Integrating Cell phones and Audio content for Community Media: Freedom Fone

By Women's Net

Women'sNet – a Feminist organisation based in Johannesburg, is excited to announce a Call for Participation in its upcoming Freedom Fone training workshop, aimed at community radio stations in South Africa. 

Women'sNet's mission is to advance gender equality and justice in South Africa through the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). We provide training and facilitate content dissemination and creation that supports women, girls, and women’s and gender organisations and networks to take control of their own content and ICT use. The training workshop will be held from 22 - 24 November 2010 and focuses on equipping radio stations with skills to use Freedom Fone to create interactive audio content over The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence. Women'sNet is looking for 17 participants from Community Radio Stations in South Africa.
 
What is Freedom Fone:
 
Freedom Fone is innovative telephony software, which takes the fastest growing tool for round-the-clock personal access to information – the mobile phone – and marries it with audio voice menus and SMS. It provides a new far-reaching communication medium – for information activists, service organisations and NGOs – to deliver vital information on demand, to communities who need it most. 
 
Freedom Fone is free open source software. The telephony based applications – audio voice menus, voice messages, SMS messages and SMS polls – are easy to manage via a user-friendly, browser based interface.
 
Delivering information with audio overcomes barriers associated with literacy and language and enables users to move past the 160 character limitation of an SMS.
 
Freedom Fone has been designed to connect to GSM (mobile) networks and run using low cost and low powered equipment.It is quick to setup and maintain and does not require a great deal of technical support.
 
No internet is required for the users and callers alike.
 
There are no geographical or community size limitations to implementing Freedom Fone.
 
The leave-a-message functionality opens the door to two-way communication, which means Freedom Fone can be used as a platform for citizen journalism.
 
About the project:
 
The project will innovate the use of new information and communication tools for participating radio stations by using a new software tool called Freedom Fone. The Freedom Fone Software Project originated in Zimbabwe, Southern Africa, and was awarded a Knight News Challenge Grant for 2008.The software uses cellphones to extend information provision – including audio content – to people currently excluded from the Internet. With over 30 million cellphones in a population of 45 million people cellphones offer huge potentials for information sharing and content generation.
 
This workshop seeks to equip participants with skills to:
 
Use Freedom Fone to extend community participation at radio station level and also to increase capacity with radio stations to adopt Freedom Fone as a tool for community generated content.
 
Freedom Fone will allows users to: conduct SMS polls, collect user generated audio content via a voice-message system, and will allow callers to listen to content on their cellphones.
 
Outcomes: 
 
  • Increased engagement by  and capacities of community radio stations in innovative use of  cellphone content platforms, using Freedom Fone
  • Increase in user generated content by these community radio stations through Freedom Fone
  • Capacity increased among 15 selected CRS, to use Freedom Fone in their work – widening their listener engagement in content generation
 
Who should apply:
 
Community Radio Stations in South Africa who will use this technology during the 16 Days of Activism of no Violence Against women. We encourage women to apply. To apply: Complete attached application form and email back to: lebo@womensnet.org.za by the 19 November 2010. Successful applicants will be notified by 18 November 2010
 
Women'sNet will cover transport, accommodation (for those coming from outside Gauteng) and all meals for participants.