New media workshops with Malagasy journalists and social workers in Fianarantsoa


After an eventful year, Foko coordinator Stéphane Ramananarivo continues to lead workshops to new communities and as a member of the American Press Center was lucky enough to attend conferences and meet journalists and personalities involved in the field.Last Friday, another workshop took place at APC this time to learn about Social Media which is little known by journalists. Two young bloggers helped Stéphane introduce social networks such as Twitter and Facebook but also WordPress. This was the third workshop of a serie which started back in April 2009. APC members were also invited by Foko to attend Barcamp 2 in June 2009 and Friday Talks are still very popular debates among Foko members. He is currently training SAVA and DIANA regions bloggers who showed interest in Foko and its successful Blog Club outreach.

Even the oldest APC member was present

Journalistes et bloggers  dans le même sac

Vakinanankaratra bloggers had another workshop last week and shared with us this new gem from the most dynamic region of the country : And a 2nd workshop was held in Fianarantsoa by most activist blogger Jaona, this time with social workers for marginalised youth (AIDS, Homosexuality,etc.). You can learn more about their great work on their blogs which will be updated soon :,



learn to open an email account then blog

And finally  BOMBS blogging contest has crown 2 Foko bloggers as best in Culture (Moonlight), Vita Gasy and Teny Gasy (Avylavitra). Congratulations to the winners and Thanks to the jurys and readers who helped Foko organise this 2nd edition. You can follow daily updates from Foko community on Netvibes, Facebook and Flickr

Best of Teny Gasy

Best of Vita Gasy

Best of Kolo Gasy

Refreshing news from Fianarantsoa new group

Jaona, our coordinator from Fianarantsoa, starts 2010 in a very good spirit by scheduling a workshop with students around town.

Bonne et Heureuse année 2010 à vous aussi.
Voici quelques mises à jour de l'équipe:
– On a planifié un atelier vers la fin de l'année mais on l'a pas pu,
alors on a reporté l'atelier le 22 janvier, que nous avons pu former
10 bloggers, non seulement la formation ne s'est pas limité au
blogging mais à la familiarisation avec l'internet, comme l'ouverture
d'une adresse mail pour ceux qui n'en a pas encore.
Ainsi, une nouvelle équipe solide vient de se constituer avec en avant
première leur premier blog et leur premier texte:

Happy New Year 2010 to all of you
These are few updates from the team :
– We were supposed to start our workshops by the end of last year but we weren't able to meet, and postponed it for January 22nd. We trained 10 new bloggers not only by familiriazing them to internet but also teached them to open an email account which was the first time for some of them. A solid new tean has been built with them and these are their new blogs and first posts :
First round of post should be renamed : Io zah eh! This is me! with bloggers learning to add pictures on a post. We discover a gimpse of life in Fianarantsoa and smiles that are quite refreshing. Pictures : Tolotra, Toula, Julie, Shant


Pictures : Tolotra, Toula, Julie, Shant

They met again today January 29th and took the time to explore wordpress and update with new posts. Jaona added :

Cette semaine chaque blogger fera un reportage sur un thème donné avec
photo à l'appui. Nous organiserons un autre atelier vendredi prochain
comme menu: personnalisation d'un blog (menu, thème, utilisation des
commentairs, mots clés…) ainsi que le podcast des reportages
réalisés. Plus tard: présentation et intégration dans le site FBC,
utilisation du facebook, twitter, flickr, ushahidi, …
Nous espérons continuer les ateliers chaque semaine jusqu'à ce que ces
nouveaux bloggers aient tous les bagages nécessaires pour être
autonome avant d'en former d'autres qui seront les associations des
jeunes locales vers Mars, une demande en attente.

This week each one of them will choose a topic and will make a report with pictures. We will meet again next friday and will teach : how to customize a blog (sidebar, design, comments management, tagging, …) and adding podcast to reportages. Later : we will introduce FBC website anf social media such networks such as faceboo, twitter, flickr, ushahidi…
We wish to pursue more workshops each week until each new blogger get more autonomy and enough practice to then be able to train new youth from associations in town. I have a pending invitation for March.

