PROJECT: European Journalism Centre – “After Ebola”

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The world’s media extensively covered the Ebola crisis at its peak, but over time, the epidemic’s impact on communities in West Africa has fallen off the news agenda.

And while millions of donor dollars eventually poured in to help contain and defeat the virus, its after effects – social, cultural and economic – will continue to be felt for years to come.

After Ebola picks up the story where the world left off. A partnership between New Internationalist magazine and media advocates On Our Radar, this multi-platform project reconnects with On Our Radar’s trained network of citizen reporters in Sierra Leone to build a comprehensive picture of the disease’s aftermath.

Phase one offered the ‘story behind the story’. On the After Ebola hub, you can see the germination of the recovery stories that reporters investigated across the country, starting from SMS messages.

These ideas were the building blocks for a web documentary / digital feature Back in Touch, which was published on 27 May. Narrated by citizen journalists, it draws on the experiences of ordinary Sierra Leoneans, offering an intimate window into how communities cope with, and process, an epidemic.

Then the June edition of New Internationalist magazine took a critical look at the humanitarian response and health systems deficit. Ebola is not a new disease – it’s been around since 1976 – so why did over 11,000 West Africans die 2014-16? Did we learn the right lessons from the outbreak, and is Sierra Leone ready, should the virus return?

Tune into the story on Twitter with #AfterEbola.

Full project links and syndicated content can be found here.

PRODUCTION: Alzheimer’s Society social media campaign (UK)

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Each day during the 2015 advent period, a group of people living with dementia (the dementiadiaries.org network) shared their own personal stories on Alzheimer’s Society’s ‘Dementia Friends’ social media channels.

http://dementiadiaries.org/tag/door-into-dementia

However, this was no ordinary social media campaign – the featured stories were all sent in using custom-built 3D printed reporting phones (as pictured here) by the Dementia Diarists. The simplicity of the phone’s design allows the reporters to send in audio reports directly to a digital hub, where the reports are then edited and shared on Facebook and Twitter. This process allows people with dementia – typically underrepresented in the digital sphere – to have their voices heard and their stories shared online.

The reports, recorded as the reporters go about their daily life, provide a unique and intimate insight into their world.

The reporters shared uplifting stories about living well with dementia – about their passion for art, music, running and campaigning, and how families, friends and communities have been drawn closer together post-diagnosis. They also reported on complications of social isolation, stigma and changing relationships with friends and family, and explore ‘homely’ themes about the individual and unexpected ways that dementia affects their day-to-day lives.

SPECIAL FEATURE: Nigerian Election coverage, 2015.

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Role: Producer, Editor, Writer, Mentor & Co-ordinator.


The 2015 Niger Delta elections project – designed in partnership with Stakeholder Democracy Network – was an On Our Radar special feature. The project enabled a network of citizen journalists based around the Niger Delta to report on the elections using basic mobile phones.

Initial training sessions were delivered in November 2014 and in the months that followed, over 130 reports were published covering the run up to and aftermath of of the election.

The citizen reporters investigated what communities on the ground wanted from their new government, reflected on a successful democratic transition, and flagged local instances irregularities, violence or intimidation.

Their stories were regularly picked up by international media.

http://www.onourradar.org/nigerdelta/

Feature writing:

https://ceasefiremagazine.co.uk/nigeria-elections-a-victory-democracy-electorate-people/

SMS Voices (Sierra Leone & Kenya)

Special Projects

Role: Communications designer & project co-ordinator.


 

Remote citizens across the world can struggle to engage with governing bodies who often reside in (and prioritise) urban areas. As mobile prevalence increases, SMS is becoming a practical tool for improving information sharing and active citizenship within more remote populations.

Working with award-winning communications agency – On Our Radar, we built a unique communications system that connect remote citizens to their local councillors using SMS. Across Sierra Leone and Kenya, we invited farmers, teachers, full time mothers, students and traders to participate and become community reporters. Each was training to used text messaging to highlight issues of local concern to their local councillors, by sending them anonymous micro-reports via SMS. Each report includes factual material crowdsourced from their communities, covering any of the five thematic areas: youth, governance, access to services, gender, and justice and security. These messages are received by participating local councillors, who also received training. The councillors are asked to respond via SMS and explain to reporters their planned response to the problems raised. Rather than going from handset to handset, the SMS reports were transmitted via On Our Radar’s custom-built online platform, which stores the reports online, so they can be tracked by theme, location and councillor responsiveness.

I managed the network of both of these projects and worked to develop engagement strategies that took into account a range of issues related to user connectivity, capacity and confidence.

SPECIAL FEATURE: Ebola coverage, Sierra Leone

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Role: Producer, Editor, Writer, Mentor & Co-ordinator.


Citizen journalists across Sierra Leone reported on their Ebola experiences throughout the 2014-16 Ebola crisis. This blog details the award-winning coverage.

I trained, mentored and co-ordinated a network of reporters across the country, as they reported stories from the heart of the outbreak. I also developed written content for Al Jazeera Online, the Guardian, Channel 4 News Online, Sahara Reporters & Vice News, amongst others. Audio-video content sourced and produced independently for BBC World Service, BBC Outside Source, BBC World News TV and CBC Radio.

Visit the main On Our Radar site to find out more about this unique process.