General

  • Is RapidPro a UNICEF-specific initiative?
    No. UNICEF has invested to make RapidPro a public technological good and has been engaged with ensuring that development partners and governments also look into investing in this open source, common software.
  • Can only UNICEF use RapidPro?
    No. Anyone who is interested in RapidPro can use it. RapidPro is free and open-source software and is available to the public. Non-UNICEF organizations can either host the software themselves – the free and open source software can be found here – or subscribe to a commercial services like TextIt that runs on RapidPro.
  • How can I get a demo account? 
    Non-UNICEF organizations can register for a free trial on TextIt to play with most features that the product offers. You then can find a commercial hosting service provider of RapidPro or set it up yourself using the free software here: https://rapidpro.github.io/rapidpro.
  • Do I need a new RapidPro instance for each project or can I manage all the projects in one?
    It is possible to share one RapidPro instance across many projects. Separate flows, contact groups, and data can be defined for each project. However, for large scale projects we recommend a designated RapidPro workspace for a more operationally manageable experience.

Using RapidPro

Note: an extensive user manual for RapidPro is available and can be found at TextIt Help Center

  • Which languages are supported by RapidPro?
    Currently, RapidPro’s interface is in English, Spanish, French and Brazilian Portuguese. In terms of messages sent and received, RapidPro is Unicode compliant; any language can be used as long as someone can write messages in that language.
  • Is RapidPro workspace easily managed?
    RapidPro has an administrative dashboard with different access rights (administrator, editor and viewer) that allows user to create flows and campaigns, define contact groups, and view and extract captured data, among other things.
  • Is the backend of the system easily accessible and manipulate?
    The code for RapidPro is open source (AGPL) and can be accessed by anyone here. The AGPL license states that you can use the RapidPro source for any project free of charge, but that any changes you make to the source code must be available to others. Enhancements and issues are tracked here.
  • Does RapidPro have a mapping functionality?
    Yes. RapidPro has a mapping feature which uses shape files. RapidPro uses OpenStreetMap – an open source mapping tool – to obtain the shapefiles.

Connectivity

  • What kind of channels can be used for RapidPro?
    Besides the free RapidPro app for Android, you can connect your RapidPro workspace directly to mobile networks or SMS aggregators, messenger applications (such as Viber, WhatsApp, Telegaram, etc.), cloud communication services (Twilio, Clickatell, Nexmo, etc.), or social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
  • What is an SMS aggregator?
    An aggregator is a private company that connects multiple Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) by managing how SMS from all different MNOs come into the system and how the SMS goes back out. Most countries have an aggregator, and identifying an aggregator is an important beginning step.
  • Why do I need to connect to a mobile network?
    Interacting with mobile network operators (MNOs) is a critical component of deploying RapidPro as the system relies for the most part on SMS.
  • Is there any limit on the amount of data that can be sent through RapidPro?
    No, there isn’t. But as mentioned above, the more data pushed through RapidPro the more hosting capacity is required.
  • When will it be possible to collect detailed information offline on RapidPro, for instance through a mobile app?
    Now that RapidPro is a free and open-source software, activities to bridge links between RapidPro and mobile data collection apps (like ODK) are taking place. Follow activities on https://rapidpro.github.io/rapidpro for new developments!

Data security and protection

  • How is the RapidPro data protected?
    User information will never be publicly available, and the option exists to hide contact information on RapidPro. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as true data protection, even when data is locally stored and hosted in a country.
    We recommend the cloud hosting option has this is the most cost effective, reliable, and secure option.
  • How does RapidPro ensure that applications abide by local data privacy laws?
    RapidPro is designed to be interoperable with external systems and deployed in any hosted environment. This allows governments and organizations to either deploy RapidPro locally so that data is kept internal or integrating RapidPro with a preferred system for storing information.
  • Is it possible to anonymize the phone number of users on RapidPro?
    Yes. It is possible to hide the phone numbers of all users from everyone - including those with administrator access to RapidPro. This is, though, an irreversible feature. Thus, once the feature is turned on, there is no way to turn it off.