Tolotra who is a student in Environment blogged on global warming issues in Madagascar, emphasizes on the necessity to protect endemic species and also to take action :

En tant que Etudiant en Sciences de l’Environnement, je vous donne mes connaissances sur la protection et la conservation de l’Environnement dans le monde.
Les effets du changement climatique sont déjà ressentis à travers le pays comme la sécheresse plus accentuée dans le Sud, les inondations plus fréquentes dans certaines parties nord-est et le décalage des saisons de pluie perçu par les agriculteurs un peu partout dans l’île. En réponse en ces changements, les communautés s’adaptent déjà soit en migrant vers des régions plus propices à leurs activités traditionnelles ou changer carrément d’activité (certains agriculteurs dans le sud – ouest qui migrent vers la côte pour pratiquer la pêche, par exemple) ; d’autres construisent des cases qui sont plus faciles à réparer après le passage des cyclones ou inondations, etc.

The effects of climate change are already being felt across the country as more pronounced drought in the south, more flooding in parts of northeast and shifting seasons of rain received by farmers across the island. In response to these changes, communities are already adapting or migrating to more suitable areas for traditional activities or drastic change of activity (some farmers in the south – west migrating to the coast for fishing, for example ), others are building boxes that are easier to repair after hurricanes or floods.
Sitraka who is a graduate in Tourism (with mention he adds) was involved with Top reseau a network of activists and health specialists committed to educate young people about reproduction health.

Make sure to keep updated on the latest news from Fianarantsoa by keeping a close eye on these freshly trained bloggers:

Bloggers in Tamatave Come Together to Discuss Climate Change

COP15 has seen the participation of FOKO's in real time live. Patrick has again outdone himself by participating with the non governmental organization Jade in a direct videoconferencing with Copenhagen. Patrick proposed to gather questions in advance on his blog.
The work with Jade has started on November 21 during a day dedicated to “Tamatave youth facing Climate Change”. This was to rise awareness among Tamatave youth for climate change issues. Patrick participated as part of FOKO with other 32 youths in Tamatave. A video on this event may be seen at here

“Au programme de cette journée : visite du parc zoologique, découverte de la richesse de sa biodiversité (faune et flore) et randonnée dans la nature, durant la matinée. Après un déjeuner en plein air bien gai : projection du célèbre film documentaire “An Inconvenient Truth” présenté par Al Gore (ex-futur-Président des USA, selon ses propres mots) et sorti le 21 novembre 2006, c'est-à-dire il y a exactement 3 ans ! Et pour clôturer la journée : un débat en table ronde sur comment les jeunes participants perçoivent le changement climatique, ce qu'ils comprennent sur cet notion et sur les enjeux des négociations sur le climat à la COP 15 à Copenhague, en décembre 2009.”

“During this green day : zoo visit, discovery of the wealth of the biodiversity, nature walk during the morning. A cheerful lunch in the open and screening of the famous documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” presented by Al Gore, and out on NOvember 2006, i.e. 3 years ago exactly ! And to finish the day : a debate on how young participants perceive climate change, what they understand as climate change and the issues of the climate change negotiations at the COP15 summit in Copenhagen”.
As Patrick relates :

“Much thanks to those who helped us with their all strength such as: Alliance Française Tamatave, IEGAP, Ambatovy project, and indeed Orange Madagascar. I think without your help, we couldn’t realize our aim. Now I want to take advantage to tell you that, “With Orange Madagascar, you will feel quite alright.” But also we won’t surely forget “L’organisation International de la Francophonie (OIF)” who gave us a chance to follow what happened in Copenhagen Denmark, to ask questions, to give our opinions, and even to give our own solution about this climate change in real time. In term of video conference, it was the first time that Tamatave’s people saw from their own eyes how it works out”.

That electricity had hiccups only added spice to the exceptional event.

“Suddenly we were very sad because only five (5) minutes before our direct participation onto the discussion, there was a power cut which blocked all and that’s the reason why there was a moment when I was offline. Fortunately we were well prepared for that, and also Cop15 participants understood very well our situation. But anyway that wasn’t too long. Few minutes later everything worked very well as before. It was successfully because we could participate on the conference in real time. We finished our mission with a full joy.”

Want more (good) news from Madagascar? What about starting another blogging contest?

