Dial 190 in Afghanistan

That’s the free number that Afghans can call for information about their upcoming elections.  Set up by the UN team in the country, the number has become one of the most popular in Afghanistan:

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said today that some 25,000 Afghans call the Independent Election Commission (IEC) every week to get information on the 20 August presidential and provincial council elections.

Providing details on voter registration, polling place, and the election date, the hotline is one of those small, subtle ways that technology can further the UN’s — and Afghans’ — goals.  The fact that operators sometimes receive threats from callers claiming to be part of the Taliban may make their job more dangerous, but it also underscores how important this service is to the growth of Afghan democracy.

(image from flickr user rybolov under a Creative Commons license)