Frontline Powered by APIs

Frontline Powered by APIs

Here at Frontline, we recognize that each user has specific needs, operating on a wide variety of platforms. That’s why, over the last decade, we’ve tried to makeFrontline as configurable as possible to meet these needs, wherever you are. With our new APIs, you can push messages and information in and out of FrontlineCloud – letting you keep data where it’s most useful to you. To get things started, we’ve preconfigured an integration into one of our favourite digital campaigning and management platforms, Nationbuilder. You can use Nationbuilder and Frontline together to RSVP to events and to update contact records inside your nation.

Understanding Mobile Access From an Ecosystem Perspective

Understanding Mobile Access From an Ecosystem Perspective

The expansion of mobile access has been a common refrain in international development for years now. It plays an important role in supporting human development, from economic and educational opportunities to political freedoms and human rights. Increased access to mobiles has been linked to positive social outcomes in dozens of countries.

Planning and assessment of mobile phone use: effective SMS in Cambodia from World Vision UK

Assessing whether to use SMS is even more important than figuring out how to do it, as Joshua Pepall, World Vision’s United Kingdom Senior Accountability Advisor in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, reports in a special guest blog post. Improved accountability to communities and value for money are hot topics for World Vision and for the UK Department for International Development (DFID), which funds the accountability for development pilot that l support in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Accountability and quality assurance guidelines like the Humanitarian Accountability Project (HAP) and INGO (International NGO) Accountability Charters highlight the need for agencies to effectively provide accurate and timely information to communities on project plans and activities. Doing this is not always easy.

World Vision development projects work through area development programmes (ADPs).  ADP Catchment areas can be made up of dozens of villages, hundreds of households and thousands of people. A real challenge for World Vision staff is how to effectively communicate programme information to community members quickly, cheaply and effectively. Organising a meeting can take days and may not the best use of people’s time, or represent good value for money. Using SMS to provide basic information on project activities and to coordinate community engagement events seemed like one solution.

Mobile phone usage in Cambodia is remarkably high - everyone seems to have a phone. Judging by the number of people that own two or three, owning multiple phones is somewhat of a status symbol as well. Phones are relatively affordable here - a Chinese 3G phone can cost as little as $60 while a basic Nokia is as little as $18. Some estimates put the number of mobile phones registered in Cambodia at 13 million (BubbleCom, 2012). Nine mobile phone operators have invested heavily in mobile phone infrastructure and there is almost total coverage across the country.

It’s easy to get excited by new technology like FrontlineSMS, and start using it before listening to the people who will receive the information and give them the opportunity to decide if SMS is their preferred communications channel.

Effective information provision to communities of project information requires careful planning - you need to identify who your community audience is, and target your approach to that audience. Luckily, we had the flexibility and time to do this.

Our national and World Vision UK teams developed a simple community assessment questionnaire designed to learn more about  community mobile phone usage, the cost of SMS and cell cards, phone ownership and the kind of information people wanted from World Vision.

We learnt a lot. Some of our assumptions were also challenged. Age did not seem to be the  big obstacle to mobile phone use as we had anticipated and even the poorest village community members had phones and used SMS. People also wanted to use SMS to report issues of domestic violence in the communities to World Vision staff. Potentially, Frontline SMS might be able to be used for a variety of applications and not only to send information.

Rather than compile a big report about the assessment we set ourselves the challenge of communicating the results in one page - the  infographic on the left.

So what next? We’re still SMS novices and learning as we go. We will be trialling the use of  Frontline SMS in one village to send SMS to households on the date and time of community meetings and project information. By starting small we hope to learn what works and does not. By getting some wins under our belt we hope to then roll it out to other ADPs.

The Toronto Star: "How the Developing World is Using Cellphone Technology to Change Lives"

FrontlineSMS has recently been featured in an article in the Toronto Star, which provides an overview of information and communication tools being used for development (ICT4D). You can find an extract of this article below, and the full version is available online here.

In Nigeria, a young girl can ask questions about sex discretely through SMS and get accurate information. After the earthquake in Haiti, survivors in remote towns could receive money for food straight to their cellphone. In Senegal, election monitors sent updates on polling stations through their mobile phones, revising an online map in real time with details about late openings or worse. Projects like Learning about Living in Nigeria, MercyCorps in Haiti and Senevote2012 in Senegal are just a few examples of how the rapid spread of mobile technology has changed life in the global south.

Many places are jumping straight from paper records to mobile information because they are getting cellphone towers before Internet connections or even traditional phone lines. This means that for the first time it’s possible for a doctor in Guatemala City to monitor a newborn baby in a rural part of the country...

