Citizen journalism project becomes the world's eyes & ears in Sudan
A new citizen journalism project, Eyes & Ears Nuba, plans to give voice to the people affected by the ongoing violence in southern Sudan. The project trains locals in journalism and equips them to broadcast the stories of people caught in the crossfire of a war being waged by the Sudanese government in the areas just north of the Sudan/South Sudan border.
The project goes public at an important turning point in Sudan’s history. After much fanfare as South Sudan became its own state, conflict has raged in disputed border areas, especially Abyei, where both countries lay claim to valuable areas rich in oil.
SAF occupied Abyei in May last year after its troops came under attack by southern forces. Later in June, Sudan and South Sudan signed an agreement stipulating the immediate withdrawal of their troops from the region, the deployment of UN Ethiopian peacekeepers and establishment of joint administrative and legislative bodies in the region.
Eyes and Ears Nuba has trained men like Ahmed Khatir, who had a solid job before the war broke out, but was forced to flee his home by the outbreak of war. Ahmed is now a journalist posting footage for Nuba Reports.
NGO founder, Ryan Boyette, is no hands-off organiser who issues orders from afar, nor is he a touring celebrity activist like George Clooney, who has backed another project monitoring events in Sudan. Boyette lives in the war zone with his wife, and is directly affected by the issues for which he is campaigning, as his own home has, he claims, become a military target because of his involvement with Eyes & Ears Nuba.
From day one, the project has caught the eye of foreign correspondents in the area. It has been quietly operating in the background for several weeks to ensure that its YouTube channel was stocked with recent footage.