Mobile Messages to Teach Life Skills

Mobile Messages to Teach Life SkillsMobile Messages to Teach Life Skills

Lack of knowledge about rights, responsibilities and life skills is largely responsible for failures in life.

This lack of knowledge, either knowingly or unknowingly, is mostly seen in the larger segments of the population, particularly women in traditional societies and rural areas. Rarely do women want to know or learn about their social rights, partly due to the cliché that “the less women know, the more peaceful life with them will be.” Even sections of the male population are ignorant and unaware of how to protect their rights and due to this reason many may be forced to choose crime rather than take recourse to due process.

These instances have prompted officials at the Department for Women and Family Affairs at the Presidential Office to run an interactive mobile messaging network (101) to both identify the areas of problems as well as help create public awareness and education on issues of importance.  

When the project was launched last July, the majority of messages concerning women’s problems were rooted in their lack of knowledge about their rights. Therefore, it was decided that the first round of the messaging package would center on women’s issues.

Athareh Nejadi, deputy for planning and organization at the department in a talk with the Persian newspaper ‘Sharq’, disagrees with the claim that providing women with information will cause instability in the family. “Such education is not meant for women only and all family members will receive information about their rights and responsibilities. In the long run it will help reduce familial problems.”

One must not be afraid of knowledge but rather of ignorance and its consequences, especially regarding family life, she said.

The 101 network was set up in collaboration with the government, civil society and private enterprise. The Department for Women and Family Affairs at the Presidential Office along with the Cyberspace Security Center of Information and Communications Technology are in charge of the project. Civil society activists provide the contents of the messages which are sent to the department for approval. Private telephone companies will then SMS the messages to applicants. These companies charge applicants 35,000 rials ($1.15) for 100 messages sent in a month, which is the minimum cost.

The first round of messaging packages with the theme of ‘raising judicial awareness and enhancing communicative skills’ was launched on Feb 11, the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Those who are interested must send the word ‘Skill’ to number 101. More social issues will hopefully be addressed in the upcoming rounds.

“We are trying to address a variety of subjects so as to give a choice to the target population,” said Nejadi.