Frontline SMS and UNDP

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Frontline SMS , founded by Ken Banks,  is the pioneer of using this technology in developing countries. For example, Ushahidi made use of the platform in 2007 when it started to track violent events related to the Kenya elections.  Nowadays, Frontline SMS has a large network of users and continues to to grow; it has also launched a cloud service.  Ken has moved on but still sits at the board of directors of the non-profit. The last time I saw Ken was in Maputo where we had a large meeting on mobiles and development and a big debate about scalability and the role of governments. We certainly did not manage to agree on these points.

Not sure why but somehow Frontline SMS was added to our list of innovators for human development. And they reached out to us after I shared the INSIHD concept note while in Berlin a couple of weeks ago.

I spoke to the current ED of the organzation yesterday.

We agree to: 1. Invite them to the next INSIHD meeting, probably in Senegal; 2. Explore additional ways days to collaborate on two fronts: case studies and M&E. DFID is financing Frontline on the latter and an advisory board has been set up for this purpose. I requested them to add us to the board. On the former, Frontline case studies are essentially output centered but they are open to consider focusing more on development outcomes.

Cheers, Raúl

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