kiwanja.net focuses on projects which lower barriers to entry and put the power of technology in the hands of those who need it most. The full focus is on the end user, typically grassroots non-profits, activists and innovators who are often overlooked in today’s high technology-driven development sector.
In November 2013 we published our first book, “The Rise of the Reluctant Innovator”. The book fills a much-needed gap in the literature and challenges much of the conventional wisdom we see around the field of social entrepreneurship. Archbishop Desmond Tutu contributed the foreword, describing the book as one of “hope, inspiration and a beacon of what’s possible”.
FrontlineSMS was created by Ken Banks in 2005 to enable effective communications channels for communities in the developing world. FrontlineSMS leverages the ubiquity of mobile phones and familiarity of text messaging to turn an offline laptop into a communication hub. The simple innovation empowers villagers, aid agencies, and news services to exchange information among groups.
Means of Exchange is a kiwanja.net initiative that looks at how emerging, everyday technologies can be used to democratise opportunities for economic self-sufficiency, rebuild local community and promote a return to local resource use, leading us to a better, fairer, more locally-connected world.
Under pressure to support ‘innovative’ ideas, and often under pressure to spend their large budgets, donors often resort to funding projects they shouldn’t. What we end up with is a sector full of replication, failed pilots, secrecy and near-zero levels of collaboration. Our Donors Charter may be one solution.
In addition to running its own projects, kiwanja.net has a strong track record in offering consultancy and advisory services. Over the past few years we have acted as an advisor/consultant to a number of international projects and organisations including UNEP, the GSM Association, Nike Foundation, PopTech, Making All Voices Count and The Grameen Technology Centre.
Ken Banks is a writer, speaker, moderator, compere and panelist who features regularly on the international conference circuit. If you’re after a professional communicator for your office event, function or conference, or need an innovation-focused consultant, let’s talk.