In 2001, just eight out of 100 people in the developing world had a mobile phone subscription. Now, nearly 80 out of 100 do...


This software allows anyone to set up their own communications hub to send mass messages, manage automated SMS systems and collect data from the field. FrontlineSMS allows users to connect their mobile phone to a computer, transforming communication into something more powerful and manageable.

“If you go to the developing world and you look at how cellphones are being used you can really see that people are already doing this kind of organizational management, communicating with stakeholders, communicating with people they’re working with and for,” said spokesperson Laura Hudson.

The system enables easier management of SMS messages and also allows users to set up mailing lists, collect data and code automated reply systems. Traditional procedures involved checking in over the phone with remotely dispersed members of, for example, an aid team.

“Instead of that they can send an SMS. It’s cheaper for them, it saves time and the data can go straight into their report,” said Hudson.

FrontlineSMS was used to coordinate aid response after the 2011 floods in Pakistan and to manage reconstruction in Haiti. It has also been used to remind HIV patients of best practices and nutritional information.

Many other valuable technologies are featured in the full article from Toronto Star.

Ericsson Business Review: "Lessons on Learning"

FrontlineSMS Founder Ken Banks was interviewed by The Ericsson Business Review last year, and this interview has now been made available online. The interview focuses on how we often define innovation too narrowly, and why “development issues such as education require us to start with the problem, not the technology”.  A summary is available on the Ericsson “Networked Society Blog” here, and the full interview is available in pdf format here. You can find an extract of the interview below:

What role can mobile technology play in development?

Mobile networks open up the possibility of reaching communities that would otherwise miss out on any meaningful connection with the rest of the world, and allow them to engage, make themselves heard and to be empowered by information.

You have been involved in many fruitful mobile-centered development initiatives. What separates the successful projects from the unsuccessful ones?

The single most important thing is starting with the problem and not the technology. It is quite common for people to grab the latest smartphone or iPad or whatever happens to be hot at the moment and try to figure out how it could be used in a development context. This approach can work, but most of the time it is destined to fail. If you go in with technology as your main objective, you will end up shoehorning it into contexts where it will not always work. The solution to a development question could be pencils or paper – it does not necessarily need to have anything to do with ict. I think that the correct sequence should instead be problem-people-technology. By “people” I mean the individuals at the grassroots who usually understand the problem better than anybody else.

To read the full interview, please click here.

Back to the future: 17 things you might not know about FrontlineSMS

In late October 2005, an early beta - "proof-of-concept" - version of FrontlineSMS was released to the world. It took just ten months for the idea to shape itself into the early stages of what you see today. In this, the second and last of our sixth birthday celebration posts (you can read the first here), we dig deep into our email archives and reveal some of the more interesting early - and perhaps surprising - moments of the project. The idea for FrontlineSMS was conceived in early 2005 with the help of several field trips to South Africa and Mozambique, a bottle of beer and "Match of the Day". All is revealed in this fun, short National Geographic video:

The very first email which specifically references FrontlineSMS was sent on 6th March, 2005 at 0853 to register the domain name.

Prior to that the working title was "Project SMS". The first email to reference "Project SMS" was sent on Wednesday 26th January, 2005 at 12:02. In it, the entire concept was described in just 963 words with an initial estimated budget of just £2,000 ($3,000).

Factoring in equipment and other costs, personal gifts totaling £10,000 were secured on 16th March, 2005 from two former Vodafone directors.

"The potential for FrontlineSMS is very exciting, and I am very much looking forward to working on the project. The potential impact for conservation and development is considerable." - Email to one of the supporters, 3rd May, 2005.

Preparation for the project officially got underway with the purchase of equipment totaling £1,476.09 on 22nd May, 2005:

One month later the timeline for the project was laid out. FrontlineSMS was delivered bang on schedule. From an email on 22nd June, 2005:

"I will begin working on the specification over the next couple of weeks, and will then get stuck into the initial programming phase during August. I have allocated that whole month to FrontlineSMS. As per the original timeline, July will be preparation, and August to September development time, so by October we should have something to trial."

News of FrontlineSMS was first revealed to the media in an interview with the Charity Times in August, 2005. Software development was briefly paused on 26th August so that the first FrontlineSMS website could be hastily put together ahead of the article's release.

"I have very high hopes that FrontlineSMS is really going to open the door to SMS technology to the wider NGO community" - Email to World Wildlife Fund, who were interested in trailing the software. 2nd September, 2005.

