Ashoka Changemakers with support from Google seeks nominations for Citizen Media: A Global Innovation Competition

Media connects people to their world, gives voice to their ideas and dreams, and equips them with knowledge to improve their lives and the lives of others. In all these ways, media catalyzes participatory citizenship, on both a local and global scale.

But even in this age of pervasive media, many millions of people marginalized by political and economic barriers lack access to even the most basic tools of information — thereby depriving them of valuable input and connection, and depriving the rest of the world of their voices.

Ashoka Changemakers in partnership with Google hopes to change that by inviting the world’s citizens — notably you — to enter Citizen Media: A Global Innovation Competition with the purpose of boosting media access and participation around the world. Here are some initial ideas for what strong entries might hope to achieve:

  • Give voice to underserved, vulnerable populations, introducing them to media creation and distribution (e.g., crowdsourcing strategies, training to advance digital literacy);
  • Equip journalists and publishers with tools or channels to report important news that otherwise gets missed (e.g., content creation, aggregation and distribution solutions);
  • Advance free speech and privacy protections (e.g., encryption tools to protect the identity of content creators and users);
  • Address the financial sustainability of quality news (e.g., micropayments systems that reward journalists, models for revenue sources); and
  • Help people better navigate information and ascertain content reliability and authenticity (e.g., content sorting and fact-checking tools).

Who should enter

If you are a changemaker who is transforming the way people communicate or access news and information, we want to hear from you! Ashoka Changemakers are seeking innovations that will allow all global citizens to have a voice and the information they need to make change. They welcome solutions that work with any communication or information technologies—not just the Internet. The competition is open to solutions around the world, though they can only accept your entry in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Arabic, Thai, Indonesian, Mandarin, or Japanese.

Why you should enter

  • –        Connect to a global online community that supports the impact you are making, or seeking to make, on the ground.
  • –        Gain visibility with our community and our competition partner, Google.
  • –        Position yourself as a candidate for an Ashoka Fellowship within our News & Knowledge program.
  • –        A Chance to win!

Prizes you can win

One of four US $5,000 cash prizes in unrestricted funding to boost your project. A US $500 additional cash prize (if you enter before August 3, 2011). Consideration for an Ashoka Fellowship—complete with a three-year living stipend, international recognition, and access to a network of systems-changing social entrepreneurs.


If you know of someone with a great idea, nominate their project. The innovator will receive an invitation to enter.

Last date for submission of applications is September 14, 2011

For more information and details, please visit this link.


  1. International Union of Parents and Teachers Associatio says:

    Educational aspects of the project
    The project, a framework to support the co-financing of long-term eradication measures of the International Union of Parents and Teachers Association, is expected to deliver multiple educational benefits including the facilitation of printing examination papers nationwide meeting the Ghana Education Service (GES) deadline for vacation, issuing of report cards before vacation and of highest priority, prevent the sacking and severe punishments meted out to children who do not meet the payment deadlines for printing fees, thereby affirming the child’s innocence in issues concerning payments of printing fees. All these processes will be thoroughly assess in details to ensure accountability and continuity.

    In considering and responding to this our proposal, will let us to enjoy better earning potential, having a stronger decision-making and negotiation skills as well as high self esteem in our activities (administration), to eradicate high poverty in schools and we also seek your administration or personal co-operation and assistance to educate, advocate, inform and sensitize parents, teachers, stakeholders, organizations, etc through our meetings, press conferences and other conferences; on the problems faced by the nations’ education service.
    Batmong Bismark
    Nankpandol – Tamale
    IUPTA- Ghana

  2. Dr Flip Loots says:

    By Triple M Productions


    1.1 In 1990 UNESCO launched EFA (Education for All), an international initiative first launched in Jomtien, Thailand, to bring the benefits of education to “every citizen in every society” and to provide quality education for all children, youth, and adults by the year 2015. The goal is to achieve at least a 50 % improvement in adult literacy by 2015, especially for women, and equitable access to basic and continuing education for all adults. The international community reaffirmed its commitment to EFA in Dakar, Senegal, in April 2000 and again in September of that year.

    1.2 According to the Minister of Labour in South Africa, Me Midred N Oliphant, the labour market system in South Africa as at the end of 2010 has been characterised, among others, by:
    • Over 4.2 million persons unemployed
    • Of the above 2.8 million are long-term unemployed
    • Of the unemployed, the most are young people between 25 and 34 years of age
    • Of the unemployed the most have low levels of skills and work experience
    1.3 The Minister of Higher Education in South Africa, dr Blade Nzimande, when addressing the HELTASA Conference on 23 November 2010 said that there are several critical questions that must be addressed together with the universities, such as:
    • How can we increase access to our universities, especially for students from rural and poor
    • How can we ensure that increased access is accompanied by measures that will ensure a
    reasonable degree of success for the students? In particular, how can university curricula,
    programmes, structures, facilities and cultures be more welcoming and responsive to the
    needs of students from diverse backgrounds? While we note increased enrolments in higher
    education, and are heartened by this, student retention, throughput, and graduation rates,
    especially in certain fields, and for particular sectors of our population remains highly
    1.4 The World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) met from 24 May to 4 June 2010 in Hyderabad,
    India, to monitor the process decided upon in 2000 as to uplift the educational standard of people all over the world. The Year 2010 marked the midpoint between the Tunis phase (2005) and the deadline (2015) for achieving the ten targets that governments agreed upon at the World Summit on the Information Society. These targets range from connecting villages, schools, health centers, libraries, and government agencies, to developing content, and providing ICT services to people. The report shows that, in a number of cases, substantial efforts need to be made to achieve the targets. Some of the targets are inter alia:


    • Target 1: The mobile phone with built-in FM-reception facility are used by more rural families
    • Target 2: UNESCO’s International Standard Classification of Education determines that learners at schools must be connected with ITC via radio used for educational purposes
    • Target 4: According to UNESCO’s Institute of Statistics libraries are required to meet the educational needs of its users
    • Target 8: Radio broadcasting, as part of the so called “traditional media,” can serve important educational purposes by transmitting courses and other instructional material. Radio is the most important medium for low-income developing nations, given that it does not require electricity.

