Money, god, and SMS: Explorations in supporting social action through a Bangladeshi mosque

Md Rashidujjaman Rifat, Jay Chen, Kentaro Toyama

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Religious institutions hold a significant place in daily life for the vast majority of people in the world, especially in developing countries. Yet despite their social prominence, and despite HCI's emphasis on the social context of technology, organized religion is neglected in both the HCI and ICTD literature. This paper explores the relationship that mosques in Bangladesh have with their constituencies and with technology, with an eye toward the integration of technology with existing religious institutions as a way to achieve positive social ends. We first describe a qualitative exploration of several mosque communities in Bangladesh, where we find that skepticism and pragmatism about modern technology interact in a complex way that nevertheless leaves room for technical interventions. We then describe a randomized controlled trial to study the relative value of SMS messages infused with overtly religious or secularly altruistic frames for the purpose of mosque fundraising. We find that SMS messages increase donations overall, but that their framing is significant. Messages with secular altruistic framing increased donations by 9.5%, while those with religious sentiment increased donations by 57.3%. Our findings demonstrate how technologies like SMS amplify underlying religious forces and suggest the possibility of working with religious institutions in applying positive ICT interventions. Copyright is held by the owner/author(s). Publication rights licensed to ACM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCHI 2017 - Proceedings of the 2017 ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Subtitle of host publicationExplore, Innovate, Inspire
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Pages5941-5953
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781450346559
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2 2017
Event2017 ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2017 - Denver, United States
Duration: May 6 2017May 11 2017

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings
Volume2017-May

Other

Other2017 ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2017
CountryUnited States
CityDenver
Period5/6/175/11/17

Keywords

  • Donation
  • ICT4D
  • Religion
  • SMS
  • Techno-spirituality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design

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