Channel 16: a new crowdsourcing initiative on disasters and conflict

September 1, 2010

     By Duncan Green     

This is exciting – a new crowdsourcing initiative on humanitarian emergencies that combines wikipedia, youtube and Ushahidi to dig deeper, be more channel 16user-generated and more linked to taking action than standard media coverage. It’s called Channel 16, and here’s the blurb:

“Named after the broadcast frequency of an international distress signal, Channel 16 creates a new frontline for responding to global crises. Via Channel 16, people can see reports from the epicentre of humanitarian emergencies and long term crises and learn what actions they can take to help.

Channel 16’s international network of eyewitness bloggers provides a view from the ground, not a newsdesk. This access to unmediated, direct news makes Channel16 a unique source, unembedded in any army, uncensored by any regime, unprejudiced by any agenda other than to help those in need.”

For a taste, read this account by an aid worker of surviving the chaos of Mogadishu on the 50th anniversary of Somalia’s independence.The remit is humanitarian, with pages on the Pakistan floods, child soldiers hunger and floods in the Sahel, and education and conflict. Channel 16 is looking for original content –  text, stills or video – uploaded from areas of humanitarian emergency by email, text, twitter, phone or online. It’s geared to advocacy and action on humanitarian issues, as well as raising awareness. And it’s also available in French and Spanish. Check it out.

[declaration of interest: Channel 16 is an independent organization, but Oxfam is supporting the initiative, along with War Child, Merlin, the International Crisis Group and lots of others]