We are at it again. It was in 2007 when Foko co-founders had the amazing idea of starting a Blog Club. You already know that story. But the most amazing experience was the reception from the Malagasy blogosphere. They greeted each new members with comments and also were very motivated to join the online chatroom we used to hold each time there was a workhop schedule somewhere arounf the island. FBC1 was held in Ikelilalina, FBC 2 and FBC 3 in Antananarivo, FBC4 in Majunga and so on. We held dizains of chatrooms where active bloggers and guests exchanged on heated discussions on blogs and more. In 2009, there were also local events  organized by members like the Barcamp 2 to get more journalists to interact with cyberactivists but also tree planting outings in Tamatave planned by BUEC or taking a photography workshop in Antananarivo. These experiences were shared with “high-profile” bloggers supporters of Foko efforts to promote citizen journalism since day 1 Jentilisa(the very active Global Voices in Malagasy editor), Hery-Zo (the very active blogger from on tourism or Avylavitra a senior Foko blogger but also one of the most prolific blogger on the current political crisis and we make more and more friends everyday.

To thank our friends and also to open a wider window to the Malagasy blogosphere, we started a blogging contest back in 2007. The profusion of nominations proved how popular the BOMBS were (BOMBS act for Best of Malagasy Blogs). It was also a great occasion to introduce bloggers to the global conversation and show the world the diversity of our culture (divided in categories such as Culture, Lifestyle, Youth, Malagasy languages). This year, we invited the 2007 winners to be part of the jury and they are currently doing an amazing job spreading the (good) news with the help of Foko members. Jentilisa, the 2007 winner in the Best Blog in Malagasy category, has invited all the bloggers located in Antananarivo to meet at Café de la Gare this Sunday, November 29th for a Blog Meeting at 3pm (local time). There will be dizains of bloggers who will be sharing around a beer for this “cyberfety”. It will also be a great opportunity to open the Foko Chatroom to let the bloggers from the provinces and the diaspora join the discussion starting from 7am EST. BOMBS blogging contest nominations period will end on December 31st and winners will be announced on February 3rd after a review of the finalists list from the jury.


There were also many great news from the Foko bloggers (who are publishing intensively these days) lately. First you have to know more about Nhari who is one of the youngest ICE Club from Antananarivo members. He wants you to share your thoughts about the current political crisis in Madagascr and his blog is a great place to learn more about the struggles of the young people in the capitale. We invite everyone to post more comments on his blog to cheer him and thank him for being very active for more than a year. One blogger who never stops to impress us Patrick from Tamatave who has been invited by one of the biggest NGO in Tamatave called the Jeunes Actifs pour le Développement (Young actives for Development). JADE wants to empower young activists in many fields including environmental campaigns. They are leading most of the events held in Tamatave to support more actions for Climate Change and Patrick has been the priviledged guest and witness to their works. Learn more on his blog, on his BUEC Youtube Channel and on Flickr :

The world is threatened. Nowadays, everything is in trouble, for example let’s talk about litchis, despite the success of the litchis festivity this last week-end but I’m telling you that this year is going to be the worst campaign of the litchis which I have never seen since I was born. That is because of two main factors: “First is the reduction of the production; second is the quality of the products is very bad and small”. The international market norm is not respected by our products. Those problems might affect too many different levels of lives, a national economy. I guess, that is because of the climate change, imagine until now when I’m writing this article, we don’t have enough rain yet. And you probably know that that is very useful for the litchis grains growth. Regarding to what happened; we couldn’t export the same amount of tones as usual this year.

Lyva from Antsirabe has been blogging on the importance of media in Vakinankaratra region from the example of HAJA the educational radio:

HAJA : veut dire Haino AmanJerin’Antsirabe « Audio visuel d’Antsirabe »
La radio HAJA est une radio éducation et proximité instituée en 1984 par l’évêque d’Antsirabe. Elle recouvre aussi la région des hautes terre Malgache. (…) Village 100FM avec la volonté de réaliser complètement l’ idée ou projet HAJA dans les dizaines d’année avenir( radio télévision). Son but c’est de renforcer l’éducation aux jeunes avec l’UNICEF . JRC(Jeune reporting Club ).et sensibiliser les enfants par les Amis de la radio.

HAJA means Visual Audio from Antsirabe. Radio Haja as an educational role and was created in 1984 by the Bishop. It covers the main central region of Madagascar (…) Village 100FM is completing HAJA's work especially in producing radio shows. It main goal is to reinforce education among youth with the help of UNICEF, JRC (Youth Reporting Club) and make more children aware by inviting them to join the Friend of the radio club.

