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Archive | Development

A Malawian perspective on FrontlineSMS

Josh Nesbit – a Senior in the Human Biology Program at Stanford University – spent the best part of this summer working in a rural hospital in Malawi, where he also implemented FrontlineSMS. Here, Alexander Ngalande, the Home-Based Care nurse at St. Gabriel’s Hospital in Namitete, talks about his experiences of the software, and how Read more

FrontlineSMS on the frontline

The October 7th, 2001 invasion of Afghanistan didn’t only mark the beginning of the “War on Terror“. It also paved way for the introduction of the first mobile phone networks into the country, networks which today find themselves pawns in a game of cat-and-mouse between the Taleban, the government, security forces, mobile operators and aid Read more

Zimbabweans speak out through SMS

International press interest may be on the wane following the heady heights of recent months, but the daily struggle continues for millions of people living in Zimbabwe. An inflation rate of over two million percent – usually a leading headline in itself – merely serves as a backdrop to the political manoeuvring taking place following Read more

The Social Mobile Long Tail 2.0

A few months ago I finally got round to diagramming what I thought mobile applications development in the not-for-profit space looked like. I came up with this, and called it “Social Mobile’s Long Tail“. It was based on the original Long Tail concept, first talked about by Chris Anderson in a Wired Magazine article, when Read more

From conception to replication

Tonight, a hundred and fifty farmers and their families who I have never met will be going to bed better off. Not only is this significant for the farmers, it’s also significant for me. Because without FrontlineSMS, which is being used to provide coffee prices to these smallholder farmers, this would not be happening. There’s Read more

When actions DO speak louder than words

Winston Churchill once famously remarked that it was “better to be making the news than taking it. To be an actor rather than a critic”. But there are times when this simplifies, and trivialises, the complementary roles that ‘actors’ and ‘critics’ can play. Half-a-century on, modern technology has empowered ‘critics’ in ways Churchill could never Read more

Considering Africa

During the summer, sandwiched between the end of my first Stanford Fellowship and a trip to Uganda with Grameen, I was asked by the Corporate Council on Africa to give an interview about my work. They were putting together a feature on “ICT innovators” for their Africa Journal, and wanted to talk about FrontlineSMS. I’m Read more

Bridging the knowledge divide

A common theme in my work, and in many of my conference talks, centres around a very simple message – appropriate technology. It’s nothing new, and as a concept has been around since the 1970′s with Fritz Schumacher’s defining book, “Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered”. During my recent interview with Nokia’s “New Read more

Citizen journalism or citizen empowerment?

It’s been a funny old week. After last weeks Mongabay.com interview, news broke on another subject – the use of my FrontlineSMS system in the monitoring of the Nigerian elections this coming weekend. NMEM, the Nigerian NGO who are running the project, will be using volunteer observers to text in any observations (good or bad) Read more

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