FOKO: big achievements for a young project

FOKO Blog club recently celebrated its first six months and it is doing whatever it takes to ensure success in their citizen media outreach project. More than 30 Malagasy youths are now blogging in 3 provinces of Madagascar – Mahajanga, Toamasina and Antananarivo – as a result of their efforts.

Map of Madagaskar:
White-Antananarivo group
Blue-Toamasina group
Orange-Mahanjaga group

Joan Razafimaharo of FOKO writes:

For 6 months, we taught the basics of blogging and each member was free to come back on the next session, blog outside the hours and join our many outdoor activities. When the Flickr and video sessions started, the bloggers proved their skills and commitment.

FOKO uses innovative ideas like skype conferences, chat rooms to communicate and coordinate with the three workshops and the FOKO team members located in different parts of the world. Lova (Indiana), Mialy (Washington DC) and Joan (Montreal) thanked the team and friends who helped build the FBC network via skypecast.

Introducing other Rising Voices grantees:

Rising VoicesFOKO continued to introduce the other Rising Voices projects to its bloggers in their local languages. Last month they have highlighted Prison diaries, Repacted and the One Laptop per child (OLPC) Uruguay projects.

Mini Blog competition:

FOKO arranged a mini blog competition among the participants of its workshops based in the three Madagascar provinces. Every blogger who published his/her first 6 posts were eligible to join the event to compete for the first prize – a digital camera. The deadline for competition was 26th of April and the idea motivated bloggers to write more. There was a flurry of posts and the FOKO blog club found it difficult to keep track of the submissions. They have taken help of the social bookmarking site to collect them for the competition. You can find all the English, French and Malagasy posts of the competition here.

The winner was announced on April 28th and the 1st prize went to Karenichia. She is a high-school student and blogs fluently in three languages – Malagasy, French and English.

The 2nd and 3rd place holders received internet connection vouchers.

Film Your Issue:

Two of the FOKO bloggers have participated in the Film Your Issue contest. They worked hard with the help of the FOKO instructors to edit the video and you can see their end result:

Patricia's video is exposing the Ankarihary lake located downtown Antananarivo which is dubbed as the lake of shame because of the intensity of pollution. The Video is available in Rising Voices subtitled in English and other languages using Dotsub.


Photo- FBC -Dominique the street kid

Nombana's video report on a street kid in Madagascar raises awareness on poverty that make kids to leave school to provide for their families. The Video is also available in Rising Voices and subtitled in English and other languages using Dotsub.

Blog Workshop:

FOKO's Mahajanga workshops were a success thanks to Lindsay, a Peace Corps Volunteer stationed in Madagascar who instructed the participants.

Photo: FBC – Karenichia (the winner of the mini blog contest) brought Foko's gift to Lindsay (left) who left Madagaskar recently.

Joan writes about the Mahajanga participants:

“Mahajanga’s new citizen journalists are not only showing great promise but are already realizing them. The posts are engaging, numerous and in three languages: Malagasy, French and English. Take a look at the posts, translated in English here. Subjects range from the universally controversial one of abortion, to posts dedicated to Malagasy customs. We also have a slam poet!”


The 7th FOKO Blog Club workshop with new bloggers was held on April 26th in Antananarivo. As usual It was a joint one again with Mahajanga and Toamasina blog clubs participating from their locations via chatroom and skypecasts.


Photo – FBC:
Patricia interviewed by Joan on Skype

This time FOKO employed some experienced bloggers like Karenichia and Patricia in charge of the workshop. Here is a video from the workshop (with English subtitle):

Read Joan’s summary of the writings of young Citizen Journalists of FOKO. They are all blogging for a cause, talking about burning social issues to bring the reader’s attention towards these.

Foko bloggers’ writings will be published in a special column in the Madagascar English Journal, a weekly publication for educational purposes distributed to schools.

Foko Blog Club now faces a challenge: to find ways to make participants blog on their own outside the FBC facilities. There is no free internet access in Madagascar. So FOKO chose to distribute free internet connection vouchers to the members.

You can follow these activities of FOKO by browsing these below:

  • Rising Voices FOKO Blog
  • FOKO Blog Club Blog
  • List of participant blogs of different FOKO workshops
  • FOKO's favorites on
  • Photos on Flickr
  • Videos on Youtube, on DotSub with English sub-titles, and on Bliptv

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