FOKO in the heart (foko) of the Malagasy blogosphere

Last saturday Silo, who specializes in Malagasy Jazz, invited FOKO to make the Silo concert live on the Internet (a first for Malagasy audience !), but the Internet Service Provider did not fulfil its promises. The bloggers in town were present at the all 3 of the show locations all around Tamatave. It was also a great occasion to show our bloggers another fun way to practice their photography skills.

One of the three locations of the Silo Show : Stella Maris High-School

The other initiative was born when many bloggers lamented the poor Malagasy seen on the Internet, sparsed with liberties taken with the grammar etc…and so the “Aza ampijaliana ny tenintsika” (translated losely to “Do not mistreat our language!”) event was planned.
The event was held on Saturday, June 21 with Malagasy bloggers present, the usual FBC workshop taking place, and Patie representing FOKO and presenting what  FOKO Blog Clubs are about. The event was mostly fun, with games played online by the participants, but these were “serious” games about Malagasy proverbs, grammar, knowledge of Malagasy language in general.

Eddie Avila of Voces Bolivianas came for a visit and was offered some Malagasy lessons of the street language kind by Simp. Thanks for visiting, Eddie !

The next two weeks are going to be chock full of action for FOKO :
with Lova and Mialy present at the Global Voices Online Summit in Budapest, meeting up with some bloggers based in Paris and most of all there will be another FOKO Blog Club in Tamatave, thanks to Stephane, our field manager, travelling there !
Stay tuned…

by Mialy Andriamananjara

Congratulations to Foko Blog Club Class of 2008 !

Back in October 2007, we started the blogging project at a tiny cybercafé between close friends who wanted to share their knowledge and passion for blogging when gathering around a THB (a very well-known Malagasy beverage). Today we kept our rituals of enjoying our times first but extended our circle to a wider community and learned back from the amazing friends we met from the streets of Analakely to Mahabibo Market.

Many were present Saturday May 24th (After FBC 9) for the party organized for the blogging contest winners

(pictures here :Avylavitra, Patricia, Nombana, and the Namana Serasera supporters)

Our coordinators and members kept on finding ways, most of the time by improvising, to give more visibility to Citizen Media in Madagascar when the blossoming internet is reachable to only the few who can afford the connectivity and of course the digital knowledge. Because of humbleness, they shared very little about their everyday struggles to convince (people to join the workshops), produce (exceptional and original pieces) and …load their work (which is the most frustrating step). But we’ve started to notice from the nervosity and then the excitment they demonstrated when receiving feedbacks and reactions from sympathizers from all over the world.

Monsieur Vita, Director of the School of Journalism in Majunga, has invited Foko to formarly integrate Citizen Media to their cursus. Starting from last week, Lomelle, Rondro and their 2nd year class will help their 1st and 3rd year peers to the basics of blogging, podcasting and vidcasting ( Patricia in Antananarivo have been leading 2 workshops on her own now). This partnership will help Foko bring more attention to Malagasy provinces and open an official window to the school. We’re currently studying the best strategies to fructify our collaboration with the staff.

Very happy blogging class and improvised FBC.

Stéphane with Monsieur Vita the Director

From the Madagascar English Journal invitation to contribute to their weekly publication distributed to all the schools on the island, we managed to get our English speaking bloggers a dedicated column. Mrs Annelie Rozeboom from the American School of Antananarivo has kindly edited 4 articles from Cylnice and Zouboon when at the same recommending the authors to share more stories from the provinces and most of all touching interviews like this one with little Eliza.

Foko will carry on on improving media citizen skills to our experienced bloggers until the beginning 09-10 school year in October when we’ll open the workshops to new members. UN Youth Club of Antananarivo members have already suggested to learn more on internet and webdesign tools such as Photoshop, video editing and websites designing during their summer vacations with Foko. We’ll also focus more on Toamasina group now that Majunga have received their digital camera and support them the same way on producing more contents on their amazing region and lifestyle.

Congratulations Class of 2008 !!