Connecting South Sudanese women through digital media

Connecting South Sudanese women through digital media

London, United Kingdom
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

This project will seed and support a network of female citizen journalists across South Sudan, ensuring they have the tools, the training and the networks they need at the dawn of independence.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Our project brings together two of the world’s most powerful tools: the media and the internet. Digital media steers policy, charity, investment, tourism and political will. Yet it is riddled with black holes and blind spots. Women and girls are globally sidelined as contributors, particularly those with low economic status, living with disabilities or low literacy. South Sudan is the world's newest state but suffers some of the worst developmental indicators. Approx 90% of South Sudanese women are illiterate; their rights to education and security stifled by 22 years of civil war, sexual violence and displacement. Yet 52% of voters in last year's referendum were women. Their role as architects of this new nation will be crucial. They need the skills to share that journey with the world.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Our project will work with 60 women and girls in South Sudan to map their access to local technology and design realistic media training according to the tools at hand. We will collaborate with academic partners to research the prevalence and reliability of local digital resources. We will then offer ambitious but feasible media training that will demystify citizen journalism and help trainees use and maximise the tools around them. The training will cover new media such as podcasts and blogging by SMS which don't rely on strong literacy. For all our trainees, Radar will act as a specialist news agency, linking them with media creators, mentors and editors across the world in partnership with BBC Media Action and the Guardian Foundation. 10% of trainees will receive additional training as Media Coordinators to help sustain the national network and in return, Radar will equip and register them as fixers with international media outlets opening new opportunities for income generation
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

The digital divide is deepened by a lack of reliable information about technological accessibility for different demographic groups. We will collaborate with academic partners to research the prevalence and reliability of digital and media production resources in each locality, and gather information about the practical, social and attitudinal barriers that women face in accessing computers, software, modems, smart phones, mobile and telephone lines, and recording equipment. Many of these existing resources will be owned by government depts, NGOs, health and education institutions, private businesses and media outlets and used by a small group during working hours. We will partner with businesses and institutions to open access to these resources for our trainees. We will then offer ambitious but feasible media training that will demystify citizen journalism and help trainees harness the tools around them. At the end of the training 60 women and girls will understand how to source reliable information and manage quotes, understand the legal and practical considerations in whistle-blowing and criticism, show a basic grasp of a range of media and production tools including micro-blogging via SMS, posting photos, video and audio clips, collecting data, online mapping and social networking. We will also offer guidance on reporting on crisis, health, elections and climate change. Trainees will be introduced to mentors and editors who can work with them to produce quality media for international media platforms, amplifying voices that would otherwise remain below the radar.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Several major media bodies offer media training in South Sudan such as BBC Media Action, Internews, Reuters and The Union of Journalists of South Sudan, who all support and train journalists. While the resources, experience and partnership of these agencies will be valuable, much of their work is on advancing professional journalism in country and offering additional skills to those already working in media production. Our focus is on promoting citizen journalism in low connectivity settings and gender inclusion within digital access. The challenge will be to form sustainable partnerships that avoid duplication, streamline resources and share funding opportunities. We are open to collaboration and hope to offer a bridge between NGO, academic and media bodies.

Founding Story

This story starts on the edge of Freetown, in a derelict scrapyard that is home to a group of 25 disabled street children. As a foreign journalist, I stood and listened as a young man shouted and screamed at me in frustration. At 21, Fengai had been on the streets for a decade, his body disfigured by polio and his chances for a livelihood destroyed by a family and a society who feared and rejected him. A week later, I sat in a tiny radio station in the rural town on Kabala listening to young women called Elizabeth Katta. Her story echoed Fengai’s. When polio stuck, she was starved and beaten by her mother who thought she was possessed. The story splits at the point where she was found by an NGO who gave her basic media training to challenge the entrenched beliefs around disability through radio. That day, her words flowed into the mic and into the homes of listeners: "The time for action is now! We have been hidden for too long. We are here and we speak for the voiceless'.
About You
Radar Media Development
About You
First Name


Last Name


About Your Organization
Organization Name

Radar Media Development

Organization Country

, London

Country where this project is creating social impact
Age of Innovator


Gender of Innovator


How long has your organization been operating?

