Brastorne Deploys its Mpotsa and Robo-Dialer Technology to Connect Disadvantaged Botswana with Critical Legal Services
Eighty percent of Africans cannot afford smartphones, data bundles, or lack 3G/4G network coverage. This creates a digital divide that disconnects already disadvantaged rural Africans from the tools, opportunities, and services they need to thrive.
In large urban centers like Gaborone, finding assistance with legal matters such as small claims or wills is relatively easy. Online access is widespread and any number of service providers are available to answer client emails or calls.
But what if you live in rural Botswana and require legal assistance?
The story is much different in the rural parts of Botswana where internet access is expensive and data network coverage inconsistent. For these communities, the challenge is twofold. First, the service providers aren’t located in the local community. Second, those needing help lack the ability to connect with the service providers that are located in distant urban centers.
It’s this lack of access to services that are often taken for granted by people with means living in urban centers that disadvantage communities by denying them access to markets, information, and services.
Brastorne Enterprises’ mission is to connect these unconnected communities throughout rural Africa. Through a suite of products and services, the company helps farmers and ranchers bring their products to market, provides access to critical information on almost anything, and helps disadvantaged communities build and maintain valuable social connections.
Brastorne’s solutions are inclusive, comprehensive, and can be tailored across various contexts, ranging from agricultural advisory services to public health messaging. They follow a multi-channel approach to reach the rural poor in Africa, ensuring that no one is left behind.
One of their key services is Mpotsa, a two-way phone-based inquiry and answer service that endeavors to furnish users with data on nearly everything. It prompts users to pose any inquiry via either telephone voice or SMS. The user then receives the solution they need either via telephone voice or SMS.
Another of the tools they’ve developed to overcome the many barriers to access is a Robo-dialer. This proficient and viable approach allows communication to thousands of typically underserved communities in Botswana with little effort.
Together, these two services were used to offer underserved communities in Botswana unrestricted access to legal aid, free of charge. After identifying a user’s needs, such as requiring legal aid but not having the money to pay for it, callers into Brastorne’s call center were connected to legal service providers. This solution connected underserved users who needed help with small claims, wills, or any legal service with legal experts that could help them. After dialing into the Brastorne call center, callers were presented with a menu of available service options. Those who chose the automated menu option for legal aid were connected to legal representatives who could answer their questions and inquiries.
“The objective of the Mpotsa Legal aid service is to provide simplified expounding and as well as access to justice for those without the means to engage lawyers privately. It is a fact that legal aid is imperative, whether you are wealthy or of a lower income bracket,”said Meshack Odirile, head of Channels at Brastorne Enterprises.
Through the Robo-dialer, Brastorne leveraged the power of Interactive Voice Response (IVR) to provide users with valuable information and alerts. The company further included the value-added service of lawyers as an alternative on the IVR and conveyed this through blast SMS from Orange Botswana, a Brastorne Telco Partner. This empowered users to interface directly with the attorneys. The legal counselors were trained on how to utilize the remote agent option, in this way they could log on to the system remotely and address the calls personally. This was done to avoid miscommunication and delays in reverts from call center agents, who are not legal professionals. Inquiries delivered by Mposta were similarly routed to legal professionals that could help.
Over the course of 2021, 22,000 people reached out and were connected with legal services using the system. Over 95% of those users accessed the legal services through SMS while the remaining users used voice and IVR. The vast majority of users who reached out through SMS were not billable clients as they were identified as lower income, proving the desperate need for this unique service offering. These lower-income users were provided with information that linked them directly to lawyers who could assist them pro-bono. Low-income users were, through the service, able to receive services that are typically more accessible to high-income earners, services that otherwise would have been virtually impossible for them to attain.
For 85% of Africans, first-time access to the web will be through their cell phones and not through fixed broadband on PCs. Information-empowered cell phones are a special case, not a norm. Brastorne intends to address these gaps through their innovative and versatile mobile solutions, granting users access to information, markets, as well as cheap communication, one of those solutions being Mpotsa. Mpotsa intends to bridge the data gap, giving Botswana admittance to confined data by means of SMS and call. In this particular case, the majority of users preferred texting rather than calling to access the service. This showcases the importance of using a system that is flexible enough to offer users different options for how they would like to connect.
Do you need to connect with rural communities across Africa? Contact Brastorne today to learn how our products and services can connect you to difficult-to-reach audiences.