ANIC is looking for ideas that will transform the way that African media work. This means that your idea should offer significant and tangible improvements to existing tools or techniques, or should propose new ways for African journalists to gather news, tell stories, engage with audiences, or sustain media organisations.
Ideas that have the potential to be replicated or that could scale continentally will have an advantage.
Use mobiles, citizen activists and community radio to inform communities about government social projects and collect and broadcast feedback.
To our knowledge, our proposed deployment is a unique amalgamation of established tools and approaches. We are putting them together in a simpler, easier to set up and replicate fashion.
In Liberia, the government and aid organizations allocate funds in social sectors – health, infrastructure, education – and this information is available in public budgets. Communities generally do not know what has been promised. We will publicize allocations, broadcast citizen reports on project progress, and get answers to citizen questions from government.
We will set up a community hotline linking listeners and community radio stations in 12 counties, covering nearly all Liberia, including remote rural areas. Liberia Media Center will feed information to stations about government & aid group allocations; radio stations publicize to communities, and request listeners to call and SMS field reports about implementation. LMC takes the calls, analyzes the data, researches queries and responds to callers. Frequent/important questions and citizen journalist updates from communities are sent to the radio stations, who broadcast the information to the community, creating a responsive open dialogue about governance and accountability countrywide.
We are a two–organization team. Liberia Media Center is an independent and legally registered not-for-profit media organization that fosters development of the local media through the utilization of communication and information sources. LMC assists media and civil society with professional services in a wide range of areas including research, training, outreach and mass communication.
Question Box is a US nonprofit experienced in India and Uganda in teaching community organization how to set up hotlines, using accessible technologies and local people.
Question Box has previously built the community hotline system in Uganda, focusing on agriculture and general interest questions, and in several villages across India, answering thousands of questions at the community level.
The LMC is already working with 17 community radio stations across the country, and is experienced in media mentorship and citizen advocacy. What is new here is merging Question Box’s hotline methodology and software with LMC’s network. LMC will use staff resources to research government allocations, answer citizen questions, and build community-reported dossiers for local radio stations to broadcast.
We will also seek international humanitarian agency sponsors, who can use the service for realtime, on the ground monitoring and evaluation. Callers hear a sponsored message when calling LMC’s governance and social program hotline. We will seek out telcom sponsorship for the phone minutes, as well as corporate sponsors.