REPACTED is a community-based youth-to-youth organization located in Nakuru, Kenya. They teach youth about HIV/AIDS, drug and substance abuse, and other social issues, and use theater and citizen media to try to create behavioral changes among these youth. With the help of a Rising Voices grant, REPACTED purchased a computer and a mobile Internet modem to allow for Internet access in their office. Since then, they have started classes to teach their members how to blog.
This particular session, which occurred in mid-March, didn't take place in their office, but in a cyber café in Nakuru. Muriuki, who is new to blogging, joined other budding bloggers in a session led by members of REPACTED; there were 18 participants in total. The session, which began in the morning, kicked off with the participants figuring out what topics they wanted to explore in a blog. Muriuki elaborates:
Some of the topics blogged on were TB [tuberculosis], rape, STIs [sexually transmitted infections], HIV/AIDS, malaria, and some blogged about their profiles and why they joined Repacted. e.g. Hillary, one of the members, said the main reason as to why he joined the group is his passion to help the community to change its behavior positively. I want to blog so that I can share my stories with the world, helping to change attitudes towards women and people with disabilities.
In the past, challenges such as a slow Internet connection, have affected the blogging training sessions. Similar challenges, some of which may stand in the way of the participants blogging regularly, came up during this session. Muriuki expands on these obstacles:
Most of the members are not familiar with the blogging process, especially the topics they wanted to discuss. Some didn’t have efficient and active email address. Members had to take turns blogging due to few computers. Some members didn’t have enough information on the topics e.g. TB and malaria. The blogging time provided was not enough, since most members were not able to complete their blogging and to also type fast.
Despite these challenges, Muriuki says the training was helpful and that there were successes:
Most of the members were able to blog successfully and new members got an opportunity to join the blog spot.
She adds that participants were very happy because they not only had a chance to blog, but they also used the opportunity to access their email and Facebook accounts, as well as to chat with their friends. They requested if they could blog at least once or twice a week. With more time and practice hopefully Muriuki and her fellow participants will become more comfortable with blogging and be further able to share their stories and insights.
You can stay up to date with the latest developments from REPACTED on their project blog.