Lindsay Redifer, FOKO Blog Club’s First Vidcasts, the Majunga School of Journalism, the mini blogging contest, …

We got introduced to Lindsay Redifer thanks to the Rising Voices newsletter. Lindsay is a Peace Corps Volunteer stationed in Madagascar who stayed on to teach English at Majunga’s Journalism school. She also has a keen interest in citizen journalism and loves Madagascar, as she so powerfully describes in her interview by Pati . She became our Blog Club’s enthusiastic tutor in Majunga, Madagascar’s third city, on its western coast.

Majunga’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 !

We want to thank Lindsay wholeheartedly for her hardwork and dedication. Words are not enough. Lindsay is now leaving Madagascar for good and we wish her greatest success in her search to do more citizen journalism related work. Mirary soa ary misaotra betsaka, Lindsay !

Lindsay and Hery, the UN Youth Club Coordinator and FBC mentor, assisted also the young but talented Nombana and Pati in editing and producing their first vidcasts. They only needed some nudging and pointers to come up with real short documentaries. One is about the life of Dominique, a child beggar in Antananarivo. Another one is about the infamous lake of Behoririka in Antananarivo, a sad case of urban pollution disaster. Both were submitted to the Film Your Issue competition.

Thanks to Lindsay, our bloggers are also getting a special column in the Madagascar English Journal, a weekly publication for educational purposes distributed to schools and sponsored by the American embassy.


And lastly, the last FOKO Blog Club session with new bloggers was held on April 26th. A joint one again with Majunga and Toamasina blog clubs participating. This time we have put some of our confirmed bloggers, Karenichia and Patricia in charge. There was no chatrooms for diasporic bloggers to cheer on the new bloggers. But the blogosphere was still present to discuss Lapino and Dadarabe’s cyberfety and to discover the new blogs.

We are working hard on providing more pictures, more podcasting and more vidcasting workshops.

We also held our first mini blogging contests. Results were announced. The winner will get a digital camera to take more pictures and make vidcasts, the others will get internet connexion, with special mentions to some very special ones who will be promoted to be mentors.

From simple blogger to citizen journalist, We do whatever it takes

Foko has just celebrated its 6 months of Blog Clubs and it was an occasion to salute the effort and energy all our coordinators and sponsors are putting in this great project. From the ones who spend amountless hours on networking looking for funds and contacts to the true heroes who are committing 200% of their energy in Madagascar and of course to our family, the Rising Voices community : THANK YOU !

We managed to recrute more than 20 bloggers from Mahajanga to Toamasina and integrate more and more communities. Since October 2007 we asked them first : “why do you want to join the Club?” . These are the answers : “I’d like to meet new friends”, “Will Malagasy from abroad read my blog?”, “It’s a chance to improve my English”, “I want to write short stories”, “I want the world to know more about Madagascar”,…

From FBC-Majunga

As you already realized, our scheduled FBC workshops require improvisation (since the connexion gets cut off too often) and ingeniosity (because we’re always short on money, tutors, cameras and posts!). For 6 months, we teached 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. Each day you can find new images posted and oftenly commented by Lomelle, Poupoune, CPO groups on our Flickr album. With the undergoing contests, you’ll find more videos on our Youtube and Dotsub pages . When Lindsay met Stéphane in Antananarivo this week-end, our coordinators helped Pati and Nombana (our FYI contest participants) for their videos which needed Hery‘s from Namana Serasera support for today editing session.

Lindsay and Pati after a very tiring but passionate video workshop

But the greatest achievement remains in everyone’s tenacity to inform and share more and more news and stories when fighting tough conditions in Madagascar. Power or internet connection cut offs happen more than 10 times a day in the provinces; many of our members are still in high-school and university students and have exams ; difficulties to keep on blogging with the high rates of internet connexion ; uploading time require amountless hours; etc. To show them our appreciation and our interest in their work, we invite everyone to welcome our members from Mahajanga by posting a cheerful comment on their brand new blogs !

Which fruits and vegetable look more tasty : Toamasina or Mahajanga ones ?