On 29th September, 2005 FrontlineSMS was presented for the first time at an internal event at Fauna & Flora International in Cambridge, UK:

On 5th October, 2005, to celebrate its imminent launch, FrontlineSMS buys up 200 pixels on the Million Dollar Homepage, a site which has since gone down in Internet folklore. (Read more on this here).

Email, 6th October, 2005: "Google now gives us around 80 results when searching for FrontlineSMS". Today the number is well over 100,000.

Email to supporters, 31st October, 2005: "The FrontlineSMS texting system is now ready for trial". These nine words signaled our official launch exactly six years ago today.

Email dated 14th November, 2005 from the MacArthur Foundation: "The MacArthur Foundation's Technology Grants Committee is always looking for innovative applications of technology for the NGO sector. I'd love to have a chat with you about your application if you have the time". Two years later MacArthur would become the first donor to make an investment in FrontlineSMS with a $200,000 grant. This funded a major rewrite and a new website.

14th November, 2005: 160 Characters are the first mobile-focused news site to announce the release of FrontlineSMS.

15th November, 2005: We receive an email enquiry from Kubatana, a Zimbabwean civil society organisation. Days later FrontlineSMS had its first official implementation. Kubatana still use FrontlineSMS today.

Today, with fifteen staff over three continents, users in over 70 countries across 20 different non-profit sectors, and approaching 20,000 downloads, the rest - as they say - is history...

Mobile technology: Developing Africa?

By Kike Oyenuga, FrontlineSMS Project Assistant

The ICT4D community has often turned its head towards the potential role of mobile in African development.  But a challenge posed by the Royal African Society at an event at London’s School of African and Oriental Studies last week was: “Are the claims that mobiles are aiding development as clear as they seem?”

FrontlineSMS Founder, Ken Banks, participated in the debate titled, “Mobile technology: Developing Africa?” which set out to offer fresh perspectives to this increasingly analyzed sector. Ken was joined on a panel by Marieme Jamme, CEO of SpotOne Solutions and co-founder of Africa Gathering and Nick Short, a lecturer at the Royal Veterinary College who is working in mobile disease surveillance in East Africa.

The panel discussed the ways in which mobile technology is helping both to improve the flow of information both within development organizations and also providing increased access to information in Africa more generally. The discussion covered a range of topics; the role of innovation, the many potential uses of mobile for development, and the role of corporate responsibility of mobile phone operators and manufacturers.

The presenters gave accounts from their personal experiences working with mobile technology in their respective fields, and explained why it is such a valuable tool with broad application potential. Also discussed were the challenges of applying mobile technology effectively in rural or remote settings and the importance of scaling down technology to fit the capacity of the people using it the most.

Drawing on his experience of combining his role as a veterinarian with technology, Nick Short spoke of using mobile mapping and geo-spatial tools in his work in documenting and tracking livestock diseases and possible epidemics and said that the technology could be used in many types of crisis mapping. He gave the current East Africa food security issue and real-time aid donation as prime examples.

Adding to a point emphasized in Marieme’s presentation - on the importance of mobile technology to maintain connectivity to vulnerable communities - Ken then focused  on the macro view of how mobile technology can transform engagement of development and aid work. He noted the challenge that people with various skill sets are often located far from the people they are helping, and it is by connecting these groups that stakeholders can benefit from each other.

Technology allows more people to be involved in the process of development, by strengthening capacity and simultaneously allowing those that benefit to have agency in how technology is applied in their respective communities. Citing multiple examples of this, Ken elaborated on the use of FrontlineSMS technology in the poll monitoring process by Nigerians during the recent presidential elections, as an example where people were empowered to conduct election monitoring on their own terms.

Questions for the panel underscored the continued debates around mobile’s role in African development.  One audience member questioned whether mobile phone companies were being socially responsible enough in giving back to the communities that they profit from. This was underlined by her assertion that companies provide a vital service to people in developing nations yet set the cost of phone credit at a price prohibitive to most. This audience member also wondered at the irony of it costing less to call Africa from the UK than someone in Africa calling her. Ken’s response was that we needed to a look at the broader picture. He highlighted the fact that much of the mobile infrastructure that we see across Africa today was built by private sector investment, and that if rolling out telecommunications across the continent had been an international aid project we’d likely not be anywhere near where we are today.

An overarching message embodied by the discussion was that the development community musn’t be mesmerized by technology, rather it should focus on the context in which it will be used and allow for appropriate solutions to evolve while bearing that in mind.

