We provide people with access to information, thereby impacting society in a variety of aspects, but our primary focus is on citizen engagement. As a result, our measures of success are based on how much our readers value @Verdade, and the extent to which it changes their behavior to become active citizens. @Verdade has played an important role so far in encouraging a culture of reading and desire for more. We have seen that information access really does empower people. It seems that as a potential instrument for change, the truth is priceless.
WHAT THE READERS SAY (AND DO)
Many of our readers collect copies and some have saved every issue — over three years of newspapers. Others collect the inserts, including informative books printed in series or posters. During our weekly distribution, it is common to see readers rushing to grab the newspaper, running after the delivery vehicles with outstretched arms, and pleading with us to bring more papers.
Click here to watch the time elapse video below of 6 AM to 7 AM on a typical Friday morning.
We also receive reader SMS requests for the newspaper on an ongoing basis. Here is a sample of actual SMS requests from our readers for more newspapers (translated to English by Janet Gunter, Global Voices).
October 26, 2011 6:34am: “Good evening.My namz beatriz I’m14,live in magoanine neighborhood commonly known as ene.I like reading verdade newspaper,but we havent seen the paper here 4 months. X”
August 21, 2011 12:23pm: I want to get your newspaper every week. I ask that you send all the requirements for this. NHAMUSSUA-BAGAMOYO. Maputo
July 15, 2011 8:21pm: Hello good evening. First greetings to the whole team that works to produce this paper like none other. It sparked in me a love of reading. I love reading the dramatic narratives that only you know how to write. I would like to read from the first edition to the present. I would like to know how I can get them all. Hug! Krise T-3
May 6, 2011 7:49am Hi Verdade, my companion every Friday i am missing you so much, why are you staying so far away, what is wrong? Ruth admirer of the newspaper
January 21, 2011 09:29 Good morning verdade newspaper haz 2 b said the guy who distributes to us on guerra popular [avenue] always delivers to the minibus drivers then leaves and we are left without access to the news verdade shld distribute one paper to everybody
September 11, 2010 9:17am I’m asking for a verdade to announced the redistributors of the paper in the provinces bc when we are on holiday we are weaned off of it, LINO ZV
May 21, 2010 8:53pm Good night I would like to suggest that khongolote situated in the city of Matola also needs this means of communication/newspaper
April 24, 2010 4:20pm Hi, I’d love to have access to a copy of the newspaper every week. What to do? I am in Matola 700 and it hasnt been easy for me to get the paper. x Cléo
April 5, 2010 We of matola train station are requesting the paper.
March 30, 2010 Hi, I’d like to know why the verdade newspaper doesn’t reach adpp machava?
March 16, 2010 11:41am We request that the distributors send us the paper again, we havent received it since december last year.NATIONAL MUSEUM OF ART.Raimundo
February 17, 2010 2:04pm Please we are asking for the distribution of the newspaper A Verdade to start up again. Tchaca.
WHAT THE NUMBERS SAY
Judging by the numbers, we have impressive reader engagement so far. We are also the only news agency in Mozambique to be listed as a Google News source.
Our Facebook followers are active in consuming and providing feedback on the news, demonstrated by the fact that we can count roughly one comment for every two fans on our Facebook page. Engagement on the Mural do Povo (“People’s Wall”) is also active. Since its inception in January 2012, there have been an average of approximately eight posts per week.
Our percentage of website visitors by country are:
- 50% Mozambique
- 15% Portugal
- 12% Brazil
- 23% Other
15% of our website visits come from mobile devices from non-Portuguese speaking countries, with the highest number of visits from the UK, USA, South Africa and Germany.
We have 25,000 articles available on our website. So far, we have received 5,000 comments on 2,000 different articles by 3,500 different people. In addition, we have also received 6,500 comments by SMS from 3,800 different phone numbers, typically related to the print articles.
WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY
So what do the experts say about our results? Paul Collier, Oxford University professor and author of The Bottom Billion, is one expert who has helped measure the impact of @Verdade. Researchers Jenny Aker, Paul Collier, and Pedro Vicente of the International Growth Centre conducted a study on mobile phones and civic education. During this time @Verdade distributed newspapers to 40 sites in the lead-up to the 2009 presidential election, some in the center and north of the country where the print version had never reached before. Using random evaluation techniques, researchers found that @Verdade’s civic education message was “particularly effective in increasing voter turnout, particularly among women.” After Election Day, @Verdade encouraged potential voters to text SMS “open letters” to the new President proposing issues to work on during his second term, further deepening citizen engagement. 18% of readers spent their own money to send these SMS, which indicated to researchers significant engagement. The study found distribution of @Verdade had increased voter turnout by almost 10%, and that those who received the paper had a 10% higher probability of sending an SMS addressed to the President. Collier believes that reading @Verdade’s stories about issues affecting their lives and about a world beyond their own encouraged people to ask questions of their government. “People were seizing this opportunity to have a voice,” he says. “They were looking to the authorities … to deliver some prosperity.”
Download a full document with historical context, demonstrating how the @Verdade model is promoting democratic rule through transparency, openness and accountability in Mozambique.