Digital Democracy has been selected as one of eight winners of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s Knight News Challenge on Mobiles for Remote Access, empowering remote and off-the-grid communities with a toolkit to report environmental and human rights threats.
Our pilot program will focus on supporting indigenous communities monitoring oil spills in the Peruvian Amazon.
Please check out our official press release and additional information below. Tune in tomorrow (Friday, Jan. 18th at 12:30pm ET) for a livestream presentation of the winning projects, at knightfoundation.org/live.
What is Remote Access?
The goal of Remote Access is to adapt existing hardware & open-source software tools to the specific needs of communities living in remote areas - those living on the front lines of the struggle for land, resources and agency over their lives. Our approach is to bridge the gap between innovative organizations developing cutting edge tools/applications and vulnerable communities who desperately need to elevate their voices. Combining existing tools into a mobile “Swiss Army Knife,” Remote Access will streamline the process through which users collect, manage and share information, empowering them to be in charge of their own information as they document pressing human & environmental rights abuses.
Many human rights abuses and environmental crimes continue unchecked for a simple reason: they go unreported and unnoticed in the world’s most fragile ecosystems and hard to reach places. In remote areas with limited access to technology and communication, communities are particularly vulnerable to threats to their lives & environment.
Technology advances - cheap digital cameras, handheld GPS & modern mobile devices and applications - have opened up tremendous opportunities for empowering communities to document environmental and human rights issues. However, many existing tools are too complex, do not work in a disconnected environment, and lack a bottom-up approach that empowers vulnerable populations to collect, control & disseminate their own data.