Ambassador feedback get implemented on to the platform

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As communities make use of the Grassroot platform, their needs naturally change from time to time, triggering evolution in user behavior. It is for this reason that we meet up with our Grassroot ambassadors that are based in the communities that are serviced by the platform. This happens on a monthly basis with plans to cut the time lapses in half for the coming year.

These interactions have led more in depth insight on how to develop the platform in a manner that will best suit the user communities. We have been also been able to discover why some features are more popular than others. 

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We are happy to announce some of the new features that come courtesy of Grassroot ambassadors. Organizers of multiple groups often struggle with join codes and figuring out which join code belongs to which group, especially on USSD.

  • Mondli Msani of Thembelihle in Lenasia suggested an item on the USSD menu that lets Grassroot send you a list of your groups along with the join codes via SMS (option 6 under the My Groups menu item).
  • Phulani Khulu of Mnadini in Tshepisong West mentioned that a large majority of their meetings are held at the same location. Under the call meeting item, the user can add a frequently used location by reply with the number 1 to save time.

The Act menu item has also been revamped. Group organizers can now request different types of actions to be performed by their constituencies. The organizer can now request an action to be performed by the whole group or request volunteers. He/she can now request information for data collection purposes. Users can add the home addresses or T-shirt sizes or user IDs for particular programs.

Access Grassroot by dialling *134*1994# on your mobile device (cellular rates do not apply), downloading the Grassroot Android app on the Google Playstore or accessing our web app at app.grassroot.org.za.

#LiveWireSA Ambassador diaries: Mondli Msani - Community conducts social audit

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The focus of the social audit is to get to find out what are the challenges that the community is facing regarding these pit toilets. It is said that Supreme has been given an extended period with a budget of 12 million rand for six months that was granted in January. Yet people still get inadequate sanitation services. 

The goal is to compare the specifications on the tender document and to do physical verification to find out whether the specifications are as explained on the tender specification and must match with what we see. 

We have been out and asking residents some questions about the sanitation service delivery using the questionnaire we designed as auditing residents. 

This is all thanks to Plan-Act the organization that provided training and workshops as they also provided tools to undergo the audit.

#LiveWireSA Ambassador diaries: Mondli Msani - Electricity infrastructure left incomplete

The contractor who left without completing the ifrastructure.

The contractor who left without completing the ifrastructure.

Thembelihle was finally granted the benefit of being the beneficiary of the most needed infrastructure (electric).


In  late 2014 the government implemented that all the informal settlements must get electric installations and Thembelihle automated to be one of the beneficiaries. Therefore the City Power was hosting the installations that are to done in Thembelihle. City Power hired 3 contractors after the bidding process. Tshepang electrical services, Akula & Maziya electrical services. Akula is the first contractor to begin the installation process followed by Tshepang a few months later. And Lastly Maziya came into place to hold the last section of the place.

Some material that the contractors have left behind.

Some material that the contractors have left behind.


Akula however seemed to be dragging feet in the installations process as its workload was always behind schedule compared to the contractors who came after . However their (Akula) infrastructure was carried out improper as they ignored some safety measures of installing the house hold cables. The placed the cable without the protection plastic bolt to protect the cables from getting cut. On the other hand Tshepang used the protection plastic bolts. The solar panels said to also supply households is only supplying streetlights. 

Some of the poles are missing electric wires.

Some of the poles are missing electric wires.

The contractor has left (Akula) an incomplete infrastructure behind. This is whereby we as community members suspect that Akula did not fulfill the tender specification specified on the bidding applications. Because the contractor left several streets without any streetlights installed. One of the street whereby the 2 areas that Akula and Tshepang work on meet. It is a street that mediate the boundary of the 2 contractors areas. That street has been left out with only one block  with street lights. The rest of the blocks around 19 are left with no streetlights at all. Making 95 % of the street to be dark at night. This is a street  known as a hot spot for thugs that loot people. Yet when looking at other sides there are large gaps between the streetlights whereby it makes dark spots at night while others light adequately. Thembelihle is left with such inadequacy of electric infrastructure with no knowledge of whether will it be rectified or will it be there for all eternity. 

The rest of the street in that direction has no street light making it a criminal hotspot.

The rest of the street in that direction has no street light making it a criminal hotspot.

All in all to wrap this up. It is clear that no transparency has been reflected to the community from the contractor. The local municipality did play their role of transparency by telling the community what are the specifications expected for us to receive from the contractor. Gas cylinders for us to use  as an alternative source of energy. Solar panels that are to supply households. And the electric meter in the normal electric supply source.  But residents can only confirm that they got only 1 item from what had been specified in the public meeting.

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#LiveWireSA The community of Mzondi takes a DIY approach to service delivery

Men digging up a hole in the process of cunstructing a toilet.

Men digging up a hole in the process of cunstructing a toilet.

The women in the community preparing a meal for everyone

The women in the community preparing a meal for everyone

Every Saturday morning, residents of Mzondi informal settlement get Grassroot notifications reminding them of their weekly meeting. The agenda is such meetings is usually development. It is decided here into how many groups they will be split into and and what will be the task of each individual group.

A completed, fully fucntional DIY toilet

A completed, fully fucntional DIY toilet

How residents typically divide themselves is these meetings is that the women cook for everybody in the community and look after the children. The men repair broken shacks and install pipes for water and sanitation and build functional, running toilets. The person to facility ratio is not ideal at this moment but the community has been making strides. Functioning taps and usable toilets have been installed thus far.

The community women preparing a meal

The community women preparing a meal

The community has plans for development in the future and have started implementing some of them, this includes a dirt road that has been carved out by flattening the surface on the area next to the settlement. Motorist from neighbouring Ivory Park have began using it as it an alternative from the often congested main road.

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#LiveWireSA citizen journalist training with Health- E

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On Tuesday, 19 September Grassroot hosted a LiveWire citizen journalist training session with the assitance of Health-E. Health- E is an award winning health news service that specializes in television and print. The aim was to improve the quality of the content that is being generated on the LiveWire platform.

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Gill Gifford, news editor at Health-E taught the participant to identify what kind of content is news and what kind won't generate interest among people at the publications. She also took the participants through the basic journalistic ethics. Masutane Modjadji, project manager at Health-E explained to participants about what it takes to be a citizen journalist and the types of stories one can write.

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You can use Grassroot to let the media know about anything that is happening within your vicinity by dialing *134*1994*411# or use the web app at :app.grassroot.org.za.

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