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Tuesday, 25 Jun 2013

Tale of two continents

By Eva Constantaras, Internews

Data journalism is changing the dynamic between donor and recipient countries as everyone gains access to more and better data. A team of three Kenya-based journalists and two Spain-based journalists were awarded a grant from the European Journalism Centre for an experimental project in collaborative, cross-border data journalism focused on European development funding to Kenya.
The team will produce an interactive multimedia investigation that maps the flow of aid money from Spain to Kenya and multinational profits from Kenya to Europe and identifies where these interests collide. The story will be published simultaneously in Spain’s El Mundo and the Internews in Kenya’s Data Dredger in October.

Over four months, the team will test their hypothesis that a rising GDP in Kenya, due in part to European private investments, the second largest trading partner with Kenya after China, exacerbates economic inequalities and resource exploitation thereby counteracting development efforts.
The journalists in Spain will map Spanish development projects and European private sector investment and returns in Kenya, starting in 2007, the year of deregulation. The Kenya team, comprised of three Internews journalists, will track down land purchase data to identify where European companies are engaged in land grabs and questionable mining and agro-industrial enterprises.

Next, based on the data the team finds, they will document several development and private sector projects to demonstrate the interplay between the two types of investment and their impact on food security, climate change and equality. These case studies will help put a face to the data in hotspots, such as the Tana River Delta. Geo-located videos of affected populations will add an additional interactive dimension to the map that explains the competing interests beyond the data.

The team will interview both European and Kenyan development experts to identify proposed solutions to promote economic growth but not at the expense of vulnerable populations or Kenya’s national resources. In light of recognition among donors that inequality has becomes a central stumbling block to development, the team will conduct a data-driven analysis of proposed financial policies and corporate responsibility plans to see what solutions might accelerate development and promote equality.

Journalists interested in proposing their own ideas for the Innovation in Development Reporting (IDR) Grant Programme can apply for the second round of funding. Proposals are due September 2. The European Journalism Centre requires that a European media outlet commit to publishing the story.

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