"In slums, we live by SMS. It is the only way we can use to report news. People living outside do not know some of the lives people live in these areas. As a citizen reporter, I believe I will be an eye witness to the stories as they happen" - Mohamed Camara, Freetown, Sierra Leone.
Your money will directly support Mohamed, and other citizen reporters all over the world, to report injustice and help create a more open and fair society.
Our project: a snapshot
Radar is international organisation that trains citizen journalists to report from the most isolated and under-represented communities in the world, using basic mobile phones. Our work stretches across Sierra Leone, Kenya, India and the UK.
We work with vulnerable populations who are often excluded from mainstream media, including people with disabilities, rural villagers and slum dwellers, particularly women and girls, and minority groups helping them tackle more sensitive subjects - including corruption, gender violence and slavery. We need to protect them further and help them share their stories to an even wider audience.
To do this, we have teamed up with a small group of web developers to design what is essentially a new mobile app. This will allow our reporters to send us information for the price of a local text without needing internet access. It means we will get more news from them and even faster.
We have built a prototype and now need to raise £11,500 to take this onto the next stage. This will be match-funded by a donor, giving us the full £23,000 needed to trial and launch by the end of this year.
Our project: the long version
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights protects the right of every individual or community to speak and be heard. Yet those who are most vulnerable in our world are also the least likely to have the tools needed to record or report their experiences. With two thirds of the world still not online and 1.7 billion people living off-grid, digital connectivity is still the privilege of an elite few. Access to communication tools is largely determined by gender, class and location. When large percentages of populations cannot communicate, democracy is diluted and development is stunted. Corruption and abuse go unreported, successes and innovation go unnoticed and opinions remain undocumented.
Radar aims to challenge stereotypes in the media, open up the flow of critical news and give more people a chance to engage in meaningful dialogue. We champion the voices of the people being heard.
Mobile is the most accessible tool for communication worldwide. More than three quarters of the world’s people have access to mobile phones. It is cheap, available and can be used by people with low levels of literacy or disabilities.
When accompanied by training and support, mobile offers a powerful opportunity to bridge the digital gap and source news from different areas.
Radar works with community groups and local organisations to deliver training workshops that offer core journalistic skills, geared towards mobile reporting. Trainees learn the basic principles of sourcing and verifying information, and producing balanced, impartial news. Each reporter is then connected to Radar’s central news hub via mobile. The hub can verify reports, offer editorial support, and then share their news online and with leading media outlets. We link reporters with editors and journalists who can offer mentoring and collaborate with them to produce high quality media from their communities .
Within our first year, Radar has covered two African elections and supported more than 250 citizen mobile reporters to share more than 2,000 mobile reports across social media sites. Their work has been published by leading media outlets including the Guardian, the New Internationalist and the Ecologist with others contributing to the BBC World Service and international television features. The media they produced has been seen by over a million people. We regularly pitch reporters' stories and win them paid commissions and work as fixers.
Many of the stories uncovered by our reporters have been picked up by major institutions including the EU election observation teams, advocacy organisations and policy networks. Most of the communities we work with live off grid, in slums or rural areas. Over half are women or girls, and over a third have a physical or sensory disability.
Who are we?
Radar was founded by Alice Klein and Libby Powell, freelance journalists with extensive experience of running projects in hostile environments and producing media for the international press.
In its first year, Radar won the Guardian Tech Talent competition and was shortlisted for the Nominet Trust NT100 longlist of 100 Top Social Innovations with Digital Technology. The organisation and its founders were recently named in journalism.co.uk's Top 50 Female Innovators in Digital Journalism.
How can I help?
100% of the money you donate will go towards the development of a new digital platform that will connect our reporters to Radar's central news hub as swiftly and securely as possible. It will allow us to work with a greater number of reporters simultaneously. Most importantly, their data won't be owned by an external group - which could potentially remove the software and cut off our lifeline to our reporters, or access the information they are transmitting and compromise their security.
We need a total of £23,000 to finish the development, test it and launch it by the end of the year. But we are lucky! A previous donor has offered to match whatever amount we raise, so we only need to reach £11,500 here on Indiegogo – they will give us the other £11,500. This is an incredible opportunity and we hope our supporters can help us reach our goal, so that we can take advantage of our donor's generous offer and complete the project.