Rising Voices Outreach Projects Get Straight to Work

It was less than a month ago that we announced the first round of Rising Voices outreach projects but already those first five projects have made incredible progress. Let's make a quick dash around the world to see what a little hard work and a lot of collaboration can achieve.

HiperBarrio, Colombia

First stop, Colombia. Álvaro Ramirez, Jorge Montoya, and Juliana Rincón originally submitted two separate project proposals both focused on working class neighborhoods in Medellín and both with the same objectives. They are now all working together and have formed an organization called HiperBarrio with the tagline Historias Locales, audiencia global, or “Local Stories, global audience.” They have already registered a domain and the website is under currently construction.

Just one week after receiving confirmation of their Rising Voices outreach grant, Álvaro Ramirez and Mauricio Múnera organized a video blogging workshop at the public library of the poor and often violent neighborhood of La Loma San Javier. Álvaro documented the first three workshops with a series of photographs taken by the young participants themselves. Here is a description of their first experience with video blogging:

Luego subimos a la sala de computadores y lectura de la Biblioteca del barrio y en grupitos de dos y tres se sentaron a aprender a manejar el Movie Maker, a crear un juguete audiovisal de 30 segundos de duración con fotos tomadas de internet para luego subirlas a YouTube.

Trabajaron con rapidez y mucho entusiasmo asistidos en la parte técnica por Juan Diego, Mauricio, Diego y mi persona. En la parte estética y de contenido no necesitaron mayor ayuda. La creatividad demostrada fue impresionante y fácilmente se ponían de acuerdo en la forma como querían armar sus pequeñas experimentos.

Later we went up to the computer lab of the neighborhood library and in small groups of two to three they sat down to learn how to use Windows Movie Maker to create a small 30 second audio visual example made of photos taken from the internet.

They worked quickly and with a lot of enthusiasm and were assisted with some technical help from Juan Diego, Mauricio, Diego, and myself. In regards to aesthetic and content, they didn't need any help at all. The creativity they demonstrated was impressive and they easily discovered how they wanted to go about each of their small projects.


Juan Diego showing HiperBarrio participants how to use Windows Movie Maker.

You can see all of the videos that the students have made so far on YouTube. Here is just one example which was produced by Sebastian, Jessica, and Susana. It is titled “Susana's Super Skates.”

The text reads:

The new roller skates.
Are practical and comfortable.
And at low prices.
Try them out.
Barbie roller skates.

As you can see, these three already have a bright future in marketing. Here is another video, this time produced by Guillermo Alvarez and Ivan Dario Merchan. It is called “Colombia, Land of Scenery and Contrasts.”

The text reads:

Colombia, land of images.
There is a lot of talk about war in Colombia
Life and scenery
Dance, joy, and entertainment
… culture, faith, and hope
… We are also

Nari Jibon, Bangladesh

You'll hear much more about the HiperBarrio project in Colombia in next week's introductory podcast. But for now let's move on to Bangladesh and the Nari Jibon project. Just about the same time that HiperBarrio was starting to give videoblogging workshops in Medellín, Nari Jibon organized its first blogging workshop with professional Bangladeshi blogger Razib Ahmed who heads both SouthAsiaBiz.com and IndiaRaj.com.

Apparently the workshop was inspiring as Nari Jibon bloggers have been publishing posts at a prolific rate. Of particular note is a five-part story about a young Bangladeshi girl who was forced into sex work. Both Taslima Akter and Animesh Chandra Bain have been instrumental in integrating blogging into Nari Jibon's existing classes for young women from Dhaka.

Bolivia, Kolkata, and Sierra Leone

The next three projects are still in their planning phases, but even their planning has been impressive. From Bolivia, Hugo Miranda has described the difficulties that he, Mario, and Eduardo have been having in finding an ideal cyber cafe to hold their outreach workshops [ES] in El Alto:

Esta situación se repite en la mayoría de los Cafés Internet, ahora si bien se encuentran también cafés Internets de entre 40 y 50 maquinas, el estado en que las maquinas se encuentran es también es lamentable, me encontré hasta con equipos Pentium I y Pentium II que utilizaban XP FENIX (Sistema liviano de XP para equipos de 300 Mhz con 64 MB en RAM ), que obviamente no permitiran un buen desarrollo del Taller.

The same [poor] situation is repeated in most internet cafes. Even if cafes can be found with 40 to 50 computers, the state of those machines is terrible. I've even seen computers with Pentium I and II processors that use XP FENIX (a hacked operating system for XP to run on computers with just 300 Mhz and 64 megabytes of RAM), which obviously wouldn't allow us to put on a good workshop.

From Kolkata, India, Bishan Samaddar has eloquently described the goals of Neighbourhood Diaries which will kick off sometime in October. Likewise, Vickie Remoe-Doherty is hard at work in Freetown, Sierra Leone despite the madness of election season and the deteriorating health of her grandmother.

If you haven't already, don't forget to check out the introductory podcast to the Nari Jibon project. Early next week we'll be bringing you the first part of the introductory podcast to HiperBarrio in Colombia.


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