Our #innovateAFRICA funding proposal

Stringers Africa is one of 736 projects that have submitted a funding proposal to #innovateAfrica, a fund run by Code for Africa, and which focuses on journalism and the news media. They are looking for “disruptive digital ideas” that provide “pragmatic solutions to real-world challenges facing Africa’s media”.

We propose that Stringers Africa ticks this box of “pragmatic solutions” for freelance journalists in Africa, and newsrooms that want to work with the best journalists that Africa has to offer.

Here is how.

What is Stringers Africa in a nutshell?

Stringers Africa is a subscription based database of journalists working from Africa. The platform connects Africa-based journalists with each other, and with editors looking for stories on the continent. Providing an all round service, it has a training platform, a pitch zone, and a number of dashboards and chatbots to help streamline the experience.

How is it different to other freelance platforms?

There are no freelance hire platforms targeted specifically for Africa-based journalists. We understand the challenges faced by freelance journalists in Africa, and newsrooms around the world who want to work with them. Stringers Africa is tailored to address these challenges, and will integrate dashboards, chatbots and training to ensure quality and efficiency.

What are the challenges exactly?

The two main challenges faced by journalists in Africa that we address are: poor salaries, training and access to information. Our platform exposes freelance journalists to more work, international exposure of their work, skills development through our e-training programmes, and an opportunity to develop cross-border teams. Our chatbots speeds access to information. Funders can also use the platform.
For newsrooms, our subscription process, gamified rating, and, training of journalists on our platform ensure only the best journalists are on Stringers Africa.

So how does it all work then?

Freelancers submit proposals using a pitch dashboard, and, respond to calls. Newsrooms around the world can submit open and targeted calls. They can also allow or disable unsolicited proposals. Payment is milestone based at the start and end of a project. The training zone houses courses, and using a gamified process, helps freelancers earn points that contributes to their profile rating. The pitch zone dashboard helps produce high quality story proposals. The collaborate dashboard enables subscribers to form a team around a project. A series of chatbots will help streamline the experience. Registration is free but competitive – because we only want the best – with subscription upgrades.

Is this another freelance platform that skims off the earnings of freelancers?

No. The plan is for freelancers to retain 100% of the revenue they generate through their projects.

So who will do all this work?

Yemisi Akinbobola (co-founder), award-winning Nigerian journalist and founder of IQ4News where she managed a team of journalists based in several African countries. She is a visiting lecturer and researcher in journalism, and has freelanced for various publications.

Paul Bradshaw (co-founder), freelance writer, data trainer, author and academic. He has worked with various news organisations, and, publishes the Online Journalism Blog. He co-founded the award-winning investigative journalism network HelpMeInvestigate.com, and was listed as one of the 35 most influential people in social media.

We are actively seeking a third co-founder who is a highly experienced developer. Drop us an email if that should be you: yemisi@stringersafrica.com

Like the idea?

Let us know what you think by filling this form, or reach out to Yemisi and Paul via Twitter using  the hashtag #innovateAFRICA.

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