R1lita from Antananarivo has been blogging about the struggles of youth in finding jobs which is one of the biggest consequences of the crisis. Insecurity is also one of the echues Foko bloggers are covering and also the big scandale of Roseweood traffiking :

When the 2009’s political crisis in Madagascar start, almost of the economic operators of Sava and Analanjorofo regions were running to convert themselves into the forest exploiters. In my opinion, they just want to take an advantage of the political crisis. That means that they are trying to collect as lots as possible quantity of the Rosewood and why not the other precious woods before the resolution of the situation.


I’m really sorry to say this, but as a simple citizen, I think I have full right to express my own opinion about this situation. I can’t no more close my mouth to see what exactly happen about this illegal business, I’m pretty sure that the local authorities are not outside of the mechanism such as: the Fokontany leaders, the mayors and even the district chiefs, because they know and they should know by heart their areas and their people at the same time, but why? Why? And why they let those people free? You see?


From Madagascar to the World,FOKO streaming.

Our community is celebrating its 2 year anniversary this October. The Foko Blog Clubs always start with workshops in cybercafés where  volunteers from the precedent round teach very simple new media tools such as blogging and   pictures. Video workshops were very difficult to plan given the quality of connexion. The learning curve from activists who are used to be more involved in the field than virtually was regularly progressing and everyone always took care at supporting each other as much as possible when time and money permitted. There are now bloggers who didn't have mailbox before a FBC workshop who are very active on our Facebook/Google group mailing lists! There are bloggers who were very shy ,who are now updating their blogs regularly ! If there is a topic or an event important to be reported (and most of the time forgotten by mainstream media), you can be sure a Foko blogger will write a post, publish a picture, update his Twitter , tell it on Facebook or simply let the word out (read article on Foko Blog Club from The Courrier International blog). In order to learn more about these amazing personalities we've started since January 2009 a serie of interviews celebrating their first year of blogging. You will learn the real reasons behind their online activism and discover (like we did) the keys to sustainability.It mainly resides in the bloggers’ passion for Citizen Media.


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Find out Who is Imahaka? Who is Rasmetal?Who is Moonlight?

Reaching to the provinces was one of the greatest challenges at the Foko Blog Club. We have to thank this time the  generosity of each coordinator who have been the real heroes to Foko's successes. Jaona or Patrick were never afraid to make the long trips from Fianarantsoa or Tamatave to Antananarivo to join the events scheduled by Stephane. They never forget to share with their communities and send news  from their corner of the island. We were very proud when both of them have been selected to join events abroad. Jaona described his Monterrey's trip as a mission to voice out the activism of Malagasy Youth in ICT and Education and this month Patrick was invited at Addis Abebba as a special reporter for the Rising Voices during the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) conference . He also took the time – despite his very busy schedule as tour guide, student in management at the Bsrikadimy's university and BUEC English Club webmaster - to help singer Razia Said find places for her pledge to plant 10000 trees for Zebunation reforestation project.

Looking for the right place where we can plant a trees

Looking for the right place where we can plant a trees

Last month, Foko was present at UN summit on Climate Change and it was an opportunity to advocate Madagascar's environmental echues but also its causes. Stephane‘s work from G20 summit where he met tcktcktck activists was echoed by  the entire Foko community on the Blog Action Day on October 15th. Antsirabe bloggers were the first to update theor blogs thanks to the support of their teacher Randy. At least 8 posts calling for local Action on Climate Change were posted by this amazing group of leaders who have been giving a lot to let the world know that Madagascar's youths are standing proudly and are ready to act more ! and don't forget they were the activists providing first hand news to international media thanks to bridges such as Ushahidi, or Twitter networks, so always keep a careful eye on what Foko bloggers are streaming from Madagascar to the world !

Links and Twitts from Dagomc and Tahina following the Afrobasket Women 2009 competition in Antananarivo.

dagomcI’ve seen a better Madagascar
The miracle did not occure. We didn’t expect one but we also didn’t think of losing by as much as +50pts (39 to 90). The Malagasy team was not a match for the Senegalese in the 4th day of the tournament. Senegal remains then at the top of Group A. “Self confidence”, we didn’t have it once we steped on to the court yesterday. We knew it was going to be hard and a win was out of reach but that should not have prevented us from playing a better basketball. It is so frustrating to see your team . Note : Madagascar was supposed to host the FIBA Africa Women Championship in 1972 but could not because of the unrest at the time. This year, almost the same thing was about to happen. A problem of unpaid wages was evoked yesterday as the responsables of the stats claimed what was due to them. It is said that they had a talk to the Federation and everything has been settled.having a poor game though you know they can do better.

