Crowdsourcing Campaign funds African journalists to fight the spread of Ebola

Our successful IndieGogo fundraising campaign has raised 5,000 USD in direct support for African Journalists reporting in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

The campaign, a first ever collaboration between The World Federation of Science Journalists (WFSJ) the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) and Hirondelle USA, is the first stage of a soon-to-be-launched international journalism training program initiated by the WFSJ. The program will contribute to bridging the communication gap among key stakeholders in the Ebola crisis, by positioning local media at the center of the communication channels and enhancing the use of credible information by the media.

The Ebola outbreak continues to threaten the economy and lives of many families in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. Beyond the devastating effect of Ebola, poor communication has clearly heightened fear among the public, while potentially seeding confusion among scientists and journalists who report the outbreak. Much of the official communication efforts on Ebola haven’t been very effective at reaching communities that exist largely in an information blackout.  There is a certain degree of mistrust between the local communities that have been hit hard by the virus and the various agencies on the ground whose messages don’t always concur with local culture and idiom. Amongst other things, this led to the sad story of eight members of a team—including two journalists—trying to raise awareness about Ebola, being killed by villagers in Guinea.

In many regions rural radio is the most trusted source of information for local communities.  But these local radios lack the tools to report accurately and timely in this chaotic situation. They need fuel and electricity to air their programs, telephone and voice recorders to carry out interviews, transportation to reach their news “sources” and the communities.

Every dollar pledged to this campaign will go towards providing much-needed equipment to local radio stations in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Your help will enable journalists to focus solely on checking news sources, delivering credible and trustworthy information to populations in crisis and not worry about their recording equipment or how they will reach the interview site.

Hirondelle USA and AMARC in Western Africa will use the funds to buy much needed supplies and equipment that will be distributed amongst a range of local community and rural radio stations based in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. A list of beneficiary stations will be provided upon request.

Photo : Jean-Claude CAPT | Foundation Hirondelle