Data Protection

Africa’s Voices takes data protection and privacy seriously and works to comply with the UK Data Protection Act 1998.

We hope our answers below answer questions you may have.

If not, get in touch:

Question 1:What is Africa’s Voices Foundation (AVF)?

Africa’s Voices is an organisation based in Nairobi and a UK registered charity. We use interactive radio (radio programming and SMS communication) to create inclusive and trusted spaces of public discussion that can drive social change. To do this, AVF combines media engagement, social science research, and technology. In 2020, we received over 420,000 messages from citizens in Kenya and Somalia who shared their views on a range of topics raised in interactive radio shows. The messages are sent by citizens to a free shortcode provided by AVF and advertised in the shows alongside a question. Since 2020 we are also able to anonymously analyse comments shared on our Facebook posts. 

AVF analyses all the messages of participants who choose to participate so that people’s views can be meaningfully taken into account. This helps to create programming that is informed by citizens’ views across a range of issues, such as health, governance and the environment. It also enables feedback and accountability from citizens to decision-makers, partners and donors. 

Question 2:How do participants benefit from interacting with AVF?

Africa’s Voices wants to ensure that important decisions made by governments, civil society organisations, the aid sector and the private sector take into account the views of citizens. We can do this by analysing the opinions of participants so that we can meaningfully turn these thousands of opinions into actionable insights. In addition to sharing these insights with key stakeholders like government or civil society organisations, we also share these back to participants by incorporating them in the radio shows and also directly via SMS. This helps to ensure that radio shows and other discussions in the media are relevant to citizens and also that we are transparent and accountable to those who share their views. 

Question 3:I sent a text message in response to a radio show and received more questions via SMS. Why are you asking me more questions?

For AVF to make sense of listeners’ views about a question or topic, it is important to understand how these opinions vary across different groups based on demographic differences. We often ask about location (ie. county or region), gender and age. We may also ask about displacement status and disabilities. In addition, we may ask follow up questions via SMS to better understand some of the issues and citizens’ opinions. This helps us analyse the different prevalence of opinions and attitudes across different population groups and offer recommendations tailored to different needs. Please note that we do not ask for personal data such as names or identification numbers/documents. 

Question 4:How are you using participants' data?

AVF only analyses a message if the participant has proactively sent us an SMS after hearing about us in a radio show or advert, received our informed consent via SMS, and if the participant has not opted out after receiving this informed consent. We anonymise the data before analysis. Our systems automatically de-identify messages by replacing phone numbers with a unique ID. We only conduct analysis after the consent process and on anonymised datasets. Access to these datasets is limited to authorised employees of AVF only. We transfer and store the anonymised datasets securely, and password-protected to ensure only authorised access. Our analysis is published and reported as statistical aggregates and anonymised quotes, meaning we do not share any phone numbers or any messages or portions of messages that contain identifiable information. Data is not kept for longer than is necessary for the purposes of the consultation and destroyed after this time, unless you have given explicit opt-in consent to keep it for longer if we requested it. 

Our Data Protection policy is guided by the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulations (2018) and the Kenya Data Protection Bill (2019). We have also endorsed the Principles for Digital Development.

Question 5:You anonymise your datasets, but you must have participants' phone numbers somewhere?

We have to keep phone numbers safely stored and with password-protected access for the duration of the project so that we can communicate back to participants. Participants might have sent us a question that we can help to answer or we might have new important information about the topic that they might value. However, we never share any number, or any other personal data, with any third parties. We strictly keep phone numbers for the purpose of communicating back with participants as long as we have their consent to do so.  

The numbers are kept with restricted access in our secure and encrypted cloud storage and only authorised staff have access to it. 

In addition, we work with other organisations to be able to process SMS bulk messaging through a shortcode. These sub-processors are included in the table below.


Why are they involved

Contact and further information

TextIt (Nyaruka)

This is a service we use to be able to design SMS communication flows and send bulk messages.

Africa’s Talking

This service connects our systems to the mobile networks in Kenya. Your data is processed by Africa’s Talking if you text us on Safaricom or Airtel in Kenya.


This service connects our systems to the mobile networks in Somalia. Your data is processed by Shaqodoon if you text us on Hormuud, Golis, Somtel, Somnet, or Telesom in Somalia.

Google Cloud

We use Google Cloud to support the data storage and computing that AVF needs to analyse your messages. All data is encrypted, and Google cannot read your data. 


KatiKati is a capability born out of Africa’s Voices to enable 1-1 SMS communication. It is being set up as an independent company. It provides the platform and technology to connect to AVF’s database of participants for a given project and enable tailored 1-1 SMS communication.

Question 6:I am a participant who has engaged with AVF. What are my rights in relation to the data you hold from me?

As established by the EU GDPR participants have the following rights. Please contact us at if you require more information or would like to discuss any of the following:

  1. The right to be informed about how the data is used. We provide the information in the radio shows, via SMS and in this FAQ but if you would like more information please contact us.
  2. The right to access the data we have from you. Please contact us if you would like to see the data we hold about you.
  3. The right to rectification. You can ask us to rectify any of the data we hold from you so that it is accurate.
  4. The right of erasure. You can request us to erase any of the data that we hold from you.
  5. The right to restrict processing. You have a right to tell us to restrict the information we hold from you.
  6. The right to data portability. You can ask us to share with you a copy of the data we hold.
  7. The right to object. You have a right to object to us processing your data. If you did not opt-out when you engaged, opted in by mistake, or have changed your mind, please get in touch so we can ensure we don’t contact you again and erase your data.
  8. You have a right to object to the data processor making an automated decision about you based on the data we hold for you. However, AVF does not use artificial intelligence to predict behaviours, automate decisions about participants or profile participants individually. 

Question 7:I have more questions or need to talk to AVF about the data. Who can I contact?

Please contact us at Africa’s Voices [info@africasvoices.orgif you have any questions or need further information.