Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Not just for Christmas? How the Guardian tried to change development reporting

Katine students
This report by Polis intern Aivory Gaw
People are inherently self-interested. But with this self-interest comes the occasional need for altruistic action. Arise, Christmas charities where media outlets do their once a year act of humanitarian service that attracts people to donate to causes around the world. However, the problem is, this kind of service occurs just once a year. People donate money without really knowing where the funding goes or how much of a difference one donation can make. The Guardian sought to change this with Katine project.

In the latest Polis Media Dialogue, Elizabeth Ford from the Guardian explained how the Katine project was an attempt to do things differently. Launched by Alan Rusbridger in 2007 in conjunction with the African Medical and Research Foundation and Farm-Africa, the 2.5m project allowed viewers to see exactly how their money was being used, the progress of development as well as they got to know inhabitants of Katine in Northern Uganda on a more personal level.

The project focused on five areas, health, education, water sanitation, livelihoods of children and governance. Developments were reported through the official Katine project website on the Guardian. What was unique about the project was that it encouraged citizens to get involved as well, engaging the community by providing them with a voice. A resource center was set up with 4-5 computers that enabled people to come in, post their own comments, write their own blogs, take some cameras and provide their own account or their own story.
See the list of upcoming Dialogues here.
Watch the full video of the seminar here – starting at 16″