Reporters in Niger and beyond now have access to unprecedented amounts of information focused on the countries’ extractive industries and the management of these resources.
Internews’ project in Niger worked with OpenOil, an energy consultancy and publishing house focused on promoting transparency in the use of natural resources, to produce a new Niger wiki, or online collaborative encyclopedia. The wiki is a comprehensive guide to the extractive industries in Niger, currently with a total of 116 articles and more than 400 citations to full sources providing background on the country’s extractive industries, the laws regulating them, and market conditions affecting the Nigerien mining sector.
This new tool strengthens the ability of local journalists, media outlets and citizens to be better informed about these industries, which have traditionally been opaque and difficult to understand. A recent assessment in Niger carried out by Internews and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) found that one of the major obstacles to reporting on the extractive industries in Niger and increasing local engagement in the management of these resources is the lack of credible information.
“We want to provide information [to the population]. But trainings do not tell us where to find the relevant information that would allow us to monitor efficiently what is going on,” said Mohamed Asker, representing the civil society organization ROTAB (Publish What you Pay), an Internews partner.
Internews Project Manager Jean Rémi Morand has integrated the Niger wiki into trainings held with local organizations and media to address this information gap. Journalists, producers and organization leaders are being trained on how to best utilize the wiki. Selected participants are also learning how to add new information to the wiki. The wiki is a growing, living database open to the public as a tool to strengthen the citizen dialogue on natural l resources in Niger.
Journalists who participated in an Internews training-of-trainers session in early June have already begun using the wiki in their reporting, most notably the “Legal Framework” section.
Internews’ work in Niger is funded by The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES).