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Orange Botswana New Service Widens Information Access

PAULINE DIKUELO
Patrick Benon. PIC. KENNEDY RAMOKONE
Orange Botswana has launched a free access mobile platform, which provides information on interest topics such as health, agriculture, the weather, Orange Money, as well as wildlife and national parks.

The 1-2-4 service, which was done in collaboration with Human Network International, is part of Orange Botswana’s commitment to empowering Batswana whilst realising the country’s Vision 2036 of a knowledge-based economy.

The service provides information in both Setswana and English through voice, SMSes and USSD free of charge. To utilise the service, one needs to either dial 124 follow instructions or dial USSD code *124# and follow instructions, or SMS questions to the number 124 and receive the answers.

Speaking at the launch recently, Orange Botswana’s chief executive officer (CEO) Patrick Benon said that mobile technology coupled with innovation presents a lot of opportunities for the development of the country.

“We use our network to address the diverse needs of Batswana, including those that are underprivileged and underserved.  This cost-effective service can reach even the most isolated settlements in the country without having to worry about Internet access,” he said.

According to the CEO, technology plays a pivotal role in the current lifestyle, noting that it is vital for Batswana to have access to relevant information whether business, health or agriculture to help

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them make informed decisions.

Benon said that Orange Botswana understands its role in helping to drive wider socio-economic development, thus the service, which has been designed to be user-friendly and take into consideration those with limited literacy or technological difficulties.

On her part, the Minister of Health and Wellness, Dorcas Makgatho said that the 1-2-4 information service is an innovative mobile solution for Batswana, which aims to address the challenges in accessing public information, especially in areas with low Internet connectivity.

“The service is a welcome development even for our sections. The system has been uploaded with key messages on selected health services such as information on diarrhoea management, nutrition advice, family planning, breast cancer, sanitation and hygiene,” she said.

She said that the service will complement the existing information dissemination platforms, especially that mobile coverage is high, adding that it would provide an opportunity for a majority of citizens to access information even where there is no Internet.

Makgato urged stakeholders to optimise the use of the service for the benefit of Batswana to access critical information using their mobile phones.



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