FrontlineSMS Hero

Seeing the social impact of mobile technology: Experiences of a FrontlineSMS volunteer

FrontlineSMS relies on the support of our growing band of dedicated volunteers and interns, who provide heroic amounts of support to help us keep things running successfully. We have a page on our website dedicated to these 'FrontlineSMS Heroes' in order to acknowledge all the great work they do.

There are many different ways to become a FrontlineSMS Hero; volunteers help out with tasks such as user support on our community forum, researching how our software is used, or helping edit our website. We also regularly take on interns who dedicate a few days a week to help out a with specific projects. You can find out more about the current internship roles we have available on our Jobs and Internships page. In this blog post one of our regular volunteers, Molly Redding, shares her experiences of what its like to help out at FrontlineSMS:

I can’t believe I’ve been volunteering with FrontlineSMS for more than a year now! What a great year its been. My volunteer journey started when Laura Walker Hudson, FrontlineSMS Director of Operations, came to speak at my NGO Management course at the London School of Economics. At that time, I'd become interested in the use of mobile technology to support social development projects, so I was thrilled when Laura started talking about FrontlineSMS. I practically bowled her over after class to ask if they needed volunteers, and she kindly took my contact details.

Fast forward a few weeks, and I was on board at FrontlineSMS helping Florence analyze data received from a user survey. Since then I've been involved in a variety of projects, all of which have helped me to learn more about FrontlineSMS's work and the world of ICT4D (information and communications technologies for development).

There are many reasons I love volunteering for FrontlineSMS. First off, is being able to find out about the impact the software is making around the world. FrontlineSMS has found an incredible way to help non-profit organizations make use of affordable mobile technology. I was lucky enough to help FrontlineSMS keep track of the projects using their software, through supporting work on their user survey and their increasingly active user map. This helped me begin to understand the vastly varied uses for this platform. I learned that from agriculture to maternal health, and from California, to Kenya, to the Ukraine; FrontlineSMS is everywhere!

Another reason I love volunteering for FrontlneSMS is the people. I really love being part of a small team. They were incredibly welcoming from the first day I started to volunteer. Florence was my main contact, and I also got to spend time with Laura, Amy, Alex, Hussain and Ken, who have all been so helpful. They even got me cupcakes for my birthday!

The work I've done at FrontlineSMS has helped me feel like I am truly making an impact. I knew that analyzing the survey would help the team better understand the needs of those using FrontlineSMS. I knew that improving the user map would help to visually demonstrate all of the wonderful FrontlineSMS use cases being launched around the world. And in addition, along the way I even picked up some new skills, such as using HTML.

Volunteering with FrontlineSMS has been an overwhelmingly positive experience for me. So much so that I’m still volunteering with them, even after moving from London to the US. Furthermore, volunteering with FrontlineSMS has sparked a passion for ICT4D, which I’m now pursuing as a possible career path. Even if I am not volunteering, I know I will always be involved in this great organization, watching to see what incredible things they will do next!

Find out more about our Jobs, Internships and Volunteer Opportunities.