The Kubatana initiated open source project, Freedom Fone, won an award for Innovation in Media technology at a ceremony organized by the Index on Censorship. The award category recognized Kubatana for innovation and original use of new technology to circumvent censorship and foster debate, argument or dissent. The category is supported by popular web giant, Google.
A Kubatana representative, Upenyu Makoni-Muchemwa received the award in the UK, where the ceremony was held. An open source project, Freedom Fone uses Interactive Voice Response (audio voice menus) to create a communications platform where users can dial in to listen to pre-recorded messages in various languages or they can send in their own voice messages to the platform.
The Freedom Fone has so far been used for an audio magazine called Inzwa that featured news headlines, interviews with community activists, jobs vacancies and upcoming Zimbabwean musicians. It’s also been used for short audio dramas, a question and answer programme on constitutional affairs, and a phone in service run during Zimbabwe’s premier arts festival HIFA.
According to Kubatana, Freedom Fone is also used in Tanzania, Cambodia, Ghana, Niger, Kenya and Sri Lanka. The Freedom Phone project was conceptualised by the projects current technical director, Brenda Burrell.