What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?
The Haiti Earthquake. By positioning community radio as a communications link between humanitarian aid providers and civilians, Internews served a vital role for earthquake victims - Internews and its network of Haitian reporters received and distributed vital aid information – using mobile short code launched by Ushahidi - which helped gather reports of local needs in real time. Post – earthquake, Internews interviewed survivors, to determine how people continue to get news, so that information can be best targeted to continue serving the local population.
In the past couple years, mapping and crowdsourcing software plus mobile messaging via SMS have proven to be vital tools for organizing humanitarian response and enhancing communication with affected populations during a crises. Internews, HealthMap and FrontlineSMS have all been used with great success in recent humanitarian efforts including the current flooding in Pakistan and the recent earthquake in Haiti. Seeing the dramatic results that community radio achieves when working with new media tools– to catalyze and accelerate strategic communications interventions – has led us to adapt the model for similar poor infrastructure settings to improve healthcare delivery.
The Korogocho pilot links new media tools, including mapping and crowdsourcing software, mobiles and SMS, to community radio, which provides the space for localizing the dialogue and allows the information to be shared with Korogocho slum residents who are most affected and to the health workers who serve them. At the same time, the community radio journalists trained by Internews can adjust and iterate targeted health programming to their listenership. The leveraging of resources between old and new media results in empowering communities like Korogocho to take charge of their own health.
Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.
Internews is an international media development organization whose mission is to empower local media worldwide, to give people the news and information they need, the ability to connect, and the means to make their voices heard. Information is the power that can change the world. We are in the midst of a revolution in human communication that is profoundly reshaping our future. Yet, for nearly half the planet, the promise of this revolution has not been fulfilled.
Working in some of the most difficult environments around the world, Internews pioneers applications of new technologies for development and designs and implements innovative solutions to programmatic and operational challenges. Independent, local media can enable people in the midst of crisis or suffering from oppressive poverty can begin to take an active role in their own survival and recovery. In the past 10 years, the mobile revolution has dramatically improved the way relief and healthcare are provided to people caught up in disasters and crises. However, much more could be done to keep vulnerable populations informed of assistance efforts and healthcare support and be able to engage them in their own recovery process. Strong, effective, local media are uniquely positioned to play a catalytic role in engaging communities to take charge of their own health.
Internews recognizes that social progress involves a commitment to long-term engagement, flexibility in approach, and persistent encouragement of partners and programs. Through its programs, Internews improves the reach, quality, and sustainability of local media, enabling them to better serve the information needs of their communities.
Internews has worked in over 70 countries and trained over 80,000 people in media skills1. Together with local partners, our activities include establishing and supporting media outlets, journalist associations, and broadcast networks. We also have special programs to improve reporting on the environment, humanitarian crises, public health and women’s issues.
Formed in 1982, Internews Network is a 501(c)(3) organization headquartered in California. The organization currently works in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and North America (see map). Internews Network has projected revenues of $35 million for 2010.
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