As a relatively young organisation we’re proud to have achieved a lot in a short amount of time:
- Over 400 citizen reporters have been trained alongside partners such as Christian Aid, Kids Company, Comic Relief and Leonard Cheshire Disability, forming active reporter networks in Sierra Leone, Kenya, Nigeria and the UK.
- The networks represent a diverse demographic, led by youth with disabilities, women and girls from traditional communities, slum dwellers, care leavers, youth with experience of homelessness, and elders with early stage dementia.
- Their reports have been shared on BBC TV and Radio, Channel 4, Sky and in international media, with articles in The Guardian, Huffington Post, Al Jazeera, and New Internationalist.
- Using simple SMS, reporters have been able to influence local councils, EU election observers, NGOs and service providers, tackling problems such as human rights abuses, corruption and electoral fraud.
- A number of reporters have found paid work or been admitted into higher education and cite their training and reporting as a significant contributing factor.
- Reporters in Sierra Leone and Kenya have gone on to independently train their own successful reporting groups.
The power and potential of our approach is best described by the reporters themselves. Here are just two stories from the 400 reporters we have supported:
Amjata Bayoh, Freetown, Sierra Leone
I am a citizen journalist and community health advocate in Sierra Leone, and I have been reporting for On Our Radar since 2012. As a young journalist I am happy to see the impact On Our Radar has created in my career: my involvement with them has brought my work to the world as they have helped me in getting published in some of the world’s most renowned media outlets like BBC World Service, Channel 4 News, Huffington post, The Guardian, Think Africa Press and more which has added great value to my CV. I now work for the Social Mobilisation Action Consortium (SMAC), the largest social mobilisation network in the Ebola Response. My working experience with On Our Radar made me stand out to be consider as the best candidate for the job during the recruitment process.”
Sidi Sarro, Mombasa, Kenya
“Thanks to On Our Radar I have become a skilled reporter, but also an able trainer. Through working with local community leaders and with the support of women’s groups and organizations, I have now started doing my own training with women in the skills of micro reporting… I am currently working on a concept to be submitted to the local county assembly to support me in training more women and youth in the same skills I learned.”
We’re at the very beginning of a journey to systematically understand the impact that our work has on reporters’ lives, and on the behaviour of the groups they seek to influence. As well as drawing on established good practices for evidence and evaluation, we’re excited about the opportunity to use our technology and communication skills to find new ways to track the effectiveness of our work.
We’re also aware that not every piece of work we do will be a simple ‘success story’ like those told above by Sidi and Amjata above. To help other organisations learn from our mistakes – and as part of own commitment to learn and improve as fast as possible – we’re documenting key challenges and failures here.