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Fred unleashed

Two weeks ago Freedom Fone, affectionately known to his handlers as Fred, was set loose… 

Inspired by the cockney rhyming slang “dog and bone” (meaning phone), the Freedom Fone dog logo and quirky character of Fred, was born a few years ago. Today Fred is still young, but after a few years of software development (and dog training!) he’s now ready to go out into the world on his own. 

We wanted to report back on his recent adventures, since the launch of Freedom Fone version 1.5.

Making sense of all the noise – testing Freedom Fone v1.5pre

I've spent time recently testing the pre-release version 1.5 of Freedom Fone in Zimbabwe. Lots of little bugs have presented themselves but for the most part this version has been a revelation. The closest tech support has been Alberto in freezing Stockholm and Giovanni somewhere in Italy. I am sweating it out in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Molo and Kubatana's partnership helps put information in the hands of Zimbabweans

Kubatana, a Zimbabwean non-profit organisation committed to democratising access to information, was awarded a Knight News Challenge grant in May 2008 for its Freedom Fone software development project. The Freedom Fone project aspires to help civic organisations extend their information in an audio format to mobile phone users.

It's 7:05pm in Dar es Salaam

Amanda and I have just returned from Dar es Salaam. We were on the road with Freedom Fone.

Last Tuesday, Nov 17 it was 9 degrees at 9am in orderly Johannesburg and 28 degrees with sweat inducing humidity at 7pm in chaotic Dar. After negotiating the jam-packed arrivals hall we smiled in relief when we discovered John holding up a torn piece of cardboard with Freedom Fone scribbled on it. We couldn't speak Swahili and he couldn't speak English but we made our greetings and jumped into his car for the ride of our life to a lodge off the Old Bagamoyo Road in Michokeni B.

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