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                                   africas voices script

 The pilot project at CGHR (2012-13) involved the following collaborations. 




CGHR began its applied research collaboration FrontlineSMS as part of the New Communication Technologies and Citizen-led Governance in Africa project.

The open-source and free software tool FrontlineSMS turns a laptop – or desktop – computer and a mobile phone or modem into a two-way group messaging hub. It works anywhere there is a mobile signal, with no need for the Internet: a major advantage for local organisations and grassroots NGOs. CGHR and FrontlineSMS both gain tremendously from working together to develop, deploy and research FrontlineSMS:Radio. As Ken Banks, founder of FrontlineSMS, stresses: ‘The impact of tools in the mobile for development field tends to suffer from a lack of rigorous academic scrutiny, and most impact assessment is carried out after the event rather than being an intrinsic part of the deployment process. As a result of the collaboration, from the outset and for the first time, this project will determine user behaviour, identify system design and monitor impact throughout the project life cycle.’



Freedom Fone is free software that creates interactive, voice-based communication services for organisations or bodies seeking to engage with communities across mobile networks.

Freedom Fone uses voice menus to share information with any target audience, SMS polls to organise opinion surveys and callers can also leave voice and text messages on the service where call data records can be safely stored, organised and evaluated.

YouGov logo  

YouGov has always valued strong links with the academic community and in 2011, it established a unique partnership with the Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS) at Cambridge University to facilitate greater collaboration between academic experts and opinion-research professionals in the study of public opinion.

As part of their Cambridge Programme, YouGov is also collaborating with CGHR on the Africa’s Voices applied pilot project, which aims to develop new platforms for opinion-research in Sub-Saharan Africa using radio and mobile phones. Read more about Dr. Claudia Abreu Lopes' contribution to the YouGov-Cambridge Programme website here.


IBM Research Africa logo   news image


IBM Research  has been developing their study of cognitive computing – systems that learn and interact naturally with people to extend what either man or machine could do on their own. They help human experts make better decisions by penetrating the complexity of "big data." The intersection of IBM's research interests and those of CGHR have been demonstrated by the cooperation between the Centre and the newly launched IBM Research Africa Lab in Nairobi.

The Centre's Director Dr Srinivasan is working directly with the lab to investigate further the role of cognitive computing in Africa's development. CGHR Research Associate Dr Claudia Abreu Lopes will also spend 2-3 months in 2014 on secondment at the IBM Research Africa Lab. Dr Abreu Lopes' work with the lab, which will focus on understanding the role of social sciences to provide an interpretative framework when attempting to gain a deeper understanding of "big data.", is supported by the ESRC Impact Acceleration Account at the University of Cambridge.