The Daily Maverick: FrontlineSMS: Mass communication where the Internet ends

Called FrontlineSMS all the system needs to operate as an effective communicator is a computer, a mobile phone and the text message-based software. The boon of this system is that it works where the Internet cannot reach and is a major benefit to marginalised NGOs and other rural organisations. “At St Gabriel the software is used to coordinate community healthcare workers running over a huge area to check if people are going to be available, when they are due to take their medication, and to mobilise communities when the mobile clinic is on its way,” says Ken Banks of Kiwanja who invented FrontlineSMS. Hailing from the UK’s Channel Islands, Banks was firmly entrenched in a financial and technology career, which by his own admission was rather boring, when in 1993 he joined a developmental mission to build a school in Zambia. The experience was life changing and a couple of years later he was back in Africa, this time in Uganda to build a hospital. By the time he returned to the UK, he had decided to study social anthropology and to find a way to use his tech skills to benefit the developmental sector.

Read more on the Daily Maverick Website.