Press Releases

MobileActive: Cell Phones for Civic Engagement


CONTACT: Katrin Verclas, Aspiration
413-687-9877 or 413-884-0094
katrin [at]

Activists from Around the World Gather for First-Ever “MobileActive” on Use of Mobile Phones in Human Rights,Emergency Relief, and Democracy Campaigns

Washington, DC, September 6, 2005 – Ring, ring …Social Change is Calling: Green Media Toolshed and Aspiration, two US-based nonprofit organizations, are convening technologists and activists using mobile phones and text messaging for advocacy, human rights work, democracy campaigns, and mass mobilizations.

MobileActive: Cellphones for Civic Engagement will take place in Toronto, Canada on September 22-24, 2005.

“Call me on my cell phone -- Send me a text message -- You can get me on my cell when you need me. These are not just words among friends anymore.  Now that power is being used by activist working for mass mobilizations, human rights campaigns, environmental protection, and democratic elections,” says Katrin Verclas of Aspiration: Better Tools for a Better World.    

Marty Kearns, one of the organizers, says: "Email is dead. The cell phone is the real tool for moving voice and connecting on the go.  In a world on the move, we need to connect the voice of the people to civil society campaigns. The voices of the world are on mobile devices and the leaders of social change need to be there to engage and mobilize.” and the MobileActive strategy meeting bring together campaigners, technology experts and communications strategists to reconnect campaigns, issue work and civic engagement to people on the street.  MobileActive will help speed the dissemination of innovative practices and technology by skill and knowledge-sharing among activists. Attendees will explore strategies and tactics for the use of cell phones as an organizing tool, and develop useable guidance for practitioners, donors and campaigners to be disseminated widely. The overarching goal is to help civil society activists capitalize on the global wireless phone infrastructure for advocacy communications and organizing.  

Activists and technologists from the Philippines, England, Canada, Argentina, Mexico, South Africa, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, and the Congo representing Greenpeace, Amnesty International, Fahamu,  Working Assets,,, the Open Society Institute, MacArthur Foundation, MIT Media Labs, EchoDitto, Association de Defense des Droits des Prisonniers, Txtmob, Mobile Voter, Movement Strategy Center, Surdna Foundation, Mobile Reporter, 160Characters, ACORN, and many others will attend.

Strategists and activists interested in participating, please go to

About Green Media Toolshed:  Green Media Toolshed is a nonprofit environmental organization that provides communications tools to our members, environmental nonprofits, so that they can more effectively project their messages to the public and decision-makers. We provide tools and membership services to more than 165 environmental groups across the U.S. --

About Aspiration:  Aspiration,, connects nonprofit organizations with software solutions that help them better carry out their work.  We want nonprofit organizations to obtain and use the best software to maximize their effectiveness and impact so that they, in turn, can change the world.  We identify what is available and what is missing in NGO software arena, and foster relationships, delivery systems, and sustainability strategies between NGOs around the world.  

Developers and Activists Gather for AdvocacyDev II


Katrin Verclas
413-687-9877 or 413-884-0094

Developers and Activists Gather for AdvocacyDev II: Open Source Software for Campaigns, Advocacy and Mobilization

San Francisco, California, July 7, 2005 -- Aspiration, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting better software for a better world, is convening programmers and activists developing free and open source advocacy tools to share skills and knowledge at the second annual Advocacy Developers Convergence. AdvocacyDev II will take place in Oakland, California on July 11-13, 2005 –

Nonprofits, Riders, and 'Geeks' Gather at Penguin Days to Make Better Software and the World a Better Place

SAN FRANCISCO, March 7 (via AScribe Newswire) --

Activists, nonprofits, and software developers will meet at local Penguin Days ( in Chicago, San Francisco, and New York City this spring to demystify open source software for social change.

Penguin Days explore open source software in plain language, build networks among nonprofits technology users, and help socially-minded 'geeks' find ways to support nonprofit organizations.

Katrin Verclas of Aspiration ( who has been organizing Penguin Days in what is becoming growing movement, said, "The goal of Penguin Days is to make open-source software available to non-profit organizations who are in need of specific, often expensive or inflexible programs to manage volunteers, fundraise, or mobilize constituents. Penguin Days challenge software developers to provide flexible and appropriate open source software for nonprofits. They also empower nonprofits to better communicate their needs and be active partners in the use of open source technology."

First Ever Free/Libre/Open Source Usability Sprint a Success

Developers and Activists Gathered in San Francisco to Make Open Source Software More Usable and Accessible

Aspiration, dedicated to better software for a better world, and Blue Oxen Associates, a think tank focused on improving collaboration, held the first-ever Free / Libre / Open Source Software Usability Sprint in San Francisco, California on February 18-20, 2005 (

The event was the first in a series of usability sprints focused on making free/libre/open source software more useful for nonprofits and activists.

The Sprint gathered Open Source developers - specifically those interested in creating software for supporting non-profit organizations - with usability experts. The group included 40-some people from the Bay Area, San Diego, Massachusetts, and even Berlin, while the web audience may have had further reach.

Aspiration facilitated first-ever Developer Roadshow in South Africa

Event Date(s): 
December 6, 2004

Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) offers a promising alternative for meeting the software needs of civil society across the African continent. But much work remains to be done in building understanding, capacity and community among developers interested in creating tools to support the sector.

The first FLOSS Developer Roadshow convened African software developers to meet one another, share skills and build knowledge, while designing and implementing appropriate tools for civil society. The event was aimed at meeting sustainable development needs while enhancing the pool of appropriate software skills in the regions. Participants left with with a better understanding of the potential and reality of FLOSS for civil society, new expertise and an enhanced network of contacts and potential collaborators.

Allen Gunn of Aspiration facilitated the event. The Developer Roadshow was hosted by our colleagues at CSIR and supported by a grant from the Open Society Institute.

The homepage and wiki for the Roadshow is at here; a news report is at Tectonic: Africa's Source for Open Source News.


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