About RNW Media

VISION 

Our vision is to contribute to a world where young people in restrictive settings confidently claim their rights, assume their place in society, and shape a better future. 

MISSION  

Our mission is to unleash young people’s potential for sparking social change. We do this by identifying their needs and bringing them together in user-owned digital communities where they can safely engage on taboos and sensitive topics and generate strong stories for advocacy.   

THE RNW MEDIA APPROACH  

Aspirational   

We work in fragile states and countries where human rights are under threat from authoritarian governments, countries where armed conflict is common and rule of law weak. These countries also have large young populations and we believe young people are the key to bringing about change. Rather than focus on young people’s frustrations we focus on their aspirations – their desire to shape the  societies they live in and live fulfilling lives. This approach complements the work of those NGOs that provide humanitarian assistance in times of crisis by to working towards longer-term stability and wellbeing.   

User-centred  

We work to ensure an integrated user- and context-centered approach to everything we build and do. In other words, we meet young people where they are in terms of their key issues, language, technology and online access.

In order to do this, we first survey and map young people’s needs within our two thematic areas – Social Cohesion and Inclusive Governance (SCIG) and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR). Once we have gathered this information via both online and offline research, we analyse, manage and process it to optimise the impact of our projects.   

Data-driven  

Online data can be harnessed to feed commercial interests, promote radicalisation and spread hate. But it can also be harnessed to connect communities for positive change and fight hostility towards marginalised groups. Using digital data in ethical ways can provide insight into manipulative discourse, provide evidence for effective advocacy and amplify the voices of excluded and marginalised communities. 

Online analysis  

We are developing a state-of-the-art data strategy to help us analyse online conversations in a more systematic way, so we can provide the highest quality tailored content and moderation. Text mining and analysing textual data through machine learning algorithms offer a way to do that. Specifically, we use Natural Language Processing methods to analyse discussions on our platforms in depth. This provides insights into how the online dialogue is developing over time. Based on this information, we can also measure the impact of our efforts and continuously improve our platforms.  

Engage and influence  

The data we collect is used both to increase our engagement with young people by improving our content and engagement strategies and also to engage change makers and influence decision makers to respond to the needs of young people. The data can provide effective evidence to advocate for young people’s needs. This year we will run multiple proofs of concept using data as evidence for advocacy. The first will focus on LGBT rights in four countries as part of our ‘Rights, Evidence, Action – Amplifying Youth Voices’ programme which is funded by Amplify Change. We are working with youth-led advocacy groups to create powerful data stories which support advocacy at national, regional and international forums.    

Sustainability 

We want the platforms we launch to be independent and locally owned long after grant cycles end. Hence, from the beginning of any project, we plan how platforms are going to stand on their own two feet. We honed our approach over 2017 after various platforms no longer fit the new organisational strategy. The hard work paid off since these platforms are flourishing.  

Using innovative ways of delivering content—drones and 360° videos—the El Toque blog site addresses topics the Cuban government’s media side-lines. Last year, we saw El Toque increasingly being seen as a reliable, independent source of information. Our Ivoire Justice platform, developed for President Gbagbo’s International Criminal Court trial, was handed over to the Centre for Education for a Sustainable Society (CESD) in Ivory Coast and receives support from the Open Society Institute for Western Africa (OSIWA) under the new name, “Observateur Citoyen”. What’s Up Africa was handed over to BBC World News in April. 

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