Less than a year

Has the organization received awards or honors? Please tell us about them

The project arose from a collaboration between two journalists who were both selected for the Guardian International Development Journalism Competition.
Founder Libby Powell won the newcomers' category of the global competition in 2010 and Co-Founder Alice Klein was one of eight shortlisted journalists for the professional category in 2011.
As a result, the project has the official endorsement from the Guardian Foundation.

The information you provide here will be used to fill in any parts of your profile that have been left blank, such as interests, organization information, and website. No contact information will be made public. Please uncheck here if you do not want this to happen..

How long have you been in operation?

Operating for less than a year

Which of the following best describes the barrier(s) your innovation addresses? Choose up to two

Access, Quality.

Social Impact
What solution(s) does your initiative address to better the lives of girls and women by leveraging technology? (select all applicable)

Access to technology, Access to education/training, Access to economic opportunity.

What has been the impact of your solution to date?

Radar is a new development start-up, founded this summer. Our first project is due to take place in Sierra Leone in October and we will use that experience to improve on our solution and take on board participants’ feedback in time for our project in South Sudan in March 2013.
We have already established partnerships and working relationships with BBC Media Action, the Guardian Foundation and South Sudanese media outlets which will secure a broadcast and multimedia platform for our trainees across the world. We are developing open sourced media training materials which are accessible to those with low literacy and sensory disabilities.

What is your projected impact over the next 1-3 years?

Over the next 1-3 years this project will contribute to the following outcomes:
Challenge isolation and empower women and girls in South Sudan through media development;
Connect 60 new female citizen journalists to one another and to media outlets across the world;
Build local media capacity and independence;
Improve public awareness and coverage of South Sudan;
Improve the quality and richness of international media by adding to the diversity of voice;
Challenge gender stereotypes locally, nationally and globally;
Highlight and expand the reach of digital media in South Sudan;
Generate new data and research regarding access to technology.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?

Poor mobile and internet connectivity can be minimised by offering guidelines for uploading content from a low connectivity setting and drawing on our partnerships to ensure connection lines are shared.
National or regional instability will need to be monitored through liaison with field partners and through Twitter and local media networks.
To ensure ongoing funding, we will build up a diverse funding portfolio using tools such as crowd-funding sites such as Kickstarter, Twitter and Facebook to expand our donor network.
To overcome language & literacy barriers we will ensure that material is translated into a range of local languages and audiovisual.
To help to remove the cost barrier of expenses incurred by the trainee in the media production, Radar will commission work for $15.

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

Over 90% of our trainees will have created at least three pieces of media for the web.

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Task 1

Effective beneficiary selection through field partners based on their interest and ability to attend and use the training

Task 2

Carry out a comprehensive mapping of resources and issues with access in the three areas of South Sudan

Task 3

Design and deliver a relevant, sustainable training programme that introduces a range of accessible tools for media production

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

Over 30% of trainees have successfully pitched independently to national or international media outlets

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Task 1

Ensure training is backed up with dedicated technical and editorial support from Radar and our network of mentors

Task 2

Use the latest social media networks and digital tools to ensure the widest possible disemination of our trainees’ work

Task 3

Sustain and develop editorial contacts to maximise the chances of trainee commissions

Tell us about your partnerships

We have an official partnership with the Guardian Foundation and a working relationship with BBC Media Action. These partnerships are hugely valuable as they will allow us to access editorial networks in both broadcast and print journalism as well as the training resources developed by both institutions. Through these partnerships our networks at a global and local level have expanded significantly and will continue to develop.
We are also partnering with Leonard Cheshire Disability to ensure the accessibility of our materials and online content.

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list