Freedom Fone has established a wide local and international network of followers, from a variety of different sectors. Users include:
The Kubatana Trust of Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe) – is the organisation that initiated Freedom Fone and have been constantly experimenting with Interactive Voice Response (IVR) for a range of different services. Zimbabwe has one of the highest cost-to-caller rates in Africa and this has been a huge challenge when trying to get audiences to call in to a Freedom Fone service. Kubatana began using Freedom Fone as an edutainment channel, innovating a series of micro-audio dramas as a way to raise awareness about important issues. Tariro on Top was a call-in audio drama dealt with harassment in the workplace and Beckham in DZ and Big Dhara were two audio drama campaings surrounding youth and sex education. Kubatana has also used Freedom Fone for Inzwa, a news headline service which engaged the Zimbabwean public on the constitution making process.
Community Radio Harare, CORAH (Zimbabwe) – CORAH were inspired to use Freedom Fone as an alternative to traditional broadcast after being repeatedly denied an operating license by the government. They began Free Voices Harare, a community news service that sends out regular text and audio news feeds to a growing network of mobile users. They rely on citizen journalists to gather news tips and opinions on pressing issues affecting the capital.
Equal Access (Cambodia and Niger) – are using Freedom Fone for Our Community Voice: Many Voices, One Community, a complementary service for a youth radio programme in Cambodia. The programme uses Freedom Fone to explore life skills, education and civic participation themes in an engaging and entertaining way. Equal Access is also using Freedom Fone in Niger for a programme running in 3 local languages targeting youth on a range of issues such as religious extremism, conflict resolution and cross-cultural tolerance. In both cases they are using Freedom Fone in conjunction with a range of other media to encourage community participation in their programmes and to overcome language and literacy barriers.
HIVSA (South Africa) – is using Freedom Fone for Hi4LIFE: a public health information service that allows South Africans to access critical information on sexual and reproductive health, pregnancy, HIV transmission and baby health care in a range of different languages through their mobile phones.
Farm Radio International (Tanzania/Ghana/Mali) – are using Freedom Fone as a interactive tool for radio campaigns designed to help small scale farmers and rural communities in Africa. Farm Radio began using Freedom Fone in Tanzania (Radio Maria) and Ghana (Voltastar) as a means to gather feedback, further involve communities in their educational programs and provide on demand market information for farmers. Click here for a report on Farmers Fone for Voltastar in Ghana.
LIRNEasia/Sarvodaya (Sri Lanka) – LIRNEasia were funded to research the possibility of integrating Freedom Fone with the Sahana Disaster Management system, an open source platform for rapid and effective humanitarian response. They tested the effectiveness of using Interactive Voice Response (IVR) as a complimentary tool for early warnings in the event of an emergency and later to provide critical information and updates during an ongoing crisis. They are currently using Freedom Fone in the field with Sarvodaya, one of Sri Lanka's most active disaster relief operations. Click here to read more about LIRNEasia's study.
Infoasaid/ActionAid (Kenya) – Following the widespread drought in the Horn of Africa, Freedom Fone was set up as a joint venture to help support food distribution in Isiolo district, northern Kenya. The aim was to disseminate livestock and food commodity prices to rural communities on a weekly basis as a way to help combat food insecurity. Freedom Fone was used together with FrontlineSMS and although they experienced various challenges, Infoasaid plan to continue using their service for a number of other programmes in the region. Read more.
Si Jeunesse Savait, SJS (Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC) – ran a pilot Freedom Fone service to offer survivors of rape and gender violence a confidential help line and critical information on demand. The service included first aid advice, recommendations on how to report the incident to the police and other relevant tips such as numbers and locations of counseling and trauma support services. It is currently working with 25 women’s rights defenders in Kinshasa to assist with managing and evaluating this deployment and aim to eventually broaden their reach to violence affected areas in eastern DRC.
Short event driven deployments have included:
- Andalus Institute for Tolerance and Anti-Violence Studies, Egypt – ran a Freedom Fone service during the Egyptian parliamentary elections in November 2010. The organisation formed part of the Egyptian Alliance for Election Monitoring which included 123 Egyptian NGO’s. Their new media election monitoring campaign used a variety of new media tools including blogging, SMS and Freedom Fone. The Freedom Fone call in line was advertised as a voice message service where members of the public could record reports of violations and issues within the electoral process. Click for a transcribed version of these and other reports from this campaign.
- Creative Centre for Communication and Development, Zimbabwe – used Freedom Fone during the 16 Days of Activism campaign to offer women in Bulawayo helpful information on gender based violence.
- United Methodist Church in Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe – used Freedom Fone during a 3 day conference in Harare, for daily updates for members who were unable to attend the conference, but wished to follow the day’s proceedings.
- World Wide Web Foundation, France
Other organisations currently testing, piloting or actively deploying with Freedom Fone include:
- Centre for Economic Prosperity, Tanzania – is preparing to use Freedom Fone to monitor corruption, particularly of the traffic department stopping and bribing truck drivers in Tanzania.
- The Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (COMFREL) are using Freedom Fone to assist with election monitoring and to promote democratic processes amongst the general public.