When help comes in a box

Tactical TechFor those of you who don’t know, Tactical Tech is an international NGO specialising in helping human rights advocates use information, communications and digital technologies to maximise the impact of their advocacy work. They empower by providing advocates with guides, tools, training and consultancy which help them develop the skills and tactics they need to increase the impact of their campaigning.

I’ve been fortunate to have worked with Tactical Tech over the past couple of years, and am a huge fan of their work. If you’re an NGO, or work with NGOs, then take a look at some of the tool kits they’ve put together. Just like any good sweet shop, there’s something in there for everyone.

Mobiles in-a-box
Designed to support campaigners looking to use mobile technology in their work
English: http://mobiles.tacticaltech.org
French: http://fr.mobiles.tacticaltech.org
Email: mobiles{at}tacticaltech.org

Message in-a-box
A set of strategic guides and tools to help non-profits create media and communicate for social change
English: http://www.messageinabox.tacticaltech.org
Email: miab{at}tacticaltech.org

Security in-a-box
Created to meet the digital security and privacy needs of advocates and human rights defenders
English: http://security.ngoinabox.org
Soon in Arabic, Russian, French, Spanish
Email: security{at}tacticaltech.org

Maps for Advocacy
An effective, practical guide to using maps in advocacy campaigns
English: http://www.tacticaltech.org/mapsforadvocacy
Email: mapping{at}tacticaltech.org

Visualising Information for Advocacy
A manual aimed at helping NGOs and advocates strengthen their campaigns and projects through visual communication
English: http://www.tacticaltech.org/infodesign
Soon available in Russian
Email: infodesign{at}tacticaltech.org

Quick ‘n’ Easy Guide to Online Advocacy
Aims to expose advocates to online services that are quick to use and easy to understand
English: http://onlineadvocacy.tacticaltech.org

Base NGO in-a-box
A collection of tools for the day-to-day running of small to medium sized NGOs
English: http://base.ngoinabox.org
Currently being updated and translated into a number of languages
Email: base{at}tacticaltech.org

All of these guides and toolkits are available online as downloadable files, or they can be posted to not-for-profits in a book/CD format, free of charge.

Interview at Africa Gathering

Filmed at the Africa Gathering event in London last Saturday, this short interview with Jonathan Marks covers the history, thinking and use of FrontlineSMS, and contains some priceless footage of over 100 Africa Gathering attendees doing an impression of the FrontlineSMS logo.

(Tip: Turn HD off if the video is slow to play). Thanks to Ed and the rest of the team for organising such a great event, and to Jonathan Marks for conducting the interview.

A mobile database that brings it all together

Two years or so ago during my time at Stanford University, I was carrying out research on the impact of mobile phones around the world for a conference. I was after specific articles, reports and projects – but it was spread all over the place. I spent so much time I wondered why a ‘one-stop’, searchable resource didn’t exist. Several weeks and a couple of volunteers later we launched the kiwanja Mobile Database, the first attempt of its kind to bring some of this information together. Volunteers have helped maintain it since, and it remains the only resource of its kind.

kiwanja's Mobile Database

Today the Mobile Database holds information on the social and environmental impact of mobile technology around the world, and is searchable by article, report or project, and by category, country or keyword. As of today it contains almost 650 entries and is regularly maintained. Since it’s launch in 2006 it’s become one of the most popular sections of the kiwanja.net website – closely followed by the Mobile Gallery of photos, and the “Build it Kenny” blog – and is particularly popular among students and researchers.

So, if you’re a student, researcher, activist, practitioner or simply interested in mobile technology, be sure to bookmark it and submit your own entries if you find anything interesting!

Caught on film: Mobiles in Africa

One of the highlights of yesterday’s Africa Gathering in London, this must-see video on mobile phones in Africa was put together by good friend Martin Konzett of ict4d.at during a recent trip to the continent. Great editing, combined with priceless on-the-ground footage and perspective, gives a wonderful flavour of some of the entrepreneurial activity spurred on by the arrival of mobile technology (something I previously wrote about here).

You can also follow Martin and his work on Twitter: @martinkonzett