English in Action: Mobile Learning in Bangladesh

This post is the latest in the FrontlineSMS Mobile Message series with National Geographic. To read a summary of the Mobile Message series click here.

In her role as the Content Producer for the SOCAP conference series, Amy Benziger has the opportunity to interview innovators from around the world on how they are changing the landscape of social enterprise.

For this installment of Mobile Message, she interviews Sara Chamberlain, project director for BBC Janala, an initiative based in Bangladesh that incorporates on-screen English tutoring through a television drama and a game show combined with English lessons via the mobile phone that build on the content in the programs.

Mobile Message is a series of blog posts about how mobile phones are being used throughout the world to improve, enrich, and empower billions of lives.

By Amy Benziger

Most people know of the BBC as a source of reputable news from around the globe. Most don’t know about the action arm called the BBC World Service Trust, which uses the “creative power of media to reduce poverty and promote human rights.” I was first introduced to and amazed by the BBC World Service Trust through The 2010 Tech Awards where BBC Janala was honored as one of the winners of the Microsoft Education Awards.

BBC Janala educational fair in Chittagong, Bangladesh. Copyright BBC World Service Trust. (Used with permission).Janala is part of the English in Action campaign, which launched in November 2009. The initiative based in Bangladesh incorporates on-screen English tutoring through a television drama and a game show combined with English lessons via the mobile phone that build on the content in the programs. Janala’s three-minute mobile English lessons are equivalent to the cost of a cup of tea and accessible to those living on less than two dollars a day.

In my role as the Content Producer for the SOCAP conference series, I have the opportunity to interview innovators from around the world on how they are changing the landscape of social enterprise. I spoke to Sara Chamberlain, project director for BBC Janala, to learn more.

How did the BBC Janala program come about?

The Bangladeshi government was concerned about falling behind their neighbors, specifically India, because of a lack of English. The BBC World Service Trust was commissioned along with two other organizations to implement the “English in Action” program with a mandate to teach 25 million people English. I flew over to Bangladesh in 2007 to start the initial research.

The Janala program specifically targets adult education outside of the classroom. The goal is mass media saturation. We link the new lessons on the television show to written quizzes in the largest Bangladeshi newspaper to audio mobile lessons three times per week. Visual, writing, auditory learning create a fantastic package so that whether you are picking up a newspaper, turning on the TV or using your phone, there is engaging content available.

Mohammad Noor-e-Alam Siddiqui – 26 years old/Ghoshnogora, Tangail:

Siddiqui‘s father used to be a primary school teacher and always aspired for his son to be well-educated. However, due to financial constraints, Mohammad wasn’t able to pursue higher education. “Since my father always encouraged me to become highly educated, I still regret that I couldn’t achieve the optimum level although I had strong desire to. As a result I still consider myself as a learner and try to educate myself utilizing every opportunity I get.” Siddiqui has been using BBC Janala 3 times a week. He added, “In addition to ‘Essential English,’ I like the lesson of ‘How to Tell a Story.’ I can actually relate the stories to my real life and later tell my own stories in similar way.”

Why make English lessons available via mobile phone?

What is quite historic about BBC Janala is that we negotiated contracts with all 6 mobile operators in the country, so the service can be utilized on any handset, at any location and at any time. It opens up access that didn’t exist before for millions of people because once they left primary or secondary school, they’ve had no educational opportunities available.

BBC Janala educational fair in Chittagong, Bangladesh. Copyright BBC World Service Trust. (Used with permission).

There are English courses available from private tutors, but they are prohibitively expensive. On average each course costs 1500-6000 taka which is roughly $20-$80. Our service is 1.5 taka per lesson. The total cost of our course is 240 taka, which is under 5 dollars. It’s much more affordable and the quality is high. Having that flexibility to provide access to education at a very low cost is groundbreaking.

How do you measure success?

We have reached 4 million people in last 15 months via the mobile phone. You have to remember; we are targeting people who only very recently got access to mobile phones. Only 8-9% had received or sent SMS texts, so the quick uptake is amazing.

We are now a third of the way through the program, and we’ve started doing surveys of 8000 people in 4 out of 7 districts in Bangladesh. We are running a mobile specific panel giving participants oral tests every six weeks. We’ve been really pleased by their ability to reproduce the language and have conversations. They are scoring at 70% so there’s no doubt that the mobile service is teaching English.

