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The Media Awareness and Justice Initiative (MAJI), based in Nigeria, is the culmination of a number of years of disparate participatory media, information and communications technology (ICT) and capacity-building trainings for marginalised groups and Indigenous communities. MAJI uses low-cost human-centred design and free/libre and open source (FLOSS) technologies to democratise information dissemination, increase awareness and provide a platform for sustainable interactions between target groups. It focuses on environmental, human, gender and digital rights.

In 2011, with support from Internews, MAJI deployed a totally decentralised wireless mesh network aided by a mobile-based FLOSS technology called Serval. Using this technology, it was able to support the secure sharing of sensitive information and mobilisation for environmental rights campaigns organised by human rights activists and defenders. This was totally implemented without the use of a traditional GSM network.

With support from groups like the Global Greengrants Fund (GGF) and the Shuttleworth Foundation, MAJI has trained over 5,000 Indigenous community people from Rivers, Bayelsa and Akwa-Ibom states, to democratise information collection and form inclusive societies. MAJI is currently a member of the global commission on locally led adaptation put together by the World Resources Institute. It is also a member of the Rivers state civil society coalition, the Internet Society, the Oilwatch Africa Network and the Africa Coal Network. 

Why did you decide to join the APC network?

In 2021, the Media Awareness and Justice Initiative had the opportunity to work closely with APC under its Local Access and Community Networks project grants, which used technology strategies to increase community participation and inclusiveness. Looking at the engagement strategies adopted by the APC network and the use of low-end technologies for sustained interaction, we decided that it would be strategically ideal for MAJI to be part of the APC network.

We also see the APC network as very strategic, as their approach continually adds value to its members through technical support, collaborative support and financial support, which are key ingredients needed by organisations such as ours to grow. We see our decision as very timely, and extremely important in helping us achieve our goals and objectives in Nigeria.

What do you think you can contribute as a member, and what do you expect from APC?

MAJI looks to use technical strategies and platforms to increase rural community participation and engagements. Looking at our mission and vision, MAJI will be able to contribute technical support to APC members via the use of low-cost media and technological tools for rural communities and marginalised groups. We also can provide content development support for APC members across the network, while also providing community-based experience which is very important during the implementation of projects at the grassroots.

As an organisation, MAJI hopes that it can get technical and financial support from the network as this will enable us to reach out to more communities across the Niger Delta region of Nigeria and help us in empowering more target groups to participate more in the developmental process of their various communities. This we see as strategic for the sustainability of projects implemented at the grassroot level.