Many of you know Foko by the works of talented citizen journalists Patrick, Karenichia, Ledheada or Patricia. From their corner of Madagascar, each one of them are building Foko’s citizen media very strong network , the FBC, with little resources but a lot of energy and of course their sunning skills (trilinguism, activism, confidence,etc.). There will be no powerful and full of promises communities without this one Foko. He is tirelessly supporting – by travelling and networking – and training – with his little knowledge (he only started to blog in October 2007) the talented bloggers all around the country. In less than a year, he became very close to each bloggers and always find innovative solutions for Foko’s problems, even if sometimes it requires strong manners but a lot of generosity! Monsieur Stéphane (this is how they call him from Majunga to Tamatave) is reporting for Rising Voices :
The CPO (Club for UN) kids are very fond of their blogging workshops. At first they had difficulties using WordPress because the students only knew about Skyblog.com which is a very popular blogging plateform. They appreciated the commenting sessions and when we started the mini blogging contest we invited them to write down their articles to not waste their precious connection. Lindsay’s filming lessons were very useful but we discovered that it was still risky to interview people randomly on the streets or even take pictures of events. We’re now becoming a serious actor at the UNIC (UN Informational Center) and the director is always encouraging new members to take interest in our sessions, especially since Patricia’s video was featured on a Youth contest for World Population Day.
Last FBC on July 22nd 2008 in Tamatave
We had workshops through April to July in Tamatave, the economical capitale of Madagascar which is 360km from Antananarivo, 6 hours road trip. This town is where the “Ambatovy Project” had settle the biggest Cobalt and Nickel mining exploitations in the world. We approached workers from the big companies in Tamatave to share their experiences of the changes that had been made in the regions and their personal lives. A 5 hours long power outtage made us miss the rendez-vous but we invited the 20 of them to come back. We had the opportunity, shortly after, to meet students from the University of Tamatave. The English Club is a group of 50 and quickly started to use blogging to promote their association’s social activities in the Barikadimy’s popular neighborhood.
on board of a Taxi Brousse to Tamatave
500 km and 10 hours by car from Antananarivo, the future of Malagasy Journalism is in the hands of the very energetic Lomelle, Zouboon, Rondro and their director Mr Vita. Unfortunately they are located in the outskirts of the city but this doesn’t keep most of the students in making great efforts to actively report on the latest news from the very lively Majunga. The school’s success relies on their students abilities to lead rigorous investigations like we saw in Diana’s professional coverage of Kamba. We learned that it took her hours to convince Georgine to allow her to take pictures from her Nokia mobile phone !! If youth activism made Majunga known worldwide, the other motivation to start workshops in Madagascar provinces was to promote our culture and share more about our traditions. Hkambora and Rondro are doing a tremedious work relating stories from tribes like the Antekaran or the importance of rituals like circumcision and famadihana.
with Mr Vita from the School of Journalism of Majunga
All the students are very close to each other, cross-commenting on their blogs or exchanging tips (Patricia and Karenichia are best friends, the 2nd year at Majunga School of Journalism have invited the 1st and 3rd to blog). We also want to point that, at this moment, all the groups are fully autonomous at all and we’re about to make the leader bloggers turning into trainers themselves. Of course they still need specific training (adding more pictures on blogs, loading videos on the web, etc.) but have become very resourceful and are using frequently their local cybercafé : Teknet in Antananarivo, Orange in Tamatave and Alliance Française in Majunga. But we, at Foko, will keep on finding more ways, funds and help to make their citizen media dreams come true !