Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2011

Citation

This profile was prepared when Jessica Mayberry was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2011.
The New Idea
Jessica sees marginalized communities not only as recipients of information, but also as active creators of content. As local people have been the subjects of discrimination and have a firsthand perspective she believes they are uniquely suited to be better correspondents. Serving as a correspondent will also provide a critical livelihood opportunity. By utilizing the skills of empathy, teamwork, leadership and changemaking Jessica is tapping into the unique potential of marginalized citizens and pushing them to go beyond their own stories to become the voices of their communities.

To sustain community interest in these stories over a prolonged period, Jessica believes that community producers have to play a role beyond collecting stories. Unlike mainstream media correspondents who come from the outside, community producers are rooted to the communities and have to ensure that community members see value in sharing their stories. Consequently, it becomes imperative for community producers to play a catalytic role in translating stories into action. This form of media that is created both for and by communities becomes a powerful way to accelerate changemaking and community-led development.

Jessica is now actively distributing the videos, online and through partnerships with mainstream media and development agencies. For the first time in India, videos produced by communities on issues they have determined important, have been aired on mainstream television media. This is not only bringing urban citizens closer to the realities of rural India but is influencing mainstream media on the issues and perspectives of marginalized communities.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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