GlobaLeaks-Hermes Concept Note Shortlisted by Innovate AFRICA Fund

The Hermes Center project Concept Note to innovateAFRICA fund has been shortlisted. We aim to build innovative secure civic media platforms connecting women journalists with whistleblowers/truth-tellers reporting gender motivated violations (GBV) in Africa.

Here follows the concept note:

1. What do you propose to do?

We want to build innovative secure civic media platforms connecting women journalists with whistleblowers/truth-tellers reporting gender motivated violations (GBV).

2. Is anyone doing something like this now and how is your project different?

No, the project idea is unique in merging the worlds of journalism and anonymous whistleblowing to empower young women civic journalists (not mainstream media) fighting against GBV and minorities abuses.

3. Describe the real world challenge that you are trying to solve for African media
Speaking-out about GBV and minorities abuses in Tunisia and Morocco (and many other African countries) is a very sensitive act. In fact, legal and social factors favor silencing the survivors and thus embolden the perpetrators. In many cases the journalists and the truth-tellers are exposed to significant threats.

Our project is aimed at building an innovative safe digital journalism platform inclusive of anonymous whistleblowing that will support the women journalists in their mission, content and empower the culture of storytelling while protecting themselves and their sources. Other than the mere development, fundamental deliverables of the project will be building a currently-not-existing documentation highly required to give women journalists access to this digital tools and use them for the specific use case.

4. How and why will your solution work?

We will develop an innovative and user friendly platform to support new ways for women journalists in gathering stories without endangering their sources and themselves by adopting the best practices in collecting news and the storytelling culture especially in the context of vulnerable individuals seeking to make their voices heard. The project will support the creation of secure digital media platforms inclusive of anonymous secure whistleblowing. Based on the expertise acquired out of 60+ initiatives based on GlobaLeaks, we will improve the whole methodology focusing on building the best trade-off between security and usability applied to these specific scenarios.

5. Who is working on it?

Rahma Sghaier, human rights activist from Tunisia and Outreach Director for the Hermes Center is now leading the project management on the topic.

Giovanni Pellerano, co-founder of the Hermes Center and CTO for the GlobaLeaks project and secure whistleblowing expert is mentoring the project from the technical perspective.

Lina Ben M’henni, human rights activist and journalist from Tunisia, Maroi Ech Charkaouiy, reporter from Morocco and Amie Williams, Director, writer and co-founder of GlobalGirl Media, are our external consultants helping in identifying and direct coordinating the group of women journalists to use the platform.

6. What part of the project have you already built?

We currently do not have a full demo and we are choosing the suitable tools.
For what relates the GlobaLeaks platform, you could check the general demo available at
GlobaLeaks is a living project with a sustainable model now professionally supported by Whistleblowing Solutions a social enterprise corporated in 2012 by the Hermes Center association.

Preparing for this outreach, the platform has been internationalized and localized in Arabic and French crucial for our first target countries in Africa.
Preliminary risk assessment and threat modeling has been performed and the analysis of the valuable configurations for the project is ongoing.

7. What would success look like for this project?

Great envisioned results would be to have supported the 1st safe watchdog digital journalism platform led by young women journalists fostering anonymous whistleblowing as tool for collecting news and to increase their media presence in order to have a greater social impact, to be possibly replicable in other African countries.

8. How would you sustain the project after the funding expires?

With the project we envision to succeed in enabling the selected journalist partners by enriching their modus operandi with the state of the art tools for secure whistleblowing. Following our social enterprise model we will help build around this project the stakeholder community and partnerships required for the long run.

Grant Size: $65,000
Total Cost: $65,000
Timeline: 12 up to 18 months