing Drug Addiction issues.

DAS is a mobile counselling service that provide users an opportunity to access services from trained counsellors via their cell phones using the JamiiX platform. Today the RLabs counselling hub manages over 200 conversations per hour and already achieved over 750,000 conversations over the last two years.

Angel is the information Service that runs 24 hours a day providing users access to relevant info in the area of drug addiction, abuse, depression and stress. Today Angel receive over 200,000 views per week via MXit indicating the relevance and need of such services. Angel is also available as a mobi site for users who do not have access to the MXit platform.

However, since 2008 these services have supported users accross South Africa and beyond. This great milestone is all due to the hard work of all at RLabs and the Community Organisation Impact Direct supported by MXit, JamiiX and ISLabs. Special thanks to all the mobile counsellors and the above organisations for plowing back into the communities of South Africa as we using technology to bring about Social Change.


Why Social Services should go Mobile

It has been one month since we’ve re-launched our Angel support service a partnership between Reconstructed Living Lab (RLabs) and MXit. Since then the service had over a 100,000 subscribers with just over 47,000 regular subscribers. Organisations who are working with youth should consider the use of Mobile phones as part of their programmes and below you will find reasons why:


– Most of the users of the service is youth (82% aged 25 and younger)
– Our LIVE mobile counselling service on average receives 200 queries per hour with approximately 92% being identified as youth.
– Most youth request further support, but prefer having it via the Mobile medium. Even when we recommend centres to attend or websites to visit they want a solution that they can access via their mobile phone.
– We’ve developed Mobile virtual support sessions with experts or professional counsellors and achieve 100% referral rate compared to 26% when referral is telephonic and/or face-to-face.
– Most youth are expert mobile phone users and would be able to transfer relevant information in required formats (text, audio, video, images)
– Youth tend to promote mobile services faster and easier to their friends/buddies/contacts via their mobile phones.
– The average number of contacts/buddies/friends youth will actively chat to daily is 19 (based on mobile interviews with LIVE conversations). Most youth would have more than 50 contacts/buddies/friends in their Mobile Instant Messenger (MXit).

As we are continuously trying to improve our Social services through the use of mobile phones, it is advisable for organisations working in this space to start considering the more active use of mobile phones.


More than 130,000 reached for Social Change via Mobile Phones


With the celebration of drug awareness week in conjunction with MXit, RLabs increased its counsellor capacity and had a massive growth in the Angel user numbers. Angel is an information portal providing support to users in the areas of substance abuse, abuse, depression, stress and coping. Today the Angel information service passed the 40,000 subscriber barrier and in conjunction with RED HIV/AIDS information service (60,000+ users) by Cell Life and our various Mobile Counselling services (30,000+ subscribers accross services) RLabs with its partners have reached over 130,000 users via mobile phones for Social Change. This is only the beginning as many more services will be deployed over the next few weeks (via MXit and JamiiX) to bring about social change in Communities in Tension.


More than 23,000 for Angel on MXit

Another exciting project that RLabs have been involved in has been the Angel on MXit project where we offer people support and advice in the areas of substance abuse, abuse, depression, debt counselling,stress and coping via their mobile phones. This partnership with MXit Lifestyle will allow us to scale our services and also provide much needed access to all MXit users. The Angel project allows MXit users to “find their Angel” where they can get help for the social issue they are dealing with.

Over the next few weeks we will increase the capacity of our mobile counselling support centre and grow it to support thousands of MXit users across South Africa. Since starting our new campaign yesterday we’ve already attracted more than 23,000 users to the service.


Debt Breaker on Angel

With the increase number of people looking for assistance on how to get out of debt and the number of MXit subscribers increasing we’ve added our Debt Breaker service to our MXit Angel Portal.

This service will give consumers an opportunity to add our MXit contact and they will be able to access FREE information about debt and debt counselling over their mobile phone.

MXit is a Mobile Instant Messenger that is available for most handsets and PCs. MXit Lifestyle also launched an application for the iPhone. It can be downloaded here

You can add our Angel service on your MXit application as follows
– Go to Menu
– Contacts
– Add Contacts
– MXit Services
– Add the following (Service Name: Angel, Nickname: Angel)
– Accept Contact

For more information about our Debt Breaker Service you can go here


Athlone Living Lab: Community Innovation Space

The Athlone Living Lab Space are being upgraded and will be ready by next week. The space will be used for the Advice Support Services, training and development space for social and services innovation. Thanks to the Reconstructed Team for all the hard work in getting the space ready.