FrontlineSMS Community

Running an SMS Quiz for 1000s of users with Frontline

Running an SMS Quiz for 1000s of users with Frontline

Last month our friends at the iHub celebrated their 5th anniversary (happy birthday!) with a fittingly grand celebration in the Nairobi Arboretum. The tech conscious of Nairobi, from senior organizations to aspiring developers came along and a great day it was.

Frontline Honored by Nominet 100 2014

Frontline Honored by Nominet 100 2014

Last week, the Nominet Trust included us in their top 100 social innovations list. A little over a month before, Frontline celebrated its 9th birthday, making us one of the older initiatives to receive recognition. But you know what? Nominet is right on time.

How we made FrontlineSync

How we made FrontlineSync

This year we deployed our Android SMS gateway app — FrontlineSync — to public beta. We decided to build FrontlineSync to make it easier for our users to connect the power of FrontlineSMS to the GSM network. Connecting to the mobile network can be a barrier to users, so we wanted to build a resilient and easy to use platform that would work everywhere.

Internship Opportunities: Do you have what it takes to be a FrontlineSMS Hero?

• Current opportunities: Community Project Assistant and Media Project Assistant (please note these internship opportunities will be based in London, UK)• New FrontlineSMS Heroes page to acknowledge our interns and volunteers

Many successful social change projects across the world rely on dedicated and passionate interns and volunteers. FrontlineSMS is privileged to have many individuals willing to contribute their time to our organisation, because they feel passionately about the work we do. As interest in FrontlineSMS grows, we continue to build our team – and capacity – and we’re now looking to fill two exciting new internship positions in our London office.

We are in need of two enthusiastic and self motivated individuals to take on the roles of Community Project Assistant and Media Project Assistant. The Community Project Assistant will be helping us to build our online resources, and strengthen our global community of FrontlineSMS users. The Media Project Assistant will be working on research for FrontlineSMS:Radio, and helping manage contacts and project timelines for re-design of the FrontlineSMS software. For more information on these roles, and how to apply visit our Jobs and Internships page.

As we advertise for these new positions we would like to take the opportunity to announce the launch of a new page on our website for FrontlineSMS Heroes; those committed interns and volunteers who provide invaluable help to FrontlineSMS. If you are thinking of applying for one of our internships you too could become a FrontlineSMS Hero!

This is what our intern, Adam, had to say about working with us:

“FrontlineSMS is an exciting and dynamic organisation. The diversity of projects which this small organisation is involved in makes working here fascinating.”

This is an exciting time to join FrontlineSMS, because our growing team is currently implementing a new strategy. In the coming year there are plans afoot to update the core software platform, expand our consultancy services to find new sustainable streams of income, and build up FrontlineSMS’s exciting range of sector specific sister organisations. If you would like to join FrontlineSMS and help us to take these plans forward then apply for an internship with us today!

User support remains priority as FrontlineSMS team grows

FrontlineSMS has recently appointed Florence Scialom into the role of Community Support Coordinator, to focus on connecting and supporting the dynamic global community of those using our software. Here, Florence shares what drew her to work at FrontlineSMS, and outlines the plans she has for her new role.

“Inevitably, many small and innovative start-ups are at first strongly tied to the identity of their founder. When I first heard of FrontlineSMS, in late 2009, it was to me synonymous with Ken Banks. Ken wrote the original software back in 2005, and then established FrontlineSMS as a project under the umbrella of

When Ken explains the creation of FrontlineSMS, he provides some refreshingly open insights about how to innovate successfully. He not only admits, but celebrates the fact that he does not have all the answers about the potential of FrontlineSMS, and the ways it can be used. Ken created FrontlineSMS to serve the needs of non-profit organisations that require interactive communication on a mass scale in areas without internet access. He reasoned that if this tool could be helpful, people would find their own ways to use it.

And use it they have. Downloads of the software are now pushing the 13,000 mark, and people are making use of it in every continent; for election monitoring, health information, market price updates and much, much more. FrontlineSMS is an appropriate technology purposefully aimed at the grassroots non-profit community. Yet it does not dictate to that community what the technology should be used for. This approach is one of the reasons why many non-profit projects across the world are making use of the tool. It was also this user focused ethos that attracted me to working at FrontlineSMS.

The FrontlineSMS story has evolved rapidly in the year and a half that has passed since I first encountered it. FrontlineSMS itself has long been a familiar organisation to many working in mobile for social change space, but it is now reaching an increasingly wide audience through the hard work of our expanded team. There are now nine members of FrontlineSMS staff based across the UK, the US and Kenya, and the team are taking Ken’s original vision in new and exciting directions. In the coming year there are plans afoot to update the core software platform, expand our consultancy services to find new sustainable streams of income, and build up FrontlineSMS’s exciting range of sector specific sister organisations.

Amongst all this change the FrontlineSMS team is fully aware that it’s vital to maintain a focus on the user community; those using our software on the ground that have made FrontlineSMS a success story thus far. This is where my new role as Community Support Coordinator fits in.

There is already a strong base of support available for FrontlineSMS users, including our community forum and many user resources. I would like to approach supporting users in a way that acknowledges that there is a wealth of knowledge and experience in the community itself. For example, I will be asking users to become ‘FrontlineSMS Heroes’ by volunteering to provide support to each other on our user forum. I plan to build the community by engaging users to become more interactive and supportive of each other.

I will also be working to solicit more guest blog posts and in depth case studies from users. Offering FrontlineSMS as a free, open source download has proved a successful way to help many non-profits, but it is accompanied by challenges. There are certainly many cases of the software having a positive impact on people’s lives which the FrontlineSMS team and other users are thus far unaware of. I am looking forward to exploring new use cases, and helping to represent the variety of ways the software can be used to the wider community.

FrontlineSMS has a broad and rich user community. I have mentioned just a few of the ways I plan to support this community, and I am looking forward to building on this through relationships with the innovative and inspiring FrontlineSMS users across the world."

If you would like to get in touch with Florence about contributing a guest blog post or case study, or just generally to introduce yourself she would be happy to hear from you at