Stories from June, 2008
Rising Voices and Open Society Institute's Health Media Initiative are happy to announce the six newest health-focused citizen media outreach projects. We received over 110 proposals from health activists and organizations based in over 50 different countries. The six selected grantees represent the most innovative applications of citizen media tools like blogs, podcasts, and online video to help further the advocacy goals of public health organizations, and to empower the communities they work with.
It has been one year since Rising Voices awarded its first round of five outreach grants to project in Sierra Leone, Colombia, Bangladesh, Bolivia, and India. Those first five grantees where then joined by five more projects in December, 2007. Today, as we are about to announce our newest round of six more citizen media outreach projects, we would like to take the time to step back and reflect on all that the first 10 projects have accomplished over the past year.
The OLPC (Hundred Dollar) laptops currently miss many applications to help students learn and participate in the classroom. The Plan Ceibal (Blogging Since Infancy) of Uruguay, a Rising Voices grantee arranged a programming “jam” to get local programmers involved in developing innovative applications for the OLPC laptops including new media tools like blogging. Learn more about it in this week's feature.
ConVerGentes, the San Javier La Loma-based group of young journalists who form part of HiperBarrio, have started a podcast in Spanish. Have a listen to learn more about their community, how it is different from the rest of Medellín, and why they are headed to Campus Party.
Kenyan youths face a low life expectancy because of extreme poverty, poor health care and an AIDS epidemic. Some of them are internally displaced and took refuge in camps after the post election violence. But with the help of REPACTED, a Rising Voices grantee they have found hope and are daring to make a change in the society. Learn how they are doing it in this week's feature.
Why do we blog? Because we want to express ourselves, to be heard, to learn about others, to augment networking, and most importantly to enhance a new social imagination, engage in social causes among other things. Emerging bloggers in two of the Rising Voices funded projects have done commendable jobs in taking personal initiatives to help others and promote the cause to a greater scale.
Rising Voices aims not just to get new communities actively participating in the conversational web, but also to introduce their voices to mainstream media outlets so that, for once, under-represented communities are portrayed by their very residents. While the majority of the ten current Rising Voices outreach projects have been covered by mainstream media organization, Voces Bolivianas takes the prize when it comes to attraction national media attention. The citizen media outreach project, which trains new bloggers in El Alto, Santa Cruz, and other sites around Bolivia, was featured yet again this week, this time in the Santa Cruz-based Vamos magazine.
When thinking of Kingston, Jamaica, blogging and podcasting are far from the first words to come to mind. "Murder capital of the world", sure. Bob Marley and reggae music, of course. But a cutting edge prison rehabilitation program, which teaches prisoners at a maximum security correctional institute how to blog, podcast, and even participate in Second Life? That is precisely what Students Expressing Truth (S.E.T.) has set out to accomplish with its new citizen media initiative, Prison Diaries.
SET Director Kevin Wallen and volunteer Caleen Deidritch explain the history, process, and objectives of Prison Diaries, a project which teaches inmates at two of Kingston's correctional facilities how to portray the realities of life behind bars using blogs and podcasts.