SMS for election monitoring, peacebuilding and strengthening democracy – A conversation with Ken Banks

This podcast, from Cyberweek 2007, is a conversation between Colin Rule (Director of ODR at eBay/PayPal) and Ken Banks, founder of kiwanja.net and creator of FrontlineSMS.

To download the mp3 file or listen to it online, visit VOR Radio here. For more information on the podcast, visit here. (File size 30.46Mb, running time approx. 30 mins)

Colin and Ken touch upon much of what I’ve articulated on this blog as sustainable and appropriate technologies to support grassroots empowerment. There is skepticism, rightfully, expressed on the XO laptop (alias $100 laptop) and Negroponte’s promises, with Ken making the point that many in the developing world still use mobile phones only capable of basic SMS. This is also a point I have raised on this blog in detail earlier. Ken’s vast experience in countries in Africa, India and other parts of the world is useful in this regard, since he speaks from the perspective of an innovator acutely aware of ground realities.

I’ve written about FrontlineSMS and the power of mobile phones to augment democracy earlier, and look forward to its development to support a number of activities I am facilitating in Sri Lanka, ranging from Human Rights monitoring to citizens journalism (Groundviews and Vikalpa).

This is a must listen podcast for anyone interested in using mobile phones for social activism.

One comment on “SMS for election monitoring, peacebuilding and strengthening democracy – A conversation with Ken Banks

  1. janet murdock
    February 23, 2008 at 6:00 am #

    You might want to contact Partners for Democratic Change. I recently wrote for them a summary of election time governance project in Albania that included use of SMS for national observers

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