Tag Archive for 'sms'

Information sharing with farmers

FADECOJoseph Sekiku of Tanzania’s FADECO Telecentre & Community Radio sent the following report on their use of new ICTs in combination with radio to better communicate with farmers.

FADECO Community Radio is a local radio in NW Tanzania. Its programming is characterised with a strong focus on rural development (65%) with the rest of the air time distributed among 25% news and general information and entertainment (culture, history, arts) at 10%. Agriculture takes the lions share of our programming.

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Radio and Mobiles in-a-box

mobiles in-a-boxTactical Tech is a group of people working to help NGOs and human rights advocates to make better use of technology in their work. One of the ways they do this is with their excellent NGO in-a-box project, a series of toolkits complete with software, information about on-line tools, tutorials, case studies and lots of ideas for how to make innovative use of practical technology within the technical and financial grasp of NGOs. The latest addition to the series, Mobiles in-a-box, is a candidate for inclusion in our ICT / local and community radio essential toolkit.
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Community media and SMS text messages

SMSAt first glance SMS text messages would seem like a natural for inclusion in a community radio station’s essential toolkit. SMS messages are inexpensive and easy-to-use and in recent years the mobile phones that are needed for sending and receiving them have become ubiquitous. However, a survey of recent projects indicates that use of SMS messages among community media in the developing world is still at an early stage. In most stations SMS use is informal. The few cases identified of community stations making more complex use of SMS messages have accompanied political crises or natural disasters and have inevitably been donor financed. There are few, if any, experiences of complex uses of SMS by community media without external funding and technical support, even though the financial and technical resources required are minimal.

Download a Spanish-language version of this article

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Local News with SMS

The mobileactive.org website has an article about a project in Grahamstown, South Africa that will use SMS to enable citizen journalists to contribute to the local community newspaper.  Eighty high school journalists trained as citizen journalists will send their news and views via SMS messages. A selection of the messages will be printed in the newspaper while others will be redistributed via SMS to community members.

Guy Berger, the project coordinator and head of the School of Journalism and Media Studies at Rhodes University, admits that it will be difficult to fit the news into the 160 characters that an SMS message can have, but they are already thinking of how to overcome the problem.

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Frontline SMS

I wrote about about FrontlineSMS a few months ago. It’s a piece of software that turns a laptop and a mobile phone into a powerful system for sending and receiving SMS messages and that I think should be part of the essential digital toolkit for local and community radio. FrontlineSMS creator has just come out with a new version of the program, as well as a new website.

I haven’t tried the software (although I have requested it and we want to test it at a community radio station somewhere in Latin America) but Sanjana Hattotuwa gave it a pretty good grade in a blog post on mobileactive.org, although she questions whether it might be too complicated for some grassroots organisations and complained about compatibility problems with her Nokia 3110 (one that FrontlineSMS does NOT claim to support fully).

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