Wireless Democracy: Innovation in Africa (Presentation)

  • Date Posted: March 31, 2011
  • Authors: Sean McDonald
  • Organizations/Projects: FrontlineSMS
  • Document Types: Primer or Brief, Other
  • Donor Type: Non-Governmental Organization

This is a Microlinks community contribution.

Presentation delivered by Sean McDonald from FrontlineSMS on March 29 at Johns Hopkins University (SAIS) on the subject of “Wireless Democracy: Innovation in Africa” during which he discussed his experiences working for the open-source software charity – regarded as the first social media tool for the poor. FrontlineSMS is a back-end interconnection tool that can be downloaded and used to send SMS communications to help people connect fast and efficiently without the need for an internet connection.

This application is now used all over the world by millions of people, especially in rural regions and disaster relief areas. Using SMS to communicate allows for more privacy, and the system follows an efficient rule of constraining each message to 160 characters. While the ability to exchange SMS communications does not eliminate a need for improved infrastructure, this service puts people in touch in a timely manner and allows for efficient exchange of important and time-sensitive information. FrontlineSMS includes the following family of projects: FrontlineSMS Legal, FrontlineSMS Medic, FrontlineSMS Learn, FrontlineSMS Credit, and FrontlineSMS Radio.

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