In Kenya, dedicated journalists like Dorothy Otieno are using data to give depth and integrity to mainstream reporting. Otieno heads up the team at Nation Newsplex which published analysis of data showing thousands of Kenyan children are still leaving school early, with long-term consequences – they earn less and suffer more ill health than their more qualified peers. She says:
In Moldova, journalists used drones to capture images of a secret luxury retreat for powerful Moldovan government leaders and posted them online. The footage caused a stir in a country where government officials regularly live lavishly off public coffers while one fifth of the nation’s 3.6 million people scrape by in poverty.
“We were able to send a message to politicians that they should be more transparent with the money they spend, because this money belongs to all of us.”
From an audio program delivered on the back of a quad bike to a community radio station serving the needs of displaced South Sudanese, Internews is providing programs that enable people in South Sudan to get the information they need and voice their concerns.
In a small village in South Sudan, there was little food and water. Desperate to find help, sixty-four women villagers walked 40 km to reach their community radio station and plead for help on the air. The authorities heard and responded with relief supplies.
In the Central African Republic, Muslim and Christian journalists are trying to bridge the country's sectarian divide through a community radio station in Bambari. “The radio hopes to be like a kind of bridge over the river that could help people to be reconciled,” said Mathias Manirakiza, the Central African Republic director for Internews, in an article from the Huffington Post.
In an article in Foreign Policy, Internews President & CEO Jeanne Bourgault writes that for refugees making their way to Europe, information is a matter of life and death. Through two-way communication, Internews is to beginning to return dignity to the affected population through information — free of rumor, lies or agenda — so people can find their own way forward.
In some rural communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo, there is no advertising market. To make ends meet, at least two radio stations are exploring creative funding models, including milling rice and renting event equipment. Their innovative business models, launched with small grants, are helping make media sustainable.
In Sri Lanka’s emerging tech community, there are many entrepreneurs who have a genuine wish to do well and do good and contribute to opening up sources of information beyond the traditional media outlets. Vimukthi Liyanage had the drive and skills to develop a news app but teaming up with Code4Good provided the key ingredients he needed to polish and launch his product.
Journalists and activists run the risk of harassment and arrest because of insecure communications. But Jon Camfield, Internews Senior Technologist, explains why security tools don’t work if they aren’t easy to use. Developing with users in mind is at the core of Internews’ USABLE project.