Knight News Challenge

The Knight News Challenge accelerates media innovation by funding breakthrough ideas in news and information. Winners receive a share of $5 million in funding and support from Knight’s network of influential peers and advisors to help advance their ideas. The first round of 2013, which opens in February, will invite innovators from all disciplines to focus on tools for open government. In 2012, three challenge rounds, each focused on an emerging trend, drew more than 2,500 entries.

Challenge 1 - on NETWORKS: Winners were announced June 18.

Challenge 2 - on DATA: Winners were announced Sept. 20.

Challenge 3 – on MOBILE: Winners were announced Jan. 17.

Anyone, anywhere can apply for the challenge - whether for-profit start-ups or non-profit ventures. For more information on a variety of topics - from guidelines for for-profits, on intellectual property licensing, open source software and more - visit our FAQ.

Kisan Samachaar: A Phone-based Voice News Service for Small Farmers in India

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1. What is your project? [1 sentence]

Our project is called Khedut Samachaar and it is a phone-based Voice News service for small farmers across India. 

2. How will your project use mobile tools and approaches? [2 sentences]

We will use mobile phones to allow farmers to post and consume news stories with their peers. We will also provide web and smartphone interfaces for farmers with more advanced phones and data plans.

3. Who will use it and why? [1 sentence]

Our service will be used by farmers across India, who have unique news needs related to weather, agriculture and market prices.

4. Please list three ways they would learn about your project.

We will inform farmers through

1) notices placed in local newspapers and through local radio programs

2) outreach through NGOs, universities and government agencies

3) automated SMS messages and phone calls allowing farmers to opt in to the news service

5. What connections have you made, or will you make, with others [communities, organizations or networks] about your project? [2 sentences]

We are already working closely with agricultural NGOs and government extension agencies in several states of India. We also have an existing network of farmers who are using our phone question and answer service, Avaaj Otalo.

6. What part of the project have you already built? [1-2 sentences, feel free to include links]

We have already built a phone-based voice message broadcasting and subscription system at We will use the additional funding to develop web and smartphone versions, and to roll out a new service focused on news information.

7. What does success for your project look like? [1-2 sentences]

Success for our project entails providing farmers with the information they need, and also allowing them to share what they know. We aim to become the most popular information source for small farmers across each local language in India.

8. What resources do you need to succeed? [1-2 sentences]

We need funding for software and content development, and also for advertising and marketing the news service. We also need human resources in the form of farmers and farmer organizations to step up and share their knowledge.

Additional details:
Please list who is on your team:

Neil Patel, CEO, Awaaz.De

Bhaumik Shah, Awaaz.De

Tapan Parikh, Awaaz.De

Expected number of months to complete project: 18 months

Estimated Project Cost: $85,000

Name: Tapan Parikh

Twitter: @awaazde @tap2k

Email address:

Organization [if applicable]: Awaaz.De

City: Ahmedabad

Country: India

How did you learn about the contest? Twitter