January 2009 : a month of collective activism to remember at Foko

2008 was a very festive year for us and as 2009 was starting, we were looking forward to do more interesting activities to keep our followers passionate about the Blog Club project as well as ways to motivate the very busy bloggers to postregularly. Moma, Nhari and Koloina have chosen to blog on tourism and Malagasy culture publishing a variety of pictures, stories and videos competing with professionals websites on the field. How the arrival of a cruise is perceived locally? When mainstream media reports on the economical benefits, Theo shows dances and festivities celebrating the event. Among the 77 articles posted in January 2009, someone interested in Madagascar (the country and not the movie) could easily learn about youth ingenuity (documented with excellent videos by Koloina, Ariniaina and Patrick), local traditions (such as circumcision by Nhari) and read stories of everyday life from Antsirabe to Majunga. But the regular reader from our Netvibes could also perceive the progress of tensions and sense of insecurity that invaded chronologically and very fastly the lives of everyone in Madagascar.

Vako-Drazana Traditional dance to greet tourists in Tamatave

Tamatave guides like Theo speak at least 4 languages

Team work behind this video includes at least 3 bloggers helping Koloina

Prison breaks rumors started in Antananarivo echoed in Tamatave where the bloggers were hesitant to publish about their local prison break. « The media didn’t mention deaths but we saw it » report the bloggers who concentrated on another event with a great impact on Tamatave’s youth, the Sangany International Conference. The fight over Media was in the origins of the latest political crisis in Madagascar that started this month, Flagmada reported that January 17th was a « Day to remember » when witnessing the peaceful inauguration of « la Place de la Démocratie » in Ambohijatovo. It escaladed fastly in riots and destructions between Sunday 24th and Tuesday 26th.

On January 17th from Flagmada

Just on  January 16th Rondro from FBC Majunga was excited to hear from a bilingual radio show « L’Affaire du Coffret » that would be broadcasted on RNM, Radio Madagascar and produced by RFI, Radio France International on January 26th. « C’est cool » bloggers commented. On January 27th, Tahina (http://www.flickr.com/photos/r1lita) brought us pictures of what is left of RNM and the loss of all the precious archives in the fire by rioters…Twitterers reported that only RFI was broadcasting for few hours and lomelle (http://twitter.com/as2coeur), Ariniaina (http://ariniaina.wordpress.com) and Andrydago (http://andrydago.wordpress.com) were spontaneously live-blogging from work on the evolution of the crisis becoming ones of the reliable sources of informations coming from Madagascar during these dark days.


This January we were training for the arrival of the destructive cyclone season that brings millions of Ariary in damages, hundreds of deaths, thousands of homeless and originate a national food crisis. Eric and Fanele didn’t harm Atsinanana region (Tamatave) but destroyed 80% of Menabe capital, Morondava. With the aftermaths of this political crisis, Tahina is lamenting about the rush to gas and basic food :

«  Is it a sign of panic? People are buying oil by bottles, rice by bags, and soap by packs. This is something that rarely happens in an ordinary day. All the cabs and car owners have their tanks full and use their plastic bottles as a kind of back up. Everybody is getting ready for a food shortage that is likely to happen in the days ahead. I’m afraid the food sector won’t be the only one which will know crises. I already know tomorrow, busses won’t work, I may have to go on foot till my office and probably do the same thing to go back home. »

Andrydago is still blogging every day, every hour

And finally we were wondering how the other Foko bloggers were doing during this time of crisis. Slowly we’re starting to receive (good) news from Diego-Suarez with a cool Diana writing that nothing happened there but that Majunga is in ruins (3 weeks ago Lomelle took pictures of this wonderful town), Antsirabe ESSVA's chose safety but Tamatave bloggers took many risks and brought us precious pictures and videos of the manifestations just before it turned into riots.

Updating Flickr in the middle of the riot in Tamatave then Patrick lost his phone….

New! Podcasts and Videos

It has been months since we haven't heard (litterally) from the bloggers. Becoming a Citizen Journalist on the web include learning :
1- to use a blogging platform, in our case WordPress has been a very easy to use from Madagascar;
2- to load pictures on Internet, on a blog post and on Flickr. See the latest addition from Lomelle in Majunga;
3- to take videos and sharing online, what is still a big challenge with the (very) bad load shedding at local cybercafés.
4- to podcasting, the easier way to share the Malagasy voices to the world .

We get the opportunity to teach the 2 first steps during the workshops when introducing the purpose of Citizen Media to newbies (who very quickly become very professional) but videoblogging and podcasting require practice and … a topic/event to cover.

Last year, Diana and Patricia put their skills in good use by promoting a rightful cause. Baby Kamba story was very documented and helped Diana get the world's attention when Patricia was awarded with an International Youth Contest for her Lake of Shame video. Later, all the bloggers present at Barcamp and E-bit were given digital cameras,laptops and connexion time to cover the events from their citizen journalists’ point of view. You can see more on our Flickr albums from these two intense events and on the blogs. And finally Lomelle, the slam artist, shared her first track on her facebook.

ESSVA bloggers ...videobloggers by foko_madagascar.

When writing remains the most popular way at Foko, Tamatave group surprised us (during christmas time!) with very touching and interesting interviews. We are still brainstorming together to solve the few technical problems (related to loading the videos!) but you might to get used to see and hear more and more from Madagascar thanks to Foko bloggers.

Theophile on “Teaching about Thankfulness” :

There was one Pastor called PAPU who is from South Africa taught us about thankfulness.
Why is it so important to be thankful? He said in life there are many reasons we should be thankful wether to God or to one person specifically. But we make sure that we love the giver more than the gifts. In that case, even if we lose the gifts the relationship will still remain and that why we the ” Malagasy” people when we give something we always say ” Aza ny hakelezan’ny fanomezana no jerena fa ny fô manolotra” or ” Ny fô manotra no mameno azy!”. 


Cunie interviewing Diego Suarez students guests at Sangany Students Conference :


Tamatave participants par vous


Play (english):http://www.foko-madagascar.org/podcasts/diegostudents-1.mp3

Play (malagasy): http://www.foko-madagascar.org/podcasts/mpianatradiego-1.mp3

Patrick filming the Green Boy on Tamatave streets :

Green boy