Africa News

Voices of Africa: Citizen Journalists Reporting with Mobile Phones

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Nov 13, 2009
Voices of Africa: Citizen Journalists Reporting with Mobile Phones data sheet 6273 Views

Mobile phones are the tool of choice for a new group of young reporters in Africa. Voices of Africa Media Foundation, a Netherlands-based non-profit, trains young journalists in Africa to create news videos for the web using mobiles.

The foundation currently has programs in Kenya, Ghana, Cameroon, Tanzania, Mozambique, and South Africa, with plans to expand to more countries in 2010. The training program for the young journalists lasts nine months and teaches the trainees how to create video news reports with cell phones. At the beginning of the program, the small group (there are usually six or fewer participants per program) comes together and is trained for three to four days in the basics of mobile reporting (both how to use the technology and in basic journalism).  Then they return to their communities, and for a period of six months, use the phones to make video reports on local stories.

Basic Information
Organization involved in the project?: 
Project goals: 
  • To create opportunities for young African journalists using mobiles
  • To provide news coverage of under-served areas


Brief description of the project: 

The Voices of Africa Media Foundation teaches young journalists in Africa how to use mobiles to create news videos. The nine month training program allows the students to gain online exposure for their work, while also providing free online feedback from instructors. 

Target audience: 

The target audience for students is young Africans with an interest in journalism; the program is especially trying to reach young women to join their program in order to have equal male/female participation. The viewing audience is primarily located overseas and in major African cities where the Internet is more easily accessible. 

Detailed Information
Length of Project (in months) : 
What worked well? : 
  • By choosing students from local communities, reporters are able to interact with their subjects in local languages, giving them much better access than outside organizations.
  • Mobile phones lower barriers between the reporter and the subject, are lightweight and portable, and are relatively cost-effective. 


What did not work? What were the challenges?: 
  • Difficulty of maintaining funding so that the program remains free for students
  • The program has had difficulty attracting and keeping female students; they are trying to reach an equal male-to-female enrollment
  • Finding ways to show the videos to the areas the cover