New Voices from the Malagasy Provinces and High School Students.

Keeping up with their blogging activities was certainly a struggle last week for Foko members as Madagascar was still coping with the aftermath of cyclone Ivan ( flooding and humanitarian crisis). Nevertheless, media workshops were still held at the usual location for volunteers to expand on their perspectives over the post-cyclone events. Young Stephy expresses her fear over her house not holding up to the strong gusts of wind while avylavitra illustrated the damages caused by the flood with photos and videos that were re-utilized on many majors digital news media.
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Considering the circumstances, it was quite amazing that the media workshops were extended to new communities. First, despite frequent black-outs due to the bad weather in the port of Toamasina, the first media workshop was given to volunteers from a local mining company. 4 new bloggers (vazahabe, lafatra, christian and Luc) joined the Foko blogging community. We have hefty expectations for our new bloggers. Toamasina is the largest port of Madagascar and its economic center. For more on the city of Toamasina, here is slideshow summarizing the city and the region.
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Additionally, a workshop in a new city, Mahajanga, is planned for the coming week, with the help of members of the School of Journalism taught by Lindsay Radifer. Remarkably, Toamasina and Mahajanga are about 800 km apart. Internet connection was proven to be scarce in cities outside of Antananarivo.In fact, 80% of bloggers reside in Antananarivo. It is therefore important to open these cities to digital media.

Still, the highlight of the past week was to witness the enthusiasm of new bloggers from the JJ Rabearivelo high-school. The workshop was conducted in collaboration with the United Nations Club ( CPO) led by Hery (interview: Youth and ICT). They already posted very intriguing posts about the unemployment problem for students and the loss of respect for the elders in Madagascar.

Here is a video of the media workshop with the high-school students with english subtitles.

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Here are a few excerpts from the new bloggers:

“There are guys who have licence in Laws, Management and other subjects but they still cannot find jobs and end up working as bus drivers or other small jobs. This is very sad.”

“In the past, young Malagasy people used to obey and respect the raiamandreny. They held a very important place in the society and to this, they proved to be trustworthy and honest. The youth trusted in their intelligence; they gave good advices to those who needed it, they were fair in judging civil quarrels,.. there was no use defying them because most of the time they were right. Nowadays, the soatoavina malagasy disappears little by little and we can see it in our everyday life.”

From Popoune:

“In Madagascar, women are still dependent of their husbands. Without their consent, they can do nothing and this is still very common. For example : if a woman reach a certain level of education, she is still obliged to ask her husband’s permission, even if it has something to do with her own well-being first.”

About CPO or Club pour l’ONU: this club exists in many schools in Madagascar (high and middle schools) for many years now. For Lycée Jules Ferry in Faravohitra, the club started in 1998 and we’re celebrating its 10th anniversary this year

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About lova rakotomalala

Currently the editor of the Francophone region for Global Voices, I am a researcher in biomedical engineering and consultant in Global Health. Raised in Madagascar, I have a strong interest in international development and digital media as a tool to promote social change and transparency in the developing world. I am currently attending the Woodrow Wilson School of International Affairs and Public Policy at Princeton U to further that specific interest. I am also part of the core team of the Foko, an NGO driven to promote the online exposure of social grassroots projects based in Madagascar. I can also be found at twitter.com/lrakoto and on my personal blog, http://rakotomalala.blogspot.fr/.

6 thoughts on “New Voices from the Malagasy Provinces and High School Students.

  1. Hippo rules!
    IMO the tutors are too hard on the kids…I’ll make sure they’ll enjoy blogging (stop spoiling everyone joan…..)
    go go Foko!

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