Dignity, Opportunity, Hope

You know that feeling you get at the end of the month? Pay day comes and you look forward to spending the money that you have earned. There are always bills to pay to ensure you have somewhere to live with electricity and water, there’s food to buy and then maybe even some treats for you and your family. It’s your money that you have worked hard for so you decide how to spend it.

For a lot of us, this is the routine every month. We don’t even think about it.

This month, we’d like you to think about it. We’d like you to go a step further and help girls graduating from Seed of Hope have the opportunity to set up their own businesses and earn their own money. This will give them dignity as they won’t have to exploit themselves to earn a living. They will have hope for a financially secure future.

TESTING 123: The Global Integrity Innovation Fund - Deadline 16 November!

Nicole Anand of Global Integrity will introduce and answer questions about the Global Integrity Innovation Fund at the next Africa Roundtable on 2 November - join us! Participation is free, though registration is required and a donation to Kabissa is encouraged! Africa Roundtable events brings people together in person and via the Internet for networking and to learn from featured speakers. 

Here's the link to register: http://www.kabissa.org/civicrm/event/info?reset=1&id=22

I am supporting TESTING 123 as connector because I am a believer in transparency and accountability (how could I not be, as the son of Peter Eigen) and also particularly love the idea of motivating people to try out crazy new ideas. Global Integrity is to be applauded for being willing to take this risk. 

Read on to learn more in a post crossposted verbatim and shamelessly from Nicole's Innovation Fund blog.  

Invitation to collaborate on your innovative idea to fight corruption

It takes some courage to think out of the box, out of the comfort zone of our trusted, known ways of doing things, to look for innovative solutions to our problems. It takes an extra dose of mad courage and determination to implement innovative new ideas in the fight against corruption. Global Integrity believes innovative ideas are out there that have the potential to revolutionize the way we all use information to promote transparency and accountability. They have pulled some "mad money" together and are making it available in ~$10k grants to innovators. And are offering to collaborate and help with the implementation. Now that's #thepowerofwe. Details and application form at http://innovation.globalintegrity.org

Pamoja - Together


This year’s Blog Action Day is all about “The Power of We”. Graduates of our Seed of Hope programme are great believers in the power of we and have set up an alumni called “Pamoja” meaning “together”.

The chair person of our Nairobi group told us:

“My name is Rosebella and I am the chairlady of Pamoja group, a group that was started few months ago. Pamoja means together, us or united. It is very easy to do things as a group rather than as a single hand. For instance let’s take a person building a house – if he works alone it will take him/her a lot of time compared to the one building with other people. By this I mean when it is “us” the work load is lighter but “me” makes it harder.

Hands of Grace South Sudan

The Hand of Grace Peace Oprhans Gospel Choir projects are positioned to help and transform the lives of the orphaned children's, youth and vulnerable women in South Sudan.


Hands of Grace is an organization that helps orphans and widows in South Sudan community.It also comprises Hands of Grace Peace Orphan Gospel Choir, a children's choir that is made up of young children with ages between 6 and 12 years. They sing mostly Christian-themed songs of hope and inspiration.These choirs are trained to raise funds through singing, dancing and acting.

Announcing FrontlineSMS VERSION 2: Same vision, new user-driven design

Download FrontlineSMS Version 2

Mobile phones are everywhere. There are now 6 billion active mobile phone connections across the world, an increasing number of which are in emerging markets, in communities who have previously been hard to reach. Recognizing this potential, our Founder, Ken Banks, envisioned FrontlineSMS six and a half years ago as a means to harness the power of mobile to lower barriers to social change. Since then, our open-source SMS-messaging software has been downloaded over 25,000 times, and helps organizations in over 80 countries to overcome their communication challenges to reach millions. Over the last two years, we’ve focussed on gathering user feedback and comments, and planned a roadmap for the software grounded in Ken’s vision, better serving the needs of its community, and well-positioned for a multi-channel, global mobile future.

Our buzzing Nairobi office preparing for the release of FrontlineSMS Version 2 (photo credit: @laurawhudson)

Since late 2010, feedback from users on the existing platform, and learning from our work with organizations implementing the software, have been generating new designs and ideas. In collaboration with Gabe White, a Kampala-based user experience designer, we redesigned the software to be more intuitive, simpler to extend and run over networks, and make it easier to manage larger volumes of messages. After many months of building and testing – by many of the users in our original design research – we are releasing the first fruits of that work: FrontlineSMS Version 2.

What’s different about the new platform

FrontlineSMS Version 2 makes it easier to create and manage common SMS activities like making announcements, conducting polls and automating replies to incoming SMS. Our polls activity visualizes incoming data, allowing you to quickly understand the results. You can manage messages more easily with a flexible filing system, featuring folders and an archive capability; as well as an inbox, outbox, and the ability to monitor pending messages. Important messages can be starred for later, and a more robust search allows you to locate messages based on name, location, or date as well as by activity, group and folder. You can export your messages limited by date range, or from any search result, collection of messages or group of contacts.

