Name: Beverley Clark
Institution: Kubatana Trust of Zimbabwe
Location: Harare, Zimbabwe
Project duration: January 2013 – December 2013
Funding amount: 30.000,00 EUR
The virtual information platform www.kubatana.net was established in 2001 to provide Zimbabweans with an alternative way of accessing information restricted by the state. Most forms of mass media including radio, television and daily print newspapers were, and still are, under the control of the state. Kubatana uses an integrated and creative suite of digital tools to help people safely access information resources, to assist them in broadening their knowledge of human rights, and to expose human rights and electoral violations. Thereby, they counter media repression, open up new ways for citizens to access and interact with information that they are being denied and mobilize action and encourage citizens’ participation to mitigate a violent context.
Traditional ways of disseminating independent information can arouse suspicion and draw unwanted attention to recipients. Virtual communities, like Kubatana, enable thousands of Zimbabweans to engage with information, and with one another, more securely. Not only in Zimbabwe but also in other repressive environments, virtual spaces and platforms for education and action can overcome the roadblocks that the state puts in the way of the free and independent access to information. An independent forum through which information can be sourced, shared, discussed and debated is essential to building conversations around peace and conflict transformation.
With the support of the Berghof Foundation and other donors, Kubatana reached over 40.000 Zimbabweans through email, mobile text messages, DVDs and audio materials. A particular focus for the funding period were the elections, which took place in Zimbabwe in March 2013.
Kubatana has won the Google, Reuters and Global Voices award for Online Advocacy and the Index on Censorship Award for promoting freedom of expression through innovation. For more information visit www.kubatana.net.