Shafiqul Islam – 30 yrs old/Living in Mirpur:

“When I was in school English seemed very difficult to me and the village schools did not have teachers who were experts in English. They would just teach for the sake of teaching. Then BBC Janala came along and I saw the advertisements in TV. That’s when I started dialing 3000 and now I am a regular user. My willingness to learn English has led me to BBC Janala…English is always necessary; it doesn’t depend on past or future. We always need it. Now is the Internet time and in the future, the Internet will be used even more widely. If I want to pursue a teaching profession, I would want to use the Internet to collect all the latest information relevant to this field and to help my students. How will I do that if I don’t know English?”

BBC Janala educational fair in Chittagong, Bangladesh. Copyright BBC World Service Trust. (Used with permission).

How do you see mobile phones changing the learning landscape the developing world?

Many Bangladeshis have had a negative experience with education. Although the government is working towards the Millennium Development Goals of getting kids into the classroom, the challenge is that the quality is poor so they are dropping out as quickly as they’re going in. There is a very authoritarian approach to education so the fact that they can learn in private on a device that’s always with them when they’re waiting for a bus, walking home or for the few minutes at the end of the day is revolutionary.

Amy Benziger is the Producer focusing on content development for the SOCAP conference series. She is responsible for researching the social enterprise landscape, tracking trends and identifying thought-leaders to present at the annual event. For three years, SOCAP has brought thousands of individuals from over 40 countries to San Francisco to explore innovation in impact investing, venture philanthropy, design thinking, mobile technology, international development, public-private partnerships and food systems. Amy is a founding team member and strategic advisor to the Hub Bay Area, an incubator for social entrepreneurs dedicated to building solutions for social, economic and environmental sustainability as part of a global Hub community with 22 international locations. A lifelong traveler, she has lived and worked in Mexico, Spain, Argentina and Thailand. She currently lives in San Francisco, CA.

Mobile Message is produced by Ken Banks, innovator, anthropologist and National Geographic Emerging Explorer. He shares exciting stories in Mobile Message about how mobile phones are being used throughout the world to improve, enrich, and empower billions of lives. Read all the posts in this series.

What is your Mobile Message? Sharing ideas via National Geographic

Today, with over 500 million mobile subscribers across Africa alone, and more people around the world owning a phone than not, mobile phones seem to be everywhere,” points out FrontlineSMS founder Ken Banks in the opening post of  our National Geographic  blog series: Mobile Message. There has been a remarkable growth in mobile phone use in recent years, and increasingly mobile phones are being used for innovative social change projects. Last year Ken was awarded the title of National Geographic Emerging Explorer, in recognition of his work in the field of mobile for social change. In December 2010 FrontlineSMS launched our ongoing Mobile Message blog series via National Geographic, to help share exciting stories about the way mobile phones are being used throughout the world to improve, enrich, and empower billions of lives. Here we provide an overview of the diverse range of stories that have been shared in the series so far.

Mobile for development

In his introduction to the Mobile Message series Ken Banks traces the journey of mobile use in international development from 2003, when “he struggled to find much evidence of the revolution that was about to take place,” up to the present day, when mobiles are now being used globally in projects for health, agriculture, conservation and so much more. From his eight years experience in the ‘mobile phones for development’ field, Ken shares his knowledge on “the importance of building appropriate technologies, the importance of local ownership, and the need to focus some of our technology solutions on smaller grassroots users.” It is these principles that shape FrontlineSMS’s work, and these are also the themes that shape our Mobile Message series with National Geographic.

Mobile Technology gives Zimbabweans a Voice

Mobile phones often have the power to circumvent traditional forms of media, in areas where conventional news outlets are controlled or manipulated by the government. This was clearly shown in the second post in our Mobile Message series; entitled Mobile Technology gives Zimbabweans a Voice. In this post Ken Banks interviewed Bev Clark, founder of Zimbabwean civil society NGO Kubatana, and program director of Freedom Fone. Bev discusses how the use of mobile has helped address the challenge of state controlled media in Zimbabwe and “keep people informed, invigorated and inspired.”

Kubatana runs an SMS subscriber system using FrontlineSMS, and they have 14,000 people on their contact list. They use SMS to share news headlines and notifications of events, and also to encourage a two-way dialogue. They ask subscribers to respond with their views and opinions, by posing questions on social justice issues. By doing this, Bev explains, Kubatana is able to “extend the conversation to people living on the margins of access to information.”