    1.5 According to the latest South Africa & SADC Media Facts 2011 report, 91.4% of the people have access to radio (= 91.4% = 45 700 000 people) while only 13.2% (= 6 600 000 people) have access to the internet. Add to this the fact that 92,4% of the people in South Africa (= 46 200 000 people are mobile subscribers (with build-in FM transmitters).

    2. CONCEPT

    2.1 A National 24 hours per day Educational Radio Station broadcasting various courses to candidates nationwide, known as Edu-Radio. Where it is impossible for hundreds of thousands candidates to enroll at universities and/or colleges because of the lack of accommodation, millions can now enroll through the radio for education. Candidates will not lose years of waiting for possible access to universities. They can start their educational training as soon as they have completed their secondary education. The private sector as well as universities, churches, community institutions, etc., sponsor and make bursaries available to candidates so as to minimize the tutorial costs. The study material will be accessible at the local library, community centre, schools end/or churches. These broadcasts are also available in audio streamed formats.

    2.2 Edu-Radio is driven by the Department of Communication regarding the technical part of it, as well as the Departments of Education regarding the content to be broadcasted. It is managed by Triple M Productions.

    2.3 The project: Edu-Radio is to be approved by the Government of South Africa so as to instigate a National Educational Radio Station and to budget for a portion of the expenses.
    2.4 A national radio broadcast frequency is to be obtained from ICASA by the Department of Communication.
    2.5 A Broadcast and Educational Curriculum will be decided upon under the guidance of the Department of Higher Education and in cooperation with Tertiary Institutions. UNISA and ABBOTT’S College already indicated their participation.


    2.6 As a way of job creation, local Organizers in every town or city will oversee registration, examinations, tests, and any other aspect relating to candidates that participate in the Education through Radio. These people will be indentified and trained at the start of the venture and will have to attend at least two workshops per year where problems will be discussed. This training will be ongoing where new organizers are appointed.
    2.7 In every community centre or library, there will be a radio provided so as to give students every opportunity to listen and study.
    2.8 All libraries in cities, towns and schools will be coordinated with the Content Providers, as well as private sectors, to ensure that the prescribed literature and books are available at these points. This provision will be coordinated by the Department of Higher Education.
    2.9 Only students who physically enroll for the courses presented on Edu-Radio, will qualify to receive a certificate or grade at the end of the studies. This does not prevent anyone to tune in to the broadcasts and enrich their knowledge on certain subjects.
    2.10 Once every second week on a Saturday, there will be an opportunity for discussion of the curricula by the students with the lecturers, either by means of telephone, cell phones, Internet, Skype, etc. Lecturers will make themselves available for these sessions. The Local Organizers will coordinate these opportunities.
    2.11 Participating and sponsoring Private Organizations will regularly be informed as to the progress of the students learning through radio, as well as the outcomes for possible job opportunities.
    2.12 The educational programmes/lectures will be recorded by Triple M Productions, edited and professionally presented on air, at least two months before broadcasting. All technical aspects of Education through Radio will be under the auspices of Triple M Productions.
    2.13 The broadcasts will be done in three sectors per day of eight hours each, the first eight hours carrying the original content, with two sectors of eight hours each repeats so as to enable students to tune in at any time that suits them. These broadcasts will be during week days, whilst the whole week’s broadcast is repeated over weekends.
    2.14 The Radio broadcasts on Edu-Radio will also be audio streamed so as to give students access to the content even after broadcasts.
    2.15 At some stage the Department of Labor will be involved in the Education through Radio, so as to help the students that successfully complete their courses, to find adequate work.


    3. FUNDING

    3.1 Edu-Radio will initially mainly be funded by the Department of Communication. It is envisaged that, although there will always be a small financial input by the said Departments, within one and a half years the main expenditure of this venture will be from the private sector, either by means of sponsorship, bursaries, advertisements, donations, or any other means of income.
    3.2 To start up the venture, an amount of $50 000 is needed.


    4.1 Edu-Radio is more cost effective for the student for there is no expenses for the course material, housing, and a minimum of travel expenses.
    4.2 Edu-Radio is less expensive for the Educational System, for far less teachers/lecturers and teaching locations are needed.
    4.3 The best tutors in the specific course fields are brought together for the sake of the students country wide.
    4.4 Many more students than currently, in fact all that want to, can enroll in courses on Edu-Radio.
    4.5 Education is brought to the deepest rural areas to those who otherwise would never have been able to study for a degree or a diploma.
    4.6 The student can choose the time which is most suitable for his/her/s needs according to the daily repetitive programme schedule.
    4.7 Older people who are not in any position to formally study further, can also benefit by listening to the educational broadcast and in doing so, the educational standard of the nation is uplifted.

    Dr Flip Loots
    © Founder and CEO
    PO BOX 102314
    Moreleta Plaza
    Pretoria 0167
    South Africa