Frontline Guides & Case Studies
Our users have continued to define the Frontline product set by applying our tools in creative ways, driving the development of new features, and innovating for positive social change. Our tools have been applied to improve disaster response, human rights monitoring, community radio outreach, health care provision, education, and agriculture, to name just a few. Our users have made our story one of success. Here, we collect guides, resources, and case studies that are useful for users getting started with the Frontline ecosystem. Some might serve as a reference, while others might inspire you to use our tools in a new way.
If you're having trouble deciding which software product to choose, visit our Technologies page for a convenient comparison to help you select the right option.
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Check out a YouTube video created by TechChange about why it is so hard to try new things in information and communications technology for development (ICT4D). Laura Walker McDonald, provides the narration:
Our guides are intended to help users think through critical issues when working with mobile messaging. They are intended to supplement your own organization's best practice, internal policies, and understanding of local context. If you have questions that are beyond the scope of our guides, please feel free to post them to our community forum.
User Guide on Data Integrity
The FrontlineSMS User Guide on Data Integrity is intended for FrontlineSMS users designing, implementing, and monitoring their programs with data integrity concerns in mind. An increasing number of users transmit sensitive information using SMS, which makes questions of data quality and integrity more important than ever. This guide addresses the resulting data integrity considerations of confidentiality, authenticity, availability, and usability of information transmitted using FrontlineSMS.
Diagram showing the path (and potential vulnerabilities) of an SMS interaction between a FrontlineSMS user and a mobile phone, or end user, who both subscribe to the same mobile network operator.
Drawing directly on the experiences of those who have used FrontlineSMS in vulnerable contexts, this guide provides a data integrity framework which can be used to understand the level of risk inherent in SMS-based activity. Our approach is based on identifying ways to mitigate the risks identified from the perspective of the user, in combination with a focus on the quality and usability of information exchanged through a FrontlineSMS hub. We do not define the exact details of how users should address issues of data integrity when deploying our software, but instead provides suggested guidelines on how users can reduce and mitigate the risks by taking a responsible and informed approach to program design and management.
This User Guide on Data Integrity was produced with generous support from Internews. This User Guide would not have been possible without the time and attention of the mobile for development community and, most importantly, our users. Technical writing was primarily contributed by Kristina Lugo and Carol Waters, with minor contributions from several other authors. Graphic design by Jessica Lo. FrontlineSMS is grateful for the oversight and advice of an advisory group that included staff, community members, partner organizations, and experts in this field.
We are collecting in-depth case studies that show how Frontline can be implemented in a variety of ways. These can serve as a guide for those who aim to use our tools at their own business or organizations. They may also serve as a resource to demonstrate the impact of our applications to managers, donors and others seeking to learn more about using mobile phones to promote social change.
If you are using Frontline for your work and think about your program would make a great case study, please contact us. We also recommend looking through some of the many guest posts users have contributed to our blog.
Sexual Exploitation Outreach with Text Messaging: Introducing Project Backpage
The University of Alberta, MARS lab and the Centre to End All Sexual Exploitation(CEASE) have been using FrontlineSMS in a ground-breaking pilot to assess the impact of using SMS to engage women who are trafficked and exploited in Edmonton, Canada. They have very kindly collaborated with us on an in-depth case study, looking at how the system was designed and set up, its impact, and what’s happening next.
This is the first of our case study series to look at a developed-world use of FrontlineSMS. Our case studies are a rare opportunity to hear in more depth about how the systems were developed and how users overcame their methodological or logistical challenges. The group are continuing with another phase of the prohject, this time using FrontlineCloud, so we look forward to further learning from them in the future!
Strengthening Participatory Organization uses FrontlineSMS in Pakistan to improve service delivery after floods
When monsoons flooded southern Pakistan in 2011, the Strengthening Participatory Organization (SPO) quickly implemented a disaster relief project to distribute food items and shelter. This case study takes a look at their work, in collaboration with the Popular Engagement Policy Lab and Raabta Consultants, using FrontlineSMS to improve services in the aftermath of disaster.
FrontlineSMS and Oro Verde: Market Price information via SMS in Colombia
The Oro Verde Program, a social enterprise committed to supporting mining communities in Colombia, shares a case study on the impact market prices via SMS have had on ensuring miners have access to current gold prices. This pilot has demonstrated the potential of SMS in improving the way market prices are communicated to miners; both in terms of efficiency, and the utility of the information shared. This case study details how the Oro Verde Program set their Price SMS service up, and shares the key learning from the experience.
Institute for Reproductive Health use FrontlineSMS for Rapid Prototype
This case study shows how Georgetown University’s Institute for Reproductive Health (IRH), a global organization dedicated to improving reproductive health worldwide, has used FrontlineSMS to provide a rapid prototype of a new mHealth service. This service — called CycleTel™ — empowers women by providing them with accessible reproductive health information through SMS.
Plan International Create SMS Helpline to Tackle Violence Against Children in Benin
This case study looks at how Plan International, a global organization dedicated to improving the lives of children around the world, integrated FrontlineSMS into their work in Benin. Plan International’s use of FrontlineSMS for violence tracking was piloted in Benin, and this case study demonstrates the role FrontlineSMS software played, and lessons learned from the pilot.
This program has now expanded to include ‘Zemidjan’, or ‘Zem’, the motorcycle riders that are common in Benin. Zem are trained to report violence against children through SMS sent to Plan Benin’s FrontlineSMS installation. This is then mapped using tools from Ushahidi and passed on to government officials. You can read more about it in a blog post from our Foundation Board Member, Linda Raftree, and watch a video made by Plan Benin about the program!