FOKO efforts in promoting ICT Education, Citizen Journalism, Fight against poverty and Environmental activism awarded

When FOKO started exactly 2 years ago, we had on our agenda a panel of ideas that we creatively wanted to turn into successful projects. With the help of Madagascar based activitists we reached to associations and individuals which already had experiences in working with communities and where recognized for their efforts in social activism. After a very active winter ( in the southern hemisphere) with mutliple workshops and gathering, September came as month where our efforts became recognized internationally and where the coordinators at FOKO had the chance to give back to the world which means….travelling cross the oceans to add Madagascar's citizens’ voices to echues such as ICT and Education, Fight against poverty and Climate Change.

FOKO Efforts in promoting Citizen Journalism during the 2009 Political unrest

Many Twitterers based in Madagascar were already actively reporting on the events but FOKO bloggers took thei activism further by going on site and finally in June 2009 hosting a second barcamp this time dedicated to Citizen Journalism. Coordinators invited the journalists members of the Antananarivo American Press Center to transfer their weekly Friday Talk meeting at Barcamp location and mix with citizen media communities. This event was also an opportunity  for Lova, coordinator based in the US to finally meet the bloggers who has been corresponding through blogs for years. Patrick who is FOKO's most active blogger came with HKambora and Cunie from Tamatave who were impatient to share their stories covering political manifestations on this side of the country. After few meetings in Antananarivo, Lova and Global Voices Libgua translator the French journalist and FOKO's number one Fan headed to Majunga to support the social activist Zouboon and little Kamba's family (please read Kamba's story reported by Avylavitra and Diana). Randy from ESSVA Antsirabe took also a part in this extraordinary event by bringing along with him students from this notorious Malagasy school of Journalism (many of ESSVA graduate and FOKO bloggers are now working at national media). A BBC article summarize their involvement and the neutral position of bloggers during the crisis and a photography workshop helped them improving their skills.

BUEC (Cunie, Patrick and Kambora) with ICE club  par foko_madagascar

FOKO  Efforts in promotiong ICT in Education published and exposed in media and educational publication

Bloggers from province have hard times finding good connexion and their work remain dependable on these logistical problems but it doesn't mean that it diminishes the quality of their social activism. Jaona from Fianarantsoa proudly announced us about the mention of FOKO's exemplary achievements in promoting new initiatives in ICT for Education in a UN-GAID publication and was invited by the international francophone agency to introduce FOKO's work. Hopefully he will be able to share more on this amazing opportunity part of UN Millenium Development Goals on his blog, during a future workshop in Fianarantsoa or an interview. Locally BUEC students from Tamatave organized a tree planting a their university to show their commitment to Madagascar's environmental preservation. Their work was reported on national newspaper Midi Madagascar which brought them a great sense of proudness and gave Malagasy youth inspiration in getting more involved in environmental initiatives.

UN-GAID Summit, Monterrey-Mexico par foko_madagascar
Jaona in Monterrey
BUEC in the field par foko_madagascar
BUEC in the field

FOKO Efforts in promoting social activism in fighting against poverty and climate change shared on international stage

Stéphane,co-founder and only FOKO coordonator based in Madagascar, is tirelessly travelling from provinces to provinces and communities to communities since 2007. He was on the verge of planning , yet, another tree planting outing with Malagasy-American singer Razia who is partnering with FOKO in her 10000 trees project when the invitation by Oxfam America White Speak and Act initiative to attend and cover UN summit on Climate Change in New York city. Only 40 bloggers worldwide were invited to this opportunity to ask our leaders about their commitment to fight Climate change and Stéphane is getting ready to report the events in to Malagasy, French and English speaking communities from his blog and on FOKO. On the same week, he will join Voiceteam as well in Pittsburgh to attend G20 summit and this time will bring light to Fight against poverty. FOKO was also committed in reducing poverty in Madagascar since Stéphane's trip in Kelilalina in 2007 where he met local communities and brought their voices to the world. But this doesn't mean that a blogger has to travel cross the ocean to promote their social activism. Patricia, one of FOKO's youngest blogger, has attended a special UNICEF photography workshop to help Malagasy youth take pictures of the causes that were close to their heart. At her level and with FOKO spirit in mind, she is taking part in reducing poverty around her…


from Kelilalina

UNICEF Photography Workshop with Giacomo Pirozzi : Maman, Pati, Giacomo et Stephane par foko_madagascar
to workshops
to another stage

