In this paper, we describe our experiences working with local government in South Africa on a project aimed to increase citizen participation with their local municipality. In particular the project aimed to investigate if mobile phones could be used as a platform to support dialog between residents and their municipality on water service delivery. The paper provides a critical self-evaluation of the first seventeen months of the working relationship between Rhodes University and Makana Municipality. It identifies factors that were found to be critical to the progress, and act as impedances to the progress of m-government projects. It is hoped that the findings of this paper will be useful for other researchers who are involved in community development projects at local government level