Text messaging. Democracy. Coffee
What a week for FrontlineSMS. Activity was already on the rise – we’re preparing for the launch of a new version of the software at Global Messaging 2008 in Cannes next month – but with news breaking this week on its use in Zimbabwe by Kubatana.net has come an additional flurry of press and user activity.
A number of Africa, technology and mobile blogs picked up on the latest report after I wrote about here earlier in the week. The sites quickest to the news included SmartMobs, Global Voices, DigiActive, Black Looks and Kabissa, with numerous other personal blogging sites continuing to link through.
Yesterday, a news item on “The World” also went out across public radio in the United States, where their Technology Correspondent interviewed kiwanja and Kubatana about how the software has been used in Zimbabwe. A three minute audio is available here (MP3, 2Mb).
Interestingly, this increase of interest has lead a number of sites to re-visit the use of FrontlineSMS in providing coffee prices to farmers, a subject I covered a couple of weeks earlier, here. The more notable sites to pick up on this has again been Global Voices, Ode Magazine and none-other than The Independent, who list kiwanja’s blog entry on the subject among its “Pick of the Blogs” for 9th April (“From conception to replication”).
All of this has lead to a flurry of activity from the non-profit community, with enquiries coming from far and wide – the United States, Cameroon, Trinidad and Tobago, Fiji, France and Uganda among many others. FrontlineSMS users around the world are slowly beginning to connect.
With so much already achieved with what is still technically the Beta release of the software, next month is very significant not only for FrontlineSMS, but also for the global NGO community who desperately need these kinds of tools in their work.