Achievements in 2012

A lot of ground was covered in 2012 thanks to valued contributions from staff, donors, volunteers, users and other good folk.

We ran hands-on training in Tanzania, Kenya, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Uganda and were delighted to see communities of use arise as a result of these workshops.

Freedom Fone deployments are steadily increasing in the community radio, agriculture, reproductive health and democracy sectors. Thanks to information shared by users in Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda we know that our software facilitates feedback from radio listeners; runs automated hotlines; provides information to local police; shares information with farmers; feeds information to radio stations during elections and keeps the electorate updated with news from parliament. That Freedom Fone can support such diverse activities brings us great pleasure.

Our user interface has been localised in English, Swahili, French, Portuguese and Spanish. Translations of the User & Advocacy Guide are available in English, French and Spanish, with Portuguese available by February 2013.

Thanks to assistance from the Deutsche Welle Akademie (Bernd Rößle & Simon Fischer), a new chapter called the Audio Cookbook has been written for the Guide and will be integrated into all language versions of the book by February 2013. We hope that our efforts will be rewarded by an increase in deployments of Freedom Fone in Francophone, Lusophone and Hispanophone countries in 2013.

Freedom Fone is in good shape with v2.S.4 running on the latest long-term support (LTS) version of Ubuntu (12.04). This ensures that the software will install on a wide range of new computers with a minimum of hassle over the next 2 years.

Added support for a variety of widely available voice-enabled Huawei dongles has dropped the cost of setting up Freedom Fone deployments and lowered barriers to adoption. At the other end of the spectrum, larger users can rely on the robustness of FreeSWITCH, the soft switch that lies at the heart of the platform, to process high volumes of calls. Cost effective scale can be achieved where VoIP is legal, affordable and of reliable quality.

Work on including SMS sending in our next release is progressing slowly but surely and v2.S.5 is expected to be available sometime in February 2013.

As if all of this wasn’t enough, we ended 2012 with a productive and stimulating week facilitated by the ThoughtWorks Social Impact Program just before the Christmas break. The focus was to explore a cloud version of Freedom Fone and to vision a framework for a community of developers to contribute to our code base. More about this here.