Journalists, Youth Clubs, Students, Bloggers, … During the month of April, many activities and events were attended by the bloggers on their own initiatives. We must remind here that this is an important step for our organization. When members of Foko community get to promote Citizen media and initiate activites on their own in order to become spokeperson for Foko without the implication of the co-founders (who were also very busy this month).
Antananarivo Miblaogy 5 : Behind the nicknames, real life activists
Ariniaina and ICE Club members of Foko were heavily representing the new generation of bloggers at this edition. As usual it was a semi-private meeting between bloggers from the capitale were they has an opportunitiy to share about their experiences on blogging. Tahina, shares :
The most interesting part for me is no doubt when they shared their experiences during the on going political crisis. The difficulties bloggers have to face when they are on site. And me, I was like a kid doing what I think I’m best at … listening, laughing and snapping some shots
Foko introduced to Malagasy Diaspora in France : Thank you Sipagasy
Without the support of the Malagasy blogosphere, the Foko Blog Club project couldn't have got nowhere. Sipagasy who was there from the beginning by commenting and participating on forums and chatrooms, took her activism further for the past 18 months. She was one of the supporters at the “Class of 2008 graduation party” and also visited Patricia in Brussels during her September 2008 Interdependance Conference trip. This April, she was our spokeperson in Nantes were 5000 Malagasy meet every year for the annual RNS (Rencontres Nationales Sportives – National Sport Meetings). Many asked about the purposes of the Foko Blog Club project and why blogging is important to Malagasy Youth. Of course it was surprise to them to learn that hundreds of young Malagasy were updating their blogs from provinces where the connexion is very difficult to get. They also asked if it was only for leisure as blogging is a very popular tool for French teens to express themselves. But Sipagasy told them about activism during this 2009 political crisis and shared videos and pictures from the many many social activities where Foko bloggers got very involved.
From Sipagasy album
New York Soul of the New Machine Conference : Lova tells about his Foko involvment in Human Rights, technology and new media
As you know, Foko primary mission is to document the everyday lives of Malagasy citizens and local agents of environmental change, not record potential human rights violations by their government. Yet, the ongoing crisis decided otherwise for the time being. The hub was a great opportunity to meet and learn first hand from Human Rights activists present at the event.
The participants also discussed about the The Foko Ushahidi plateform specifically data accuracy, fact-checking and the use of mobile reporting. And Tahina, to Solana Larsen of Global Voices has more details on the tremendious work Foko bloggers are doing :
there were a few obstacles to overcome but FrontlineSMS developpers ( Alex Anderson, Carlos Genz and Ken Banks) provided timely technical support and sped up the release of a new version they were working on to take into account the urgent need for an SMS/computer interface for the Madagascar crisis. We cannot thank them enough for helping us establish the first project to collect SMS reports directly onto a computer via the intelliSMS software.
The Ushahidi team was also tremendous in setting up the platform quickly and showing us how to modify the interface to allow for the translation of key words, categories and timeline.
Friday Talk at Antananarivo American Press Center : teaching New Media tools to journalists
Bloggers were invited by the ACP staff to share their knowledge on New Media tools to journalists. Herizo, among many ICT associations representants, who has already worked with Foko during October 2008 Barcamp and Ebit events, was the lead trainer during this “special workshop”.
Dizains of new Twitter accounts were created but first they had to convince the journalists to take more involvment in New Media which wasn't an easy part, watch Tahina's videos :
When Antsirabe meet Tamatave : The power of Love
Randy Donny and Patrick were busy planning the ESSVA annual Spring trip to the provinces and this time they chose Tamatave. After a long trip, they arrived singing and smiling at Bakidimy's University and were warmly welcomed by all the BUEC and Ravinala guide associations. Videos, Twitters, blog posts were published regularly by Patrick during their meetings.
The wonderful trip took a very sad turn at Tahiti Kely Beach when one of the student was taken by the waves. Randy shares about his protégé Frédéric :
He was just 21 and just got his baccalaureat last year with his friend Parfait. Their teachers from high school contacted me and shared about their financial difficulties to pursue their studies. I didn't know them at all, I never even met them but I took them under my wings and brought them to Antsirabe. Then I took their cases to the ESSVA grant commission with the intentions to get them to study here. They won't have to pay fees, I wasn't disappointed: they made good grades, have social skills and attended to classes everyday. Frédéric was interested in everything and was always asking around on everything, everyhwere he goes. He was the pride of ESSVA. He was part of the little group I gather and helped so they could succeed in their studies. The Gods of the Sea had decided otherwise and changed Frédéric's fate.