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Keeping up the heat on climate change

As part of this years International Day of Climate Action on October 24th, 350.org - with support from Tactical Technology Collective - are planning a new and innovative text messaging campaign designed to mobilise citizens around the world "Project MOBiLIZE" will use decentralised, country-specific FrontlineSMS servers to deliver targeted messaging blasts to 350.org supporters in over twenty countries. The project will also collect SMS reports after the October 24th main event and deliver them to world leaders via Twitter, web and projection at the UN Climate Talks due to take place in Copenhagen in December.

"Project MOBiLIZE"

This is how it works. To start things off, the 350.org central server sends out an SMS to each of the country nodes, taking into account timing, language and message. Cost is minimal - just 20 international messages, one per node. Once the message is received, the country nodes automatically blast it out to lists of in-country mobile numbers, sourced from 350.org and local partner organisations. Costs are approximately 5 cents per SMS. Cascading SMS this way reduces costs considerably, and allows better local control.

Country nodes can also collect new mobile numbers through the FrontlineSMS servers, using SMS keywords and by publicising country-specific phone numbers on the web and at events.

This is the first time FrontlineSMS has been used to 'cascade' messages to and from the local level through a chain of servers. It could also be a first for any grassroots global SMS campaign, and if it works could present an exciting new model for others to follow. Not only is the system cheaper to run but it presents the potential for considerably wider reach, and thanks to some neat work by Bobby - the brains behind it - the pre-configured software can be quickly adopted in any country.

If you are interested in taking part in this ground-breaking campaign, either as an in-country node or in any other capacity, post a comment here, check out Bobby's post on the FrontlineSMS Community pages

NEWS UPDATE

The 350.org website has a post about the project Tactical Tech also have a post here

ACCESS POINTS

New numbers are being added all the time. Here are the various local access points as at 12th October:

USA - 30644 Australia - 0411694094 Maldives - 9900350 Macedonia - 077594209 Philippines - 09088770350 Hong Kong - 85262757489 Panama - Coming Soon! New Zealand - 0226070672 Israel Coming - Soon! Malaysia - 0163050973 Cambodia - 081666120 Sweden - 0733185314 Germany - Coming Soon! India - Coming Soon! Lebanon - Coming Soon!

Chipping away at the SMS literacy barrier

With all the excitement surrounding Monday's launch of FrontlineForms, we almost forgot the other improvements we've made to the FrontlineSMS software. As well as support for IntelliSMS - another Clickatell-style online aggregator - we finally got round to adding Unicode support which, to the non-technical, means you can now send and receive messages in foreign scripts, i.e. non-Latin or non-Roman character sets. Projects in India and the Middle East have been asking for this, and it's exciting to see it finally delivered (thanks Alex!). FrontlineSMS Arabic

Although there are still very real literacy issues for SMS-based social mobile projects, at least allowing messages to be sent and received in the local language - assuming handset support is available - removes at least one more barrier. We're excited to see how much this ends up being used, and what further opportunities it opens up for FrontlineSMS users around the world.