Mobile Banking in Afghanistan

The global presence of mobile phones has also encouraged a wealth of mobile banking (m-Banking) and mobile finance, in areas you wouldn’t necessarily expect. Jan Chipchase, Executive Creative Director of Global Insights at Frog Design, tackled the topic of m-Banking in Afghanistan in the third post of our Mobile Message series. Afghanistan is an interesting case, as Jan explains, being “a country challenged by limited access to traditional banking infrastructure and widespread distrust of formal institutions.”

Jan conducted a field study in Afghanistan in 2010, which focused on use of m-Banking services such as M-Paisa. He looked at how “m-Banking has been extended to include bill payment, buying goods and services, and full-fledged savings accounts.” His study “aimed to highlight the sophisticated strategies that the poorest members of societies adopt in managing their limited resources.” Jan drew some interesting points from his research, and concludes his post by stating that “there will come a point when the idea of using mobile phones for banking will be as globally prevalent as credit and debit are in the U.S. today.”

Technology Helps Break Silence Against Violence in Haiti

Mobile technology is clearly used for incredibly diverse purposes. The fourth Mobile Message post looks at how SMS can be used to help break the silence against violence and human rights abuses in post-earthquake Haiti. Aashika Damodar, CEO of Survivors Connect, writes about how her organisation had worked alongside Fondation Espoir, a Haitian nonprofit organization, to establish a text message helpline to report violent crimes in Haiti.

The service, called Ayiti SMS SOS helpline, provides an option for anyone in Haiti to text if they witness or experience an act of violence. A team of trained helpline operators respond to the SMS, and direct people to relevant services needed to help. As Aashika points out “the need for a reporting system is dire. Thousands of displaced people still live in camps with little security or privacy, making them susceptible to threats and abuse.” Using SMS means help is more accessible to many of those who are vulnerable.

FrontlineSMS is used in this project to manage sending and receive messages. Aashika shares details of why this project chose to build their service around text messaging. “SMS is cost effective, discrete and fast, all of which work to the benefit of our target groups.” This summarises why many projects choose to use SMS to support their social change projects.

Supporting Africa's Innovation Generation in Kenya

As well as increased efficiency, advances in technology also encourage innovation. Erik Hersman, co-founder of Ushahidi, wrote the fifth Mobile Message post about iHub (Innovation Hub); a project that brings together Nairobi's entrepreneurs, hackers, designers and investors. He explains how “leapfrogging PCs, Africa's burgeoning generation of mobile tech-savvy entrepreneurs are bursting with ideas and practical inventions, from African apps for smart phones to software solutions that address uniquely local challenges.”

You can feel Erik’s genuine enthusiasm for the many new and exciting ideas emerging: “real-world solutions to problems found by micro-entrepreneurs and everyday Africans... Here, we see ingenuity born of necessity.” The i-Hub provides a communal space for over 2,500 members of the technology community in Kenya's capital city. There are a growing number of “smart, driven and curious technologists with a leaning towards all things mobile” in many major African cities like Nairobi, Accra and Lagos, and Erik makes clear that “it's an exciting place to be, and the future is very bright indeed.”

Mobile Technology Helps Every Person Count

The sixth instalment of Mobile Message comes from Matt Berg, a technology practitioner and researcher in the Modi Research Group at the Earth Institute at Columbia University. Discussing the value of increased accountability and recording capacity provided by technology, Matt looks at how using tech can help “poor or homeless people be counted as individuals with needs and rights - and receive their share of social resources.”

An example shared in the post is that across the Millennium Villages in Africa mobile technology is improving people’s access to social care in a project called ChildCount+. Matt discusses how “community health care workers (CHWs) register pregnant women and children under five using basic mobile phones and text messages... Using these patient registries, CHWs can make sure that all their children are routinely screened for malnutrition and receive their immunizations on time.”

Through a variety examples of work being done in India and in Africa Matt makes the overarching point that the recording systems provided by technology can provide increased access to services for vulnerable people, who can often get left out otherwise. In short, as Matt puts it, “technology is making it increasingly possible to count things, and thereby to make people count.”

Award winning FrontlineSMS

FrontlineSMS continues to be acknowledged for its powerful work in the field of mobile technology for social change. The latest Mobile Message post is an interview with Ken Banks, based on his recent award of the 2011 Antonio Pizzigati Prize for Software in the Public Interest. Ken received the award for creating FrontlineSMS software, which is now used by thousands of non-profit organisations in over 70 countries across the world.

As we can see from this summary the power of mobile is reaching around the globe, being used in a remarkable variety of ways. Visit the National Geographic website to read any of the above posts in full, and keep an eye out for future posts which we will be reposting here on the FrontlineSMS blog.