About Seven Sisters Project
The Seven Sisters Project was established in May 2013 as Northeast India’s first mobile phone-based citizen news service. The Seven Sisters Project enables citizens and reporters in Northeast India to tell their stories to the world via a deep integration of mobile phones, website portal and social media channels. India has over 900 million mobile users, a ready network through which information can be shared quickly and widely. Our platform combines an Interactive Voice Response phone system and a Facebook application to create a mobile reporting network for Northeast India, with the aim of spreading news and stories to users in different parts of the country. The reports are filtered by a moderator and publish through the Seven Sisters Project’s website, Facebook page, Twitter handle, Soundcloud and available for playback over the mobile phone.
India has a highly segregated national media. While the mainstream media is busy in its race for target rating points, the smaller local media has little chance of reaching a wide national audience and addressing important regional issues. The Northeast region of India has suffered much because of this. While on the one hand, Indians in other parts of the country have little to no knowledge about the Northeastern cultures, the people from these areas also have to face a high level of discrimination and bias when they visit or migrate to other regions. This widens the regional and psychological divide within India. The issues of Northeast India remain within the boundaries of the seven states and never reach other cities.
Mobile penetration in the region has increased from 26% in March 2009 to 47% in September 2010 in the region. Making use of this cell phone penetration, the project uses a voice portal technology that enables citizens to report and discuss issues of local interest by calling a toll free number (08376952143) hence facilitating a grassroots model in citizen journalism across the region. Enabling the comment feature on the mobile radio, Seven Sisters Project aims to replicate the popular social media style of engagement on mobile phone.
Since our launch in May 2013 our network has reached and impacted people’s lives in some of the remotest corners of Northeast India mainly in the states of Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh. Starting with 31 calls a month our call volume has risen steadily to 700-1000 calls a day since November. In seven months we received a total of 20,000 calls with an average call duration of 497.1. Our network is spread to Changlang, Tirap, Lohit districts in Arunachal Pradesh and Dhemagiri, Kamlanagar and Silsury in Western Mizoram. Seven Sisters Radio is unique as it reaches people who have so far been deprived of an effective communications platform, people from low literacy regions, non-internet users and any other media such as television or print. And all this through the power of voice and accessible to anyone with a simple mobile phone. Click on the map markings to get a geographical overview of our network-
How Seven Sisters Project works?