Ken Banks

Ken Banks

Founder at kiwanja.net

United Kingdom

App dev: Technical & data feasibility

Ken Banks, founder of kiwanja.net, devotes himself to the application of mobile technology for positive social and environmental change in the developing world, and has spent the last two decades working on projects in Africa. His early research resulted in the development of FrontlineSMS, an award-winning text messaging field communication system aimed at grassroots non-profit organisations.

Ken graduated from Sussex University with honours in Social Anthropology with Development Studies, was awarded a Stanford University Reuters Digital Vision Fellowship in 2006, and named a Pop!Tech Social Innovation Fellow in 2008. In 2009 he was named a Laureate of the Tech Awards, an international awards program which honours innovators from around the world who are applying technology to benefit humanity. He was named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer in May 2010 and an Ashoka Fellow in 2011, was the recipient of the 2011 Pizzigati Prize for Software in the Public Interest, and was selected as a member of the UK Prime Minister's delegation to Africa in July 2011. In 2012 the Cambridge business community presented Ken with a "Special Achievement Award" for his work as a social entrepreneur. Later that year he was also made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. In addition to his own work, Ken also mentors early-stage entrepreneurs through Pop!Tech and the Unreasonable Institute.

Following a management transition at FrontlineSMS in mid-2012, Ken has been focusing on a new project, Means of Exchange, which looks at how everyday technologies can be used to democratise opportunities for economic self-sufficiency, rebuild local communities and promote a return to local resource use.

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