Ken Banks, founder of kiwanja.net and creator of messaging platform FrontlineSMS, devotes himself to the application of mobile technology for positive social and environmental change in the developing world. He has worked at the intersection of technology, anthropology, conservation and development for the past twenty-five years and, during that time, has lived and worked across the African continent.
He is a PopTech Fellow, a Tech Awards Laureate, an Ashoka Fellow and a National Geographic Emerging Explorer, and has been internationally recognised for his technology-based work. In 2013 he was nominated for the TED Prize, and in 2015 was a Visiting Fellow at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. In late 2015 Ken was appointed CARE International’s first Entrepreneur in Residence. He is also a published author, with his first edited book “The Rise of the Reluctant Innovator” self-published in late 2013 with a Foreword from Archbishop Desmond Tutu. A follow-up, published by Kogan Page with Forewords from musician and activist Peter Gabriel and Ashoka founder Bill Drayton, was released in March 2016.
In recognition of his pioneering work in mobile, in June 2017 Ken was presented with the Eugene L. Lawler Award for Humanitarian Contributions within Computer Science by the Association for Computing Machinery in the USA.