The architecture of the new software makes it stronger and more flexible, allowing developers and users to customize FrontlineSMS to better meet their needs, and integrate it with other platforms and systems. Browser-based and built to run on Windows, Mac and Linux, FrontlineSMS still does not need the Internet to work, sending text messages via a phone or GSM modem. Online SMS aggregators Clickatell and IntelliSMS are already built-in, for those with a web connection, and more services will follow in the months to come.

User  feedback

User responses to the designs were overwhelmingly positive. One person commented; “it’s a huge leap forward… it feels much more modern and smooth functioning, and the design is nice and clean.” Another said; “this is really phenomenal: I could put it in front of any of our team and they could do awesome things with it.”

As Version 2 starts to make its way in the world – it has already been used in over 20 radio stations in Africa – we look forward to hearing more feedback from users about the new software, and what they’d like to see it do next.

The Future of FrontlineSMS

In the coming months and years, we will continue to build on the core, stand-alone software, adding new features, many of which will be new ‘activities’, in the language of Version 2; adding integrations with additional web-based SMS services; and taking a fresh look at critical functionality such as how FrontlineSMS deals with forms-based data collection. Also on the map for later this year is a web-based test platform, which is a first exciting step to a more varied menu of hosting options for our users.

Our users inspire and help direct our work, requesting new features and helping us to prioritize as we decide what to build next. Many of our commercial clients fund custom development of the software to their specifications, which then creates functionality which can be shared with the wider community, benefitting everyone. The feedback and interaction we have with our users are what makes our software special, and Version 2 is easier to extend than ever before, allowing our Nairobi-based developer team to service more of your requests, more quickly.

The FrontlineSMS specialist sector-specific projects, which focus on using and adapting the software for specific fields such as legal services, education and mobile money – FrontlineSMS:Legal, FrontlineSMS:Learn and FrontlineSMS:Credit – will provide tailored versions of the software designed for their communities to use. FrontlineSMS:Radio is due out later in the year, and will feature specific functionality designed for radio presenters and station managers.

Crossposted from http://www.frontlinesms.com/2012/06/12/frontlinesms-same-vision-new-user-driven-design/

Cloth Pads, Share The Benefit

Come on everyone, let's work together here.

“We have been piloting the introduction and use of reusable cloth pads among girls/ women in 2011. Even when we were working with very limited resources, the project is creating impact, and the demand for our services is growing among girls/women, school leadership and parents.”

“LUYODEFO has launched a mass campaign to help promote the affordability, use and application of reusable sanitary pads among women and girls in Kasese, western Uganda. The campaign aimed to teach communities on the benefits of the reusable sanitary pads over the disposal pads; creating awareness on puberty, menstruation and menstrual hygiene; reproductive health issues; sexually transmitted infections (STIs); and girl child education. Key focus will be on the phase of the menstrual cycle discussing the functions of the relevant body parts, and the use and management of cloth pads including cleaning instructions for long term use/benefit.

There will be some time for questions where the girls/ women can ask about anything pertaining to female hygiene, the menstrual cycle, and any other issues the girls/ women may face today.”

National Renewable Energy Day in Tanzania - June 6th and 7th 2012 - Dar es Salaam

The United Nations has declared 2012 the year of sustainable energy for all.

Furthermore, access to modern energy is critical to Africa's achievement of the millenium development goals. Please Check out the website for the National Renewable Energy Day Exhibition in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, June 6-7, 2012.


It will be a great showcase for the possibilities and challenges of expanding the use of renewable energy.

There will be an exhibtion, workshops, a site visit at a renewable energy installation, and an excellent networking opportunity for renewable energy and environmental stakeholders across the country and region.

If it is about getting the message out ...

The blog post about  FarmAfripedia got quite a lot of attention. I was asked to republish it here on the Kabissa blog to give it more exposure in Africa. It was commented on in several places. Sadly the most relevant message is that it will be almost impossible for FarmAfripedia and Wikipedia to cooperate.


The problem is with copyright and licensing. The use of the information on FarmAfripedia is restricted  by the CC by-nc-sa license. The Wikimedia Foundation projects are available under a CC by-sa license, this does allow for commercial use. The WMF rationale is that the information it is the custodian of to as many people as possible. This is why commercial use is allowed, this is why the WMF cooperates with telephone companies to make our content available free of charge on mobile telephones in our Wikipedia Zero projects.


FarmAfripedia uses the CC-by-nc-sa license because it makes it easier to use material from the United Nations. The aim of the UN is very much to get its message out. Using a license that prevents cooperation and re-use down stream is clearly not in its interest.


There is no right or wrong. It is only a sad realisation that incompatible licenses prevent the kind of cooperation that is in the best interest of everybody involved. FarmAfripedia may reconsider its licensing, the UN may reconsider its licensing but for the WMF it is all about getting the message out as widely as possible.





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