Before users are able to send messages to the group and receive messages from other users, they must join an identified "community". This is done by sending a simple SMS text message that follows a certain formula to the "magic number". The message must start with "123" so that the system identifies the message as a system command (ie the sender wants to join or leave the system, or register their name). The "123" is followed by a space and the then word "join" and finally, the name of the community the user would like to join. They are now ready to send and receive messages within the community they identfied. Above, Fatou has just joined the group "tostan".
"Join" can be written in a range of languages including Wolof, Pulaar, Diola, English, and French. Following this initial command, the system will remember this initial language preference and send system messages in that local language (note- content messages sent by other users will remain as they are written, but system communications such as message confirmation/failure, name registration etc. will all be in local language).