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I am currently assisting Tsogang Water and Sanitation, an NGO based in Limpopo, South Africa to use frontlinesms. The Director is very excited about the project. He however indicated to me that in the villages that they work, most people especially committee members of the projects lack access to mobile phones. He thinks that frontlinesms will save costs for the organisation and suggested I assist them to run a campaign that will encourage companies to donate their old phones. The idea is to get old phones that will enable us to send and receive sms with frontline. It does not have to be a fancy phone as long as we can be able to send messages. Does anyone have an idea on how I could approach the project? If you know a company that might be willing to participate in such a project please let me know.

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Hi again, Aluta

I know some people who have approached the mobile operators in their country and asked for older, recycled second-hand phones for non-profit projects, and this sometimes works. There are also companies that run recycle schemes, although I don't know if there are any in Limpopo. Have you thought about trying the Vodacom Foundation, or going directly to any manufacturers? How many phones are you looking for?

There's a company called Regenersis (they used to be called Fonebak) which collects phones to donate to charity projects, but I don't know if they'll be able to help someone in South Africa. There's possibly some helpful general information at which might be worth a look.

Do you have any donors or partners in Europe or in America that you could approach for help? You could send a message to Josh Nesbit (in this Community) who obtained 100 phones for his project in Malawi - he may be able to give you some advice.

I'll see if my contact at Nokia in South Africa has any ideas.


Thanks for the positive response. At this point I don't have an idea of how many people will need the phones. I will put a concept paper for the manufacturers in South Africa and see how they respond. I will however wait for your respond from your vodacom contact.

The programme that will be implementing frontlinesms is funded by Irish Aid. I will also find out the possibility of approaching different funders.
If you have contacts with Irish Aid, then they will certainly (I'm sure) be able to put you in touch with second-hand schemes, or help get hold of phones. Maybe you could somehow get some extra budget to buy phones locally from markets there, etc?

I've emailed my Nokia contact and will let you know when I hear back.

Good luck with this!
Thanks, I will speak to John Kings (Managing Director for Tsogang) to consider the possibility of getting an extra budget and asking Irish Aid to link us with second-hand schemes. I am also starting a collection campaign, I know a number of people with cell phones that are just floating around. I also have one that I gave to my son who is seven but he does not use it because he can't play games with it. This makes me think that within communities there are a lot of phones that I can collect, starting with my family.
A possible solution, though it may take time, but perhaps a systemic solution that could address the needs of others to come as well. There is a global community site called where NGOs can sign up and ask for help. There are many, many volunteers around the world who will try to help get equipment etc. Getting used phones is a lot simpler than most of the tasks that villages request.

I have contacted the facilitator there to see there is some way that FrontlineSMS could have a unified presence there, for the purpose of facilitating getting phones that work to those who need them for our community. (We would have to be careful to specify what types of phones--unfortunately most used phones from the US would NOT work with the program...)

Meanwhile, any village/ NGO that is in need of phones can just go and sign up and get online with needs at
Thanks for the response. I will let you know of the outcomes of the sign up. The purpose of collecting the phones is not to use with frontlinesms but to give to people so that the organisation can be able to communicate with them. In this case the ideal phone will be the one that will be able to take simcards provided by SA mobile operators. As long as people can receive and send messages.
Ken - I have a contact at the CTIA Foundation here in D.C. They are the non-profit foundation established by the cellular telephone industry and have run recycled phone programs. They could be a resource in an on going project. I think that Rebecca is on point when she mentioned a systematic program. Let me know if you want me to pursue.
Hi Peter

Thanks for the message - looks like Aluta hasn't been online for a couple of weeks.

As a primer, maybe it's worth getting in touch with CTIA. If Aluta manages to source some phones, there will no doubt be others in the Forum looking for some in the near future.

Hope all's well!

Hello all

I am looking for old phones but our model will be different in that we will get old phones for resale so that we can fund other projects.We do not believe in Free stuff as most of our 20 000 members can afford to buy phones.
The problem I have is just how the local networks will view this
I managed to link Tsogang Water and Sanitation with MobileImpact.Org ( . The organisation will help Tsogang Water and Sanitation ( and Choice Trust ( with finding solutions for their communications problem. Read more about the planned intervention at

I have not been online, I was busy with my school work.
I think it will be great if we can work together on a project that is aimed at sourcing phones for development projects. Do you think it will be worth it? The is a small NGo recently established, they are based in the US. I signed up at but have not been interacting. I am open to any ideas. I am motivated by the Tsogang initiative and I think there are many organisations who might be interested.

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