WSIS Prizes Contest 2019 Nominee

mHealth Education at Scale - national scale-up of Kilkari and Mobile Academy


The project aimed to train one million frontline health workers and help nearly 10 million new and expecting mothers and their families, make healthier choices related to Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal and Child (RMNCH) health. The initial target was the Empowered Action Group (EAG) states (Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan, Uttaranchal and Uttar Pradesh) and Assam (i.e. 9 states) in three years. Kilkari and Mobile Academy are currently live in 13 states and five languages (Hindi, Odia, Assamese, Bengali and Bihari ). Kilkari has now on reached over 10 million subscribers and to date, 266,230 FLWS (ASHAs) have started the Mobile Academy course, 205,598 of which have successfully graduated.

To bolster the Government of India’s Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health (RMNCH) strategy, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), in partnership with BBC Media Action and an alliance of donors (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, USAID and Barr Foundation) scaled a package of two complimentary mHealth services to provide accessible RMNCH information to frontline health workers (FLWs) and new and expecting mothers and their families across India, by leveraging the vast potential of mobile phone technology.

These services were designed and developed by BBC Media Action in close collaboration with MoHFW and now comprise the largest mHealth progamme in the world. Leveraging MoHFW’s Maternal and Child Tracking System (now the Reproductive Child Health – RCH) database, the services are designed to reach every pregnant woman, young mother and ASHA registered with the public health system.

Project website


Action lines related to this project
  • AL C1. The role of governments and all stakeholders in the promotion of ICTs for development 2019
  • AL C2. Information and communication infrastructure
Sustainable development goals related to this project
  • Goal 1: No poverty
  • Goal 2: Zero hunger
  • Goal 3: Good health and well-being
  • Goal 4: Quality education

  • India



Start date


End date

Not set

Target beneficiary group(s)
  • Women
  • families, health workers


Our mHealth services – Kilkari and Mobile Academy – hold huge potential for replication in other contexts and countries and geographies, not least because of the centrality of the human centred design approach we applied at every step of the journey. In situations where interpersonal and behaviour-change communication and/or community mobilization is required, replication of our mHealth models could prove highly effective.
Indeed, the Indian government, recognizing that delivering high quality, standardized training at scale is time consuming and resource intensive, has already decided to replicate the success of Mobile Academy to train Swachhagrahis - a dedicated, properly incentivized sanitation work-force at the village level to trigger community-level behaviour change on key sanitation indicators.


As the current reach figures for Kilkari and Mobile Academy demonstrate, the services have already achieved an unprecedented level of scale and sustainability, providing distance learning for FLWs and delivering free reproductive, maternal, neonatal and child health education to millions of families across the Empowered Action Group states and Assam (where the need is greatest) and beyond.

Public sector partnerships, with state and national government have facilitated the interoperability of the project. Proven integration with the government's national databases that track and register most pregnancies and births in India has enabled the services to reach scale with almost no marketing investment. Partnering, firstly with state government and then with national government, from inception, to going live, to operations at scale, ensured government ownership from the start and enabled the services to be totally free of cost to subscribers.

When the government decided to adopt Kilkari and Mobile Academy, BBC Media Action’s donors committed to funding content development and technical and programmatic support for three years from launch. The government agreed to take full responsibility for both mHealth services after this period.

As part of an exit plan developed with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, BBC Media Action has delivered a comprehensive knowledge transfer program to the government and its partners. Responsibility for programmatic support and content updates has already been handed over and with it, financial support from USAID and the Barr Foundation has come to an end. On the 31st March 2019, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's funding will come to an end, and BBC Media Action will complete its planned exit from the program.

WSIS values promotion

The proven success of this multi-stakeholder mHealth intervention, detailed above, shows clearly how ICTs – in this case IVR technology and the simple mobile phone – have been used to promote and indeed, help realise, the SDG to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all. Kilkari and Mobile Academy represent a fruitful collaboration between government, BBC Media Action, the private sector and other stakeholders in the effort to improve RMNCH outcomes in the EAG states and beyond. This collaboration represents the highly successful leverage of the massive penetration of mobile phones to reach some of the most marginalized, hardest to reach communities in India. The Kilkari and Mobile Academy package has helped promote healthier RMNCH practices for women and families across India, by increasing their knowledge, confidence and self-efficacy. By doing so, this project also indirectly promotes the goal of poverty reduction, improved nutrition and, in the case of Mobile Academy, life-long learning.

Entity name

BBC Media Action (India)

Entity country—type

India International Organization

Entity website


The national versions of Kilkari and Mobile Academy were designed and developed by a public-private consortium of partners.