Foko Welcomes Bloggers in Sava & Antsiranana and more cultural insights

These last weeks have seen a whirlwind of activities at FOKO : our bloggers travel, found photography clubs and celebrate their first year anniversary of blogging. FOKO also scores cooperation with like-minded activists : New York based Malagasy singer Razia Said and FOKO are now walking hand in hand in to promote conservation awareness.
FOKO is now really well represented geographically and FOKO bloggers take us on a tour of the Big Red Island . Let us start with HKambora who posts about the Sakalava expansion and the origins of the Antakarana Kingdom :

“The legend is based on a story in which King Andriandahifotsy foretold the founding of two kingdoms, the Sakalava and the Antakarana by studying astrology. The King offered a choice to his sons between gold and silver the choice would predict the future of the two branches of his family. The descendants of royal blood decided in favour of gold (Volamena) and the King predicted the founding of a great but short-lived kingdom, the Sakalava Kingdom. The non royal descendants chose silver (Volafotsy) and it was foretold that they would found a much smaller but longer lasting kingdom, the Antakarna.”
Then let us move south to the Central Highlands :
In Antananarivo, Pati is founding a photography club with support from UNICEF.

“A la clôture de l’atelier, les parents et les responsables des associations, écoles ou centres d’origine des enfants étaient invités pour la restitution et l’offre officielle d’un appareil photo pour chaque entité. En ce qui concerne les participants, après avoir bénéficié d’une très riche formation,ils vont à leur tour former d’autres enfants qui seront regroupés dans le tout nouveau premier club de jeunes photographes de Madagascar, que l’UNICEF va créer avec les 18 participants. Beaucoup d’échanges, de partages et de messages transmis, ainsi ont été les résultats de cet atelier. Mais le plus grand en est la nouvelle voie qui s’ouvre aux enfants et jeunes malgaches par le biais de l’UNICEF : l’expression par les photos.”

In Antsirabe, when ESSVA students are not enthusiastically promoting blogging, they are busy traveling. This time, they explored the photogenic island of Nosy Be and for our benefits, they post pictures and texts. Follow our island trotters here when they cover the DONIA festival.

“Il ne reste plus qu’une semaine de cours. Les étudiants en 2ème de la Filière Communication et Journalisme ont pris de l’avance sur les vacances en faisant un voyage d’études à Nosy-Be. Le cadre est le festival Donia, un plate-forme par excellence en matière de communication. L’utile et l’agréable, en somme. Mais trêve de bla-bla et laissons les photos parler.”
“We have one week of classes left. Second year students majoring in Communication and journalism go on vacation early by visiting Nosy Be. The landscape is the Donia festival, an excellent backdrop for communication. Joining pleasant and useful things. But let us stop chit chatting, pictures are worth thousands of words. “

Interview with director of communication of Donia
(ESSVA interviewed the rep of the Donia festival)

Andrikely writes about the consequences of the political crisis on farmers. Many of them used to supply TIKO, Madagascar's dairy company, which belonged to the ousted President, Marc Ravalomanana. TIKO is now encountering many hardships.

Région Vakinankaratra

Actuellement, les éleveurs des vaches laitières rencontrent de problème de surproduction de laits dans la ville d’Antsirabe et surtout dans la région de Betafo (26 km à l’ouest de la ville) . La plupart de ces paysans dépendent de la collection de l’industrie TIKO qui est le principal producteur de produits à base laitière mais le TIKO n’a reçu depuis le début de la crise parce que leurs consommateurs ont diminué par des différentes raisons à cause de la situation actuelle. Par conséquent, les laits doivent être vendus par bouteille dans la rue avec de prix plus bas, pour éviter la perte total des éleveurs , ils les transformés en yaourt de maison si bien qu’il y ait beaucoup de produits vendus sur la rue et la consommation diminue de jour en jour ; le problème, c’est le lait devient inutile si on ne réussit pas à le vendre en même jour .Le lait peut être transformé aussi en fromage (transformation informelle par les éleveurs ) mais son prix n’est pas relatif à la quantité de laits à transformer .Donc, ces paysans doivent chercher tous les moyens pour gagner de revenu à partir de leur propre production.”

