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We identify the most isolated groups in each society, often youth with disabilities, slum dwellers, rural women and girls and those from excluded castes.
We make contact with the local organisations who support these individuals and invite them to nominate up to three trainees.
We develop accessible training materials and learning plans to introduce the basics of principled reporting. Our focus is on micro-reporting via SMS.
The training gives us a chance to work directly with each reporter and find out the issues that matter to them. These relationships remain at the core of our work.
We encourage reporters to focus on both problems and innovation. We deliver specific training on election reporting, covering crisis and gender-sensitive journalism.
Each reporter is given a unique number to send mobile reports to Radar, for the price of a local text. It’s cheap, instant and accessible to all, including those with low literacy, disability or no access to the internet.
Radar runs a central hub from London. Using new software, each mobile report arrives as digital text, ready to be swiftly verified, edited and curated for broadcast across online media channels.
In this way, a news report from a remote village can be received, recorded and shared within minutes, without the need for local internet access.
Who We Are
Radar is a communication rights organisation run by a team of passionate journalists and development professionals.
We train and mentor networks of citizen reporters from some of the world’s most marginalised communities, and empower them to bring their news and perspectives into the public dialogue. We do this by structuring our reporting around one of the most affordable communication tools available – basic mobile phones.
Why We Exist
We believe that the best stories are told straight from the source.
Although Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights protects the right of every individual or community to speak and be heard, in practice, access to communication tools and the ability to influence the media agenda are often governed by a strict social and cultural hierarchy. Radar aims to challenge stereotypes in the press, open up the flow of critical news and democratise access to the media, giving more people a chance to engage in meaningful dialogue.
How We Work
Radar’s technical framework is built around a custom web app combining an SMS gateway, an editorial panel and a micro-site, which together bridge the gap between mobile networks in the developing world, and global information flows on the world wide web.
In practice, a news alert sent via SMS from a village in India can be received in London, analysed and verified by our expert team, and shared online with influential audiences within minutes.
We also offer pro-bono editorial support, and link trained reporters with digital storytellers, mappers, bloggers and journalists, to produce collaborative multimedia reports covering neglected news and fresh perspectives.
Radar has a charitable objective to deliver free training and services to the isolated communities we work with. To fund this work, Radar runs a third sector communications consultancy offering solutions to communication challenges, primarily in the developing world. Both the training framework and the web app we have developed are highly flexible and can be adapted to respond to complex environments and contexts.
What We’ve Achieved
In its first six months, Radar had covered two African elections, and been recognised by EU election observation teams for highlighting issues of disability and civic participation.
By the end of our first year, we had supported 250 reporters to share more than 2000 SMS news alerts from their communities, producing media that has been seen by over half a million people across social media sites.
Work from Radar reporters has appeared in the Guardian, New Internationalist and The Ecologist, along with contributions to the BBC World Service and international television features. The issues they have highlighted have been picked up by the EU election observation teams, leading advocacy organisations and policy networks.
Most of the communities we are working with are living off grid, in slums or rural villages. Over half are women and girls and over a third have a physical or sensory disability.