New team member for FrontlineSMS

Promoting FrontlineSMS has, up until now, been a slow and patient process. Over the past four years we’ve relied on the good will of many friends from many disciplines to help us get word out. It’s been a great joint effort, and it’s clearly worked as we hit our 3,500th download last week.

But, as from today, things are going to receive a welcome boost and become a little more proactive.

Thanks to the joint support of the Open Society Institute (OSI), and first-time donor Hivos, we’re bringing on-board a new team member to help accelerate adoption of FrontlineSMS, and to begin developing targeted materials and outreach for a range of key sectors where the software is proving particularly strong. These include – among many others – health, the media, agriculture, human rights and election monitoring. As always, it’s been the users who dictate where we concentrate our efforts.

Josh Nesbit: Photo courtesy IREXFor those of you familiar with FrontlineSMS, our new team member isn’t so new after all. It’s Josh Nesbit, the brains behind FrontlineSMS:Medic and Hope Phones. Josh was the original inspiration behind the creation of targeted FrontlineSMS communities of practice when he started applying the software in health, making him the ideal candidate for what we’re calling the FrontlineSMS Ambassador Programme.

We’re incredibly excited to have Josh on board. He’s achieved amazing things in a very short space of time, and his ability to motivate and inspire others is going to be key in encouraging and fostering the creation of further communities of practice. There are already two more underway, and Josh will report on these as his – and their – work progresses.

Josh is also looking forward to the challenges ahead:

I couldn’t be happier. It’s now in my job description to interact with FrontlineSMS users, who I’ve found to be some of the most inspiring people on the planet. I’m also very happy that this grant will let me continue work with FrontlineSMS:Medic, which has shown me how FrontlineSMS could be applied to and shaped for the field of healthcare. I know that users in other fields will rally around the software, and I’m here to help facilitate those communities

Josh will be working with us initially for two years, thanks to the incredible support of OSI and Hivos. This work also represents the starting point of our Clinton Global Initiative commitment made last year in New York. Josh will regularly write and blog about his progress, either here on the blog or over at his own site at

From everyone in the FrontlineSMS community… A very warm \o/ welcome, Josh!

About Hivos. A fair, free and sustainable world – that is what Hivos, the Humanist Institute for Development Cooperation, wants to contribute to. Together with local organisations in developing countries, Hivos strives for a world in which all citizens – both men and women – have equal access to resources and opportunities for development. On the web at

About OSI. The Open Society Institute works to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens. To achieve its mission, OSI seeks to shape public policies that assure greater fairness in political, legal, and economic systems and safeguard fundamental rights. OSI places a high priority on protecting and improving the lives of people in marginalized communities. On the web at

97 thoughts on “New team member for FrontlineSMS

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  28. Ollie Robinson says:

    Seems like a hugely natural response to some wonderful growth, driven by the users (as you say). Shame there isn’t more of this about, but I’m hugely pleased for you all. Congrats!!

  29. Josh Nebsit says:

    Thanks for the tremendous welcome, everyone!

    Those in the, FLSMS, and broader ICT4D community should feel free to reach out to me if you’re curious what we’re up to.

    This journey always feels as though it’s brand new.


  30. Debbi says:

    Ambassador Nesbit and President Banks — wow, what a team! Looking forward to fruitful collaborations that include those who are bandwidthout [dot] org
    Warm smiles.

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  37. Kaushal says:

    Josh/ Ken — congratulations to both of you. This is super fantastic .. look forward to great things from Josh and Frontline in the very near future 🙂


  38. Joshua Cohen says:

    fantastic news….and if anyone is around Stanford, and wants to hear about FrontlineSMS:Medic.

    Program on Liberation Technology Presents

    FrontlineSMS:Medic – Democratizing mHealth for the Develo[ping World on Their Terms Not Ours

    Lucky Gunasekara, Student, SOM, Stanford Tom Wiltzius, Student, CS, Stanford

    Thursday, October 1, 2009

    Wallenberg Theater, Bldg 160
    Stanford University

  39. Brendan says:

    I remeber you mentioned this when we chatted a few months ago. Great to hear that it connected, and everything has worked out. You’re unstoppable now!

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