“Dairy overproduction amongst farmer with minimal prices”
Today farmers who rise dairy cows meet overproducion problems in the city of Antsirabe, and especially in the Betafo region (26 kilometers west of the city). Most of these farmers depend on the collect that TIKo does, as it is the principal producer of dairy products, but consumers have reduced their intake since the crisis. And so milk is sold by the bottle in the streets at the lowest cost, to avoid total loss by the farmers, they also now make home made yogurt, and there is too many of those on the streets and consumption diminishes day by day. Milk is useless if one does not sell it on the same day. Milk can also be used to make cheese (informally), but the price is not correlated to the quantity of milk to be used. So these farmers have to find any means to gain revenue based on their own production.”

Meanwhile the FOKO family keeps growing : FOKO has now a foothold (or two) in Northern Madagascar. The SAVA region and Antsiranana are now part of the FOKO network. You can follow their first steps here. Welcome to the FOKO coordinators there : Affick GASSARD and Rakotoarisoa. Please encourage our new bloggers by posting comments.
We are happy to report that three of our bloggers also celebrated their one year anniversary of blogging these last three months. From the Eastern coast, Patrick reflects on his motivations for blogging :

“Why did I start to blog?
To be frank, I don’t know. You know why? Because when Mr. Stéphane and Mrs. Valerian called me with my team from BUEC for the first time, I never even heard about that “BLOG” Then when I started and surfed around the old bloggers blog at that time, one thing came out from my mind: it’s the only one way where can I make my voice heard, the only one way to make BUEC known, the only one way to have a lot of friends in very short time, the only one way that I can listen from all around the world. That’s why I became fan of blogging.
What is the best blogging experience?
In term of experience, I got lot of from blogging but the best one is: now I get used to shut my mouth up when I heard something which I’m not sure.”

In May, Patrick introduces to us the new dynamic president of BUEC in Toamasina.

And as always, but with a special mention to Patrick, kudos to our members whose enthusiasm and consistency at blogging should be noted. We are proud of you.

Foko sharing Citizen Media experiences to Communities

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).

zap.pngAntananarivo Miblaogy 5 : Behind the nicknames, real life activists

rss_mg.pngAriniaina 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. rss_mg.pngTahina, 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

zap.pngFoko 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 rss_mg.pngPatricia 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

zap.pngNew York Soul of the New Machine Conference : Lova tells about his Foko involvment in Human Rights, technology and new media

Lova who was strongly relaying on the bloggers from their twitters and blogs on the development of the 2009 political crisis had the opportunity to share about Foko's activities :

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 rss_mg.pngTahina, 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.

zap.pngFriday  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”.


Herizo (in blue) From r1lita Flickr Album

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 :


zap.pngWhen Antsirabe meet Tamatave : The power of Love

Randy Donny and rss_mg.pngPatrick 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 rss_mg.pngPatrick 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 :

21309407432 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.

More news and stories from Foko bloggers from the provinces of Madagascar

As we were making our monthly round of reports on FBC activities, we noticed that we didn't take the time to properly introduce our October 2008 addition, here at the Rising Voices, the talented ESSVA classes of Journalism and Media from Antsirabe.

FBC _ Vakinankaratra par vous

rss_mg.pngESSVA, Ecole Supérieure Spécialisée du Vakinankaratra“ in Antsirabe was founded in 1999 and has became a distinguished professional education center in Madagascar with students coming from all the regions including the Comorros Island to graduate in Journalism, Ecotourism, Management, Education, Engineering and since 2008 in Restauration. Foko had the priviledge to have a citizen media workshop at this prestigious school with Randy Donny a professional journalist who is teaching the 2nd and 3rd year in Communication and Media. Our partnership was renewed when the school staff allowed the students to attend and host the E-bit technology fair in Antananarivo on October 17th helping the entire Foko community to introduce Citizen Media to thousands of Malagasy high-schoolers. After 6 months of activities, this new FBC location is still very active despite the recent events and their heavy school schedule. rss_mg.pngImahaka, rss_mg.pngRaslmetal and rss_mg.pngMicramia were also very alert and took part at relaying news during this 2009 political crisis (they joined Facebook, Twitter and the Ushahidi Squad). We were also very happy to learn from Randy that the bloggers are still very motivated and have helped opening dizains of new blogs since.

