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Digital Democracy

For immediate release: Emily Jacobi, Executive Director ejacobi(@)digital-democracy.org

Digital Democracy program Remote Access selected as winner of the Knight News Challenge Award will support creation of a toolkit to help remote communities document environmental and human rights threats in the Peruvian Amazon
Jan 17, 2013, New York, NY Digital Democracy, a nonprofit that builds community technology capacity in marginalized communities, will begin work on a new initiative called Remote Access, thanks to support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The focus of Remote Access is to develop a toolkit to support remote & indigenous communities documenting environmental and human rights issues, beginning with indigenous communities monitoring oil spills and other extractive industries in the Peruvian Amazon. Knight Foundation is the leading funder of journalism and media innovation. Through the News Challenge, Knight supports the next generation of innovations that will inform and engage communities. Support for Digital Democracys initiative underscores a commitment to ensuring that remote, vulnerable populations are able to take advantage of such innovations. In isolated areas of the Peruvian Amazon, where mining and oil drilling are impacting the environment, health, and economies of indigenous communities, residents lack the tools to collect and report these events to the outside world. Remote Access will adapt and combine existing hardware & open-source software to produce a toolkit for communities that enables them to better share their stories and make informed choices. Digital Democracy will work closely with local partners to deploy and test this mobile reporting Swiss Army Knife and train residents in its use. Many of the worst environmental and human rights abuses happen precisely because they are in areas which are remote and difficult to report from. With Remote Access we are focusing on how to bridge the gap between tools that allow for communities to report on these issues, and the communities who are most vulnerable to such threats, said Emily Jacobi, Digital Democracys Executive Director. Remote Access will make it easier for our partners to engage in evidence-based advocacy: telling stories and visualizing data in order to influence decision-makers, policy and development plans, said Gregor MacLennan, who is leading the Remote Access initiative for Digital Democracy. Our priority is empowering communities to report this information. They are the primary witnesses on the ground and long-term change will only happen with their empowerment and increased agency over their lives. Remote Access is a collaboration between Digital Democracy and a network of local and international partner organizations and open-source tool developers. Dd will share the toolkit with a global network of community organizations. Digital Democracy | 109 W. 27th St 6th Fl, New York NY 10001 | www.digital-democracy.org | @digidem

Digital Democracy (Dd) is a New York-based non-profit working globally to empower marginalized communities to use technology to fight for their human rights. Founded in 2008 on the idea that technology should be used to help all voices securely engage in democratic action, Dd has brought its adaptive, agile approach and expertise in technology and human rights to 25 countries. Dd collaborates with local partners to build technology solutions which empower their efforts as leaders in their communities. For more information visit www.digital-democracy.org or follow @digidem on Twitter. Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit KnightFoundation.org. For more information, contact Emily Jacobi, ejacobi@digital-democracy.org skype/twitter: emjacobi Gregor MacLennan, gmaclennan@digital-democracy.org

Digital Democracy | 109 W. 27th St 6th Fl, New York NY 10001 | www.digital-democracy.org | @digidem