Category: m-News & Journalism
Original title: Swara IVR
Media Format: Mobile/IVR
language: Hindi, English, Gondi, Chhattisgarhi, Kudukh, Arabic, Bahasa Indonesia
In a country where more than 80 million tribal people lack access to mainstream media outlets, ‘Swara’ has proven to be an effective bridge between the poorest sections of society in remote areas and the administration and concerned citizens. Swara is a voice-based communication platform that enables real-time feedback from the grassroots regarding administrative schemes and other areas of governance and democracy. Since 2010, it has been successfully piloted in Chhattisgarh and other parts of Central India. The CGNet Swara, as the pilot is popularly known, receives over 200 calls a day from a user-base of over 11,000 people.The project initially began as a crowd-sourced newsgathering service for indigenous communities in Central India. However, it can be used effectively in any area where literacy and infrastructure challenges prevent the Internet and other forms of communication from reaching.
The innovation is a simple IVR system connected to a web portal that allows communities to set up phone- and web-accessible audio portals as community-managed content platforms or bulletin boards. These can then be used for a variety of purposes, such as crowdsourcing news, collecting feedback about government schemes and other survey information from the grassroots and to share cultural content as well. The project is completely free, for it uses Open Source Software.The project has provided a means for people, so far marginalized and excluded from mainstream media, to express their opinions in Chhattisgarh. The challenge now, for the Swara team, is to reach wider.