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Bavuse! for Community Self-Mobilisation

What is Bavuse?

Bavuse! or Grassroot is a communication tool that anyone in South Africa can use for community self-organising. The aim of Bavuse! is to make it easy for communities and activists to use their cell phones to organise themselves in ways that are free or cheap.

Who created Bavuse?

Bavuse! is developed by Grassroot, a non-profit organisation. PHM-SA is a development partner that assists in testing, training and implementing Bavuse! at community level. At PHM-SA, we call Grassroot’s communication tool Bavuse! and our groups are Bavuse! groups.

What can I do with Bavuse?

On any cell phone, you can use Bavuse! to:

  • Create a profile
  • Create groups and add members
  • Create group organisers
  • Call meetings
  • Call votes
  • Assign tasks to members
  • Ask for information
  • Ask for volunteers

On the Grassroot website, you can also:

  • Send SMS, email and social media broadcasts
  • Create campaigns and link to Amandla Awethu petitions
  • Monitor group activity, and import and
    export membership lists

What does Bavuse! cost?

Bavuse!/Grassroot is currently free for groups of up to 250 members. Every group can send 3 free SMS or USSD messages per month. (Additional capacity and advanced functions like campaigns require a Grassroot Extra account.)

PHM-SA has additional capacity to sign up thousands of members in each of our groups and to send them thousands of messages.

How do I use Bavuse?

You can use Bavuse! in any of these ways:

a) On any cell phone, dial *134*1994# (it’s free)

b) On a smartphone, download the Grassroot for Android app from the Google Play Store

c) Register on the Grassroot website: https://www.grassroot.org.za/

A. Using Bavuse! with a Cell Phone (free dial codes)

In this section, we explain how to use Bavuse! with a cell phone and free USSD dial codes. You can also download these instructions by clicking here.

A.1 How do I create my Bavuse! (Grassroot) profile?

  1. Dial *134*1994# (it’s free)
  2. Reply 5 to choose 5. Profile. Then press OK or Send.
  3. Reply 1 to choose 1. My name. Then press OK or Send.
  4. Reply by typing your name. Then press OK or Send.
  5. Return to the main menu and repeat the process to specify your Language, Town and Email.

Note: If the session disconnects before you are done, or if you want to change your details at a later time, just dial *134*1994# again and repeat the process.

A.2 How do I create a group and a group join code?

  1. Dial *134*1994# (it’s free)
  2. Reply 4 to choose 4. My groups. Then press OK or Send. (If you are already a member of any groups, you will first see a list of them).
  3. Reply 1 to choose 1. Create a new group. Then press OK or Send. (Note: The number to create a new group may be different if you are already a member of any groups, because they will be listed first).
  4. Reply by typing the name of your group. Then press OK or Send. (Hint: Keep the group name short, or it will use up too much text in messages).
  5. Choose if you want to make your group and your location public or private:

Option 1: To make your group and your location public so that other people can search for your group in your area, reply 1 to choose 1. Yes, and use my location. Then press OK or Send.

Option 2: To make your group public (but not your location) so that other people can search for your group, reply 2 to choose 2. Yes, but without location.

Option 3: To make your group private (other people cannot search for it), reply 3 to choose 3. No.

  1. To get an SMS with your group’s join code, reply 3 to choose 3. SMS me join code. (You can give other people your join code if you want them to join your group. Just ask them to dial it on their cell phones).

A.3 How do I add members to my group?

There are two ways to add members to your group: You can give them your group’s join code to dial. Or you can add new members yourself:

  1. Dial *134*1994# (it’s free)
  2. Reply 4 to choose 4. My groups. Then press OK or Send. (You will now see a list of your groups).
  3. Type the number of the group you want to pick. Then press OK or Send.
  4. Reply 1 to choose 1. Add someone. Then press OK or Send.
  5. Reply by typing the cell number of the person. Then press OK or Send.
  6. You can add another person’s number, or reply 0 to finish. Then press OK or Send.

Note: You can add members to a group that you created. But to add members to someone else’s group, the owner/organiser of that group will first have to assign the necessary permissions to your profile.

A.4 How do I call a meeting?

It’s easy to call a meeting, but you must be the owner/organiser of a group. When people receive your SMS notice, they can RSVP by dialling *134*1994# (free) and you will receive their confirmations by SMS.

  1. Dial *134*1994# (it’s free).
  2. Reply 1 to choose 1. Meet. Then press OK or Send.
  3. Choose a group (or first create one. Then press OK or Send.
  4. Type the meeting topic. Then press OK or Send.
  5. Type the place. Then press OK or Send.
  6. Type the date and time. Then press OK or Send.
  7. To send the notice, reply 1 to choose 1. Yes. Then press OK or Send.

Note: If the session disconnects while you are busy, just dial *134*1994# again (it’s free).

A.5 How do I call a vote?

  1. Dial *134*1994# (it’s free)
  2. Reply 2 to choose 2. My Vote. Then press OK or Send.
  3. Reply by typing the question/issue that people must vote on. Then press OK or Send. (Hint: Keep it short as you have only about 30 letters and the session may time out).
  4. Choose your vote options:

Option 1: For Yes and No vote options, reply 1 to choose 1. Just Yes and No. Then press OK or Send.

Option 1: To type your own vote options, reply 2 to choose 2. My own options. Then type each of your options one by one and press OK or Send after every option. When you have added all your options, reply O. Then press OK or Send.

  1. Choose the Group that must vote: Reply by entering the group’s number. Then press OK or Send.
  2. Choose when the vote must close: In 5 minutes, an hour, a day, a week, or enter your own date. Then press OK or Send.
  3. You will see a preview of the vote. If it looks okay, reply 1 to choose 1. Yes, send out.
    If you want to change the topic of the vote, reply 2 to choose 2. No, change topic.
    If you want to change the date or time of the deadline, reply 3 to choose 3. No, change date or time.

A.6 How do I ask for volunteers?

  1. Dial *134*1994# (it’s free)
  2. Reply 3 to choose 3. Act. Then press OK or Send.
  3. Reply 2 to choose 2. Need volunteers. Then press OK or Send.
  4. Choose the Group from which you need volunteers: Reply by entering the group’s number. Then press OK or Send.
  5. Reply by typing the task that you need volunteers for. Then press OK or Send.
    (Hint: Keep it short).
  6. Choose the time when you need volunteers: Type 1 if you need them now. Or type another day/time. Then press OK or Send.
  7. You will see a preview. If the message looks okay to send, reply 1 to choose 1. Yes.
    If you want to change the task, reply 2 to choose 2. Change subject.
    If you want to change the date or time, reply 3 to choose 3. Change date or time.

A.7 What must I do if the session disconnects?

If the session times out before you are done with a task, just dial *134*1994# again. You will get the option to continue with the task you were busy with.

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