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Ceasefire Liberia: New Milestones

The Rising Voices grantee Ceasefire Liberia, which celebrated its one year anniversary in April, has reached some new milestones in recent times. Ruthie Ackerman writes:

Ruthie Ackerman & Nat Bayjay

Ruthie Ackerman & Nat Bayjay

We have formed partnerships with other fantastic organizations, we’ve been profiled a number of times in the media, we have raised friends, recruited bloggers and even were in Santiago, Chile earlier this month for the Global Voices Citizen Media summit. One of the most exciting moments was when I met Nat Nyuan-Bayjay, Ceasefire Liberia’s blog manager, for the first time in the year we have been working together online. Isn’t it amazing when online and offline worlds converge? I met so many online friends in Chile, many whom I only knew from the Twitter handles. Another bonus from the trip: Global Voices donated a video camera to the Ceasefire project so our bloggers can start to work on video. So look for those soon!

Kim Chou at Think Social posts an interview with Ruthie. An excerpt:

“My hypothesis (of why bloggers in Liberia are blogging more) is because of a sense of urgency,” Ackerman said. “Those in Staten Island, because they have so much access, and so much to read and do on the internet, think it’s not so important for them to share their stories … In Staten Island they think nobody cares about their stories, but in Liberia [they] think people will want to hear their stories.”

Now let us look at some of the stories published by the Ceasefire Liberia bloggers. Saki G. posts some random photos from Liberia.

This young girl has a newspaper business on the University of Liberia’s campus during normal school hours. While others are just bread eaters, she is a potential bread winner.

Denna Gibson writes:

There is a tendency in Liberia that has to do with men being fully in charge when it comes to sports and that should not be. There are competent young women who played women soccer and are high school and college graduate fit to be part of the technical staff of the women national team. Let chance be given to those interested.

Dennis Jah aka Gbakukenju posts his response to President Sirleaf's 162nd independence day speech.

The Liberian war has ended and hopefully it has ended for good. We are all scared to death when there is even a faint mention of another war as we have not even buried all the casualties of the long one that just ended or completely healed from all its wounds and cuts. But it is how we deal with the aftermath of this very ugly war that will go a long way in mending our broken pieces and writing off any form of violence as means of changing governments or fostering our economic and political agendas. If perpetrators of this tragic part of Liberian history will continue to justify their participation as prudent ways in standing up to “dictatorship” or quip that they did nothing wrong because their actions were endorsed by a vast majority at a time, they are re-killing those who died, re-inflicting the sores of the wounded, re-leveling our cities and towns, closing the doors on genuine healing and reconciliation and setting the stage for more bloodshed and revenge.

Unification Monument in Voinjama, Lofa County

Unification Monument in Voinjama, Lofa County

Nat Bayjay writes about the much praised unification policy which is now struggling to fully unify its people, particularly along ethnic lines.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation awarded Ceasefire Liberia project a $10,000 grant to start a new arm called Ceasefire. This project will focus on creating a citizen media project for African immigrant and African-American youth in Staten Island based on the Ceasefire Liberia model. From a report by Tevah Platt of the Staten Island Advance :

Ceasefire – a new project to launch this summer – seeks to draw African and African-American youth in equal numbers for a sustained, year-long program, prompting participants to tell their own stories. Its objective is to unite the two groups by turning participants into citizen journalists.

Meeting twice a month at the African Refuge youth center in Clifton, about 25 students participating in Ceasefire will use computers, cameras and Flip video cameras to compose short documentary films about their lives and neighborhoods.

Ms. Ackerman will lead workshops along with guest mentors, including journalists, photographers, musicians, poets and videographers.

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