Call to arms: Meeting our Clinton Commitment

It’s not every day you get to glance around the room and see the likes of Bono, Al Gore, Mohammed Ali, Tony and Cherie Blair, Olusegun Obasanjo, John McCain, Bill Gates, the Queen of Jordan and Bill Clinton. I’m just back from an incredible week where I did just that, thanks to a complimentary invitation to this year’s Clinton Global Initiative (CGi) annual meeting in New York.


Despite the line-up there wasn’t too much time to get star-struck. Condition of membership – worth a whopping $20,000 – is that new CGi members make a ‘commitment’, outlining an idea which, when implemented, is expected to “impact on the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world over the next ten years”. kiwanja’s commitment might not reach such dizzy heights, but it was deemed significant enough to be announced live on-stage during the ‘Poverty and Information’ workshop on Friday.

kiwanja’s commitment – the FrontlineSMS Ambassadors Programme – seeks to increase the scale of FrontlineSMS use among the global grassroots NGO community. By the end of 2010 our commitment is to reach an additional 5,000 users through a combination of:

  • Identifying leading international organisations working in key areas of education, energy and climate change, global health and healthcare delivery, and poverty alleviation

  • Training Ambassadors within each organisation how to use FrontlineSMS and how to leverage the software’s rapid prototyping capabilities in order to meet needs and outcomes

  • Charging individual Ambassadors within each organisation with the promotion and implementation of FrontlineSMS use within their organisations and organisational area of influence

  • Recruiting teams of volunteer Ambassadors from civil society

  • Enabling individual Ambassadors to report use, constituency impacts and measurable outcomes derived through FrontlineSMS implementation

  • The development of a FrontlineSMS Ambassadors website and resource centre

The commitment is due to start in January 2009. Between now and then we’re going to need help in two critical areas. If you’re a web developer interested in volunteering a little time to help us get a site together, please get in touch. Or, if you have project management skills and are interested in helping plan and co-ordinate this exciting new Programme, drop me a line. Alternatively, if you know anyone else who might be interested in helping out in either of these areas, please let them know. If you’re new to FrontlineSMS and want to find out a little more, check out this recent Blog post, or check out the project website.

Help empower the grassroots NGO community, and help take FrontlineSMS to new heights.

Make your own commitment to help us reach ours.

NEWS: kiwanja talk lined up at School of Oriental and African Studies, London

Ken Banks has been invited to speak to students studying at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London. SOAS is the world’s leading centre for the study of a highly diverse range of subjects concerned with Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Ken’s talk will focus on mobile-enabled grassroots business and technological innovation, and address some of the challenges in developing appropriate mobile solutions for the grassroots non-profit community

NEWS: contributes article to Berkman “Publius Project” has contributed an essay on mobile technology for “Publius“, a Berkman Centre publication which seeks to bring together a “distinguished collection of Internet observers, scholars, innovators, entrepreneurs, activists, technologists and other experts, to write short essays, to foster an on-going public dialogue”

kiwanja’s article – One Missed Call? Refocusing our attention on the social mobile long tail – sets out some of the challenges in developing appropriate, usable mobile applications for the grassroots NGO community, and discusses what the ICT4D community needs to do to take full advantage of today’s mobile opportunity

NEWS: awarded 2008 Pop!Tech Fellowship

16th September, 2008: kiwanja’s Ken Banks has today been named as one of sixteen Pop!Tech Social Innovation Fellows for 2008. According to Pop!Tech, “For the past year we have combed the planet searching for visionary change agents incubating breakthrough approaches to the world’s most pressing social, economic, and environmental challenges. We received more than a hundred amazing submissions from over thirty countries worldwide, and we’re proud to present the most outstanding sixteen – the 2008 Pop!Tech Social Innovation Fellows”

Ken joins friends Erik Hersman and Ory Okolloh ofUshahidi fame, and Nam Mokwunye, who he last worked with at Stanford University as a fellow Fellow on the Reuters Digital Vision Program in 2006/2007

The Pop!Tech Faculty will lead the Fellows through an intensive four-day “boot camp” just prior to the start of the “Pop!Tech 2008: Scarcity and Abundance” conference. Each Fellow will then be showcased at the conference itself, kicking off a year of access to mentors, influencers and resources

A copy of today’s official Pop!Tech press release is available here (PDF, 170Kb)