zap.pngI urge you all to support Imahaka by posting comments on his blog. His latest posts are worth the reading. And we also have new bloggers, we have to put on Foko list because they passed the ‘salutation’ stage : rss_mg.png, rss_mg.png, rss_mg.png, rss_mg.png, rss_mg.png And we have a new girl from Fianarantsoa rss_mg.png and a student from the Comorros rss_mg.png You might keep looking for these new blogs that we still need to be fixed : rss_mg.png, rss_mg.png, rss_mg.png (a girl from Majunga), rss_mg.png and rss_mg.png

Jeune fille lors d'un karaoke! Phénomème moderne à Madagascar qui est devenu mode.

Young girl participating at a local talent show! from rss_mg.pngImahaka‘s blog


zap.pngAs the political crisis is getting new developments but the media focused on the capitale only, rss_mg.pngJelona the new coordinator from Fianarantsoa was able to bring more news from his region publishing pictures of daily manifestations. He will put all his energy in training new bloggers to Citizen Media not to cover the events only but also to introduce the extraordinary cultures and traditions Betsileo region.

rss_mg.pngJelona‘s blog (rss_mg.png was created in March 2008 and is from Fianarantsoa


zap.pngrss_mg.pngPatrick, über Twitterer, is by far the most hard working blogger of Foko community when posting videos regularly and bringing wonderful stories from Tamatave's region. Recently he has helped rss_mg.pngJulienne to open a blog : rss_mg.png and updated us on the port staff's strikes, rumours of a Diabe (political march), the results of a Volley Beach tournament and the very touching interview of Bosco :

Do you know why he is walking around alone like this?

zap.pngrss_mg.pngTahina, who is in charge of the Ushahidi aggregator in Antananarivo, has showed to many Foko how to use this new citizen meda tool and many bloggers were interviewed by International Media such as the Wall Street Journal, CNN, Lemonde. Lova is reporting on Ushahidi:

Amidst increasing concerns over the political instability in Madagascar and the safety of local news reporters, citizen media has made an important  contribution to the understanding and documentation of on-site based reports.

Report news from your location by texting directly to Ushahidi

Foko Pictures on Flickr


My heart is crying for little Kamba – Mitomany an’i Kamba kely ny foko

Back in April 2008, Diana Chamia, a student at the school of journalism of Majunga, published Kamba's story and called for help. Dozens of bloggers and internauts all over the world contributed to a campaign to bring the baby to Antananarivo for surgery in June 2008. (cf: Rising Voices post) Diana was joined by people with big heart who dedicated time and love to Kamba and this family kept on caring for him when they got back to Majunga after a successful operation. Avylavitra became a close friend, an uncle, who was the first to let us know about the sad news of Kamba's sudden passing.

Mitomany an’i Kamba kely ny foko 

Many of you heard about the story of Kamba (his name was Antefindrazana Tombotsara, he was born on June 7th 2007 in Mahabibo, Mahajanga). The child was brought to neurosurgery in HJRA to operate his rare illness and the successful operation was relayed by medis such as Midi Flash or Madagascar Tribune.

We did our best to give him the best health care possible, humanly possible, but Andriamanitra, our God who gives and takes back, called little Kamba to be next to him this morning. (…)

This morning, as one of my friends who was also close to the family called and told us about an urgent news – Kamba had to be rushed to the hospital after another crisis – we had to send his mother phone credits in Mahajanga by E-recharge so she could call us, here in Antananarivo, as soon as she meets a specialist and gives us more details on the situation. After we sent the credits and waited for her to call back, I ran out of patience and made the call myself. She gave me the time to finish my questioning and thanked me for the credits then in a burst of tears told me :

He is gone, uncle, our little Kamba is gone! My child has died! It has nothing to do with his Antananarivo's trip but Kamba has died!

(…) For all of you who knew him, who have heard of him and all of you who just know about him from this post, I want to let you know that Kamba is still in our hearts, alive. Keep praying for the little twin sister, he left behind. Keep praying for his mother who did everything in her power to find the best and filled the little time he spent in this world with joy and happiness. 

Let's remember the wonderful work we did together for Kamba, keep it in your minds as one of the most beautiful memories and don't give up on the many little Kamba who still need your help (…)

From Gazety Avylavitra, March 19th 2008