Digital activism key to galvanising communities

Cliff Shiko a reporter with Alex FM stresses a point during the Act Ubumbano launch

Press release                                                                                     17
October 2018

Digital activism key to galvanising communities

“Cellphones have
become a critical tool to change lives in communities.”This was highlighted by community
activists at the launch of the Ubumbano Voice Community Project in Johannesburg
today. Bobby Marie of the Bench Marks Foundation facilitated a panel discussion
on the value of digital media in promoting social change. He said “We have not understood fully how significant cellphones
are in driving change in communities. An app like this has massive potential to
bring communities’ voice into the mainstream”

Community activist from Thulani Snake Park, Thoko Mntambo echoed this
sentiment when she described how digital tools have helped her expose many of
the difficulties the communities face by living next to discarded mine dumps
and tailing dams. She told of children being affected by cerebral palsy,
respiratory disease and other medical conditions caused directly by exposure to
poisonous chemicals.

Mukasiri Sibanda of the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA)challenged journalists to pay attention to the stories
of communities. “We have a wealth of information, but a poverty of attention by
the media”. Reporting on community experiences can help to hold investors and
governments accountable for decision that affect the wellbeing of people living
in mining-affected communities.

The app is a
platform for interaction, learning and exchange ideas amongst local and various
stakeholders. This seeks to give voice to communities we work with, and that
builds solidarity across the global south and north.Clarity Sibanda from the Zimbabwe
Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) is the moderator of information
that flows to the app, and described it as “a way of communities telling their
stories without being filtered by anyone – it is authentic community voice”.The challenge is for journalists to get in touch with
those who post stories, and the app can help them do that.

The app can be
downloaded from the Play Store.

NOTE TO EDITORS:The Ubumbano Community Voice website and application is a platform for
community activists in Southern Africa to share stories of their struggles for
dignity and justice, and for journalists and others to get direct access to
those stories. It is supported by the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of
faith-based organisations.

FOR MORE INFORMATION AND
INTERVIEWS CONTACT:

Nhlanhla Kubeka

frayintermedia:
Account manager

Tel: +27 11 888
0140

Cell: +27 79
847 897

Email: nkubeka@frayintermedia.com

Ashely
Green-Thompson

ACT Alliance:
Change Manager

Cell: +27
83 442 4497

Email: AGreen-Thompson@christian-aid.org

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