Parker, Marlon, Wills, Gary and Wills, Julia
Using Mobile Instant Messaging to support the Substance Abuse problem amongst youth in South Africa.
In, International Development InformaticsConference, Cape Town ,
03 - 05 Nov 2010.
In this paper we explore the use of a particular MIM service, MXit, to offer advice and support to young people struggling with problems associated with substance abuse. The research focuses on a case study carried out in the Cape Flats. The case study was based on a substance abuse counselling project known as Drug Advice Support (DAS). Data was collected through semi-structured interviews with DAS advisers, and analysis of the latest statistics of the DAS on MXit project. The interviews were conducted at the Impact Direct Centre,,using the JamiiX platform over the period 13-27 April 2009. For the advisers the system was found to be easy to use. The advisers had little formal education, yet they were able to learn the technology quickly and hold many asynchronous conversations in a single advice session, thereby also being empowered. The service was successful, which can be attributed to three main factors: the extensive use of MIM by young people in the region, the low cost of the service, and the anonymity of the subscriber. Other factors include the widespread use of the technology, especially among the youth, and the relative low cost of using the MXit platform.
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