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Freedom Fone is a project of The Kubatana Trust of Zimbabwe which comprises a small, hard working group of information activists based in Zimbabwe. Since 2001 Kubatana has worked to develop innovative communication strategies to amplify and extend access to the work of civil society in Zimbabwe. Our goal has been to share these alternate voices with local Zimbabweans during a period of overwhelming government propaganda and oppression. Part of the work done over this period is reflected at www.kubatana.net.
Access to information by the majority of people in Zimbabwe is compromised by low discretionary income resulting from exceptionally high unemployment. No community radio stations have been licensed to operate in the country and short wave radio broadcasts into Zimbabwe have in the past been jammed.
Under these circumstances Freedom Fone was conceived and developed to take advantage of and reach out to the growing number of mobile phone users in Zimbabwe. The project started out in 2006/7 with the assistance of Tad Hirsch as a proof of concept project called 'Dialup Radio'. In 2008 Freedom Fone received support from the Knight News Challenge to take the initiative further. Thanks to this injection of funds the vision for Freedom Fone has been broadened to facilitate deployments in other countries around the world.