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Frontline SMS

Leveraging mobile technology to support social change.

Used in over 70 countries.

In 2005, Ken Banks was working to help authorities engage and communicate with the public on wildlife conservation efforts in South Africa without relying on the Internet. Realizing he needed a system that could send, receive, and organize SMS text messages through a mobile device and laptop, the original concept of FrontlineSMS was born. 

For remote areas in developing countries where individuals can at best access a mobile phone signal, the simplicity of FrontlineSMS is central to its appeal. A free, open-source software platform that works without an Internet connection by connecting a device such as a cell phone or GSM modem with a local phone number, FrontlineSMS has been downloaded 20,000 times and is being used in 70 countries worldwide. From facilitating the real-time dissemination of market data to coffee farmers in Aceh, to supporting Iraq’s first independent news agency and being used to monitor elections and prevent vote rigging in the Philippines, Afghanistan and Nigeria, users have driven the development of new features to support positive social change in over 20 sectors. 

As the FrontlineSMS community has expanded, so too has the ‘family’ of sector specific projects the organization oversees, which are adapting and extending the software for specialized use in finance, education delivery, healthcare, community radio and legal services.

(Photo © FrontlineSMS)