discussion / Software and Mobile Apps  / 3 April 2017

Anonymous SMS

Hi All,

I am looking for a two-way communication solution using SMS.

Ol Pejeta Conservancy works to conserve wildlife, provide a sanctuary for great apes, and to generate income through wildlife tourism and complementary enterprise for reinvestment in conservation and communities. Communities are central to what we do and we need to be in constant communication to either inform them on bursary application timelines, agricultural training, human-wildlife conflict issues etc.

We have a bulk SMS solution that helps us send messages to our communities and this has been working great albeit with one major limitation; we can only send out SMS but we cannot receive. The current bulk SMS solution is on Software as a Service model and we only pay for it when we use. The subscription costs to be incurred if we are to convert it to a two-way system are quite prohibitive.

The envisaged system should allow sending of bulk SMS to a defined group of recipients and individuals and also allow us to receive SMS from our communities. The identities of senders of the SMS to us need to be anonymous as the same platform will be used for antipoaching efforts.

I believe there is such a solution in the Wildlabs community and I'll appreciate your help in implementing this solution.


Hi Will,


Interesting application of the technology. May I ask what kind of system you are currently using? I asked a colleague about this, and he suggested Frontline SMS. Frontline allows for messages to be received, and it is also based in Nairobi. Perhaps this is the solution to your issue?




Have a look at RapidPro used by UNICEF in projects like U-Report. The framework is being used to manage interactive polls on huge populations (up hundreds of thousands of people). Not sure how do they deal with privacy issues, but it's an open source project, so adding a feature that would drop message origin information wouldn't be hard.

Hi Will, 

We are collaborating with WCS, San Diago zoo and the Wildtrack team from last year's zoohackathon to build a similar solution to the one you describe. The solution uses Twilio and you get a full overview of the work already built here: https://devpost.com/software/wildtrack

It would be good to share requirements and see if there is a way the Wildtrack solution can work for your needs. We would love to work with you to understand your full set of requirements and see if these can be accommodated. 

If this is of interest please do drop me an email at [email protected]. I will also be out in Kenya from 25th April for two weeks, so if you'd like to meet we can hopefully do this face to face.



Hi all

I'd be interested to hear if there were any updates on the discussion above. We @marianneteoh are looking at establishing informant networks for reporting illegal fishing and marine wildlife trade and a means of anonymous reporting would be incredibly useful.

Thanks in advance,