Friday, June 1, 2012

Radio ICT Administrators Trained In Arusha Courtesy of FRI Africa Region
From the 20th May – 2nd June, 2012 Freedom Fone and Farm Radio International hosted a Technical Administrators Training Workshop in Arusha, Tanzania. The aim of the workshop was to build the capacity of local technicians - also known as Freedom Fighters - to be able to support Freedom Fone deployments in their own countries. Participants came from countries across Africa including Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and almost all are employed as ICT support officers by community radio stations. The one exception was Daniel Ninsiima who uses Freedom Fone at Makarere University in Kampala to disseminate agricultural extension information to farmers in south western Uganda. Farm Radio International includes Freedom Fone in its suite of new technologies to create participatory radio programmes. Participants at the workshop are expected to return to their countries and deploy the platform in 17 radio stations in 10 countries over June/July 2012.
Voice based response for crisis reporting A research project by LIRNEasia in partnership with Sarvodaya, Sri Lanka's largest development organisation, has produced a YouTube documentary entitled Do You Hear Me about the importance of voice based response platforms for crisis reporting. It is hoped that in time resources will be raised to integrated Freedom Fone with the Sahana Disaster Management Software for this purpose. It is clear that text to speech and synthetic voices for Sri Lankan languages would contribute greatly to reducing work load and enhancing efficiency over periods of crisis. This process is not straight forward and more research is still required before automated conversions between speech and text can be used during a crisis situation. Watch the video for more information. Testing Dialler Version This month will be dedicated to testing our Freedom Fone Dialler - Version 2.D. The Dialler can be used to automate campaign calling and connect recipients to a pre-designed IVR (voice menu). It also enables users to offer a free to caller callback service which can be accessed by beeping a designated number or sending the equivalent of a 'call me' text message. Localisation news The Freedom Fone Advocacy and User Guide is available in French and Spanish - thanks to Brent Barber (French) and Charo Atauri (Spanish). Portuguese localisation of the User Interface is underway. Spotlight on... The participants during the training focused on Radio 5, a busy commercial radio station in Arusha, Tanzania. Thanks to Bart Sullivan, Farm Radio International's Radio & ICT Specialist, all of the trainees on the Arusha workshop were offered an opportunity to present Freedom Fone to Radio 5's staff and management. By the end of the session all present were very enthusiastic to start using Freedom Fone to enhance interactivity with their listeners and to assist with advertising. Radio 5 will become the first commercial radio station to use Freedom Fone should they go ahead with plans

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