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 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
SURPRODUCTION LAITIERE AU SEIN DES ELEVEURS AVEC DE MINIMUM PRIX

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 Timeline updates

March and April were trying months for Foko bloggers since the 2009 political crisis had threaten their daily lives and created economical struggles all around the country. As many members were also starting classes at University there were less blog updates in April but they are waiting for you to post comments!

March 2009

Here are our blog updates on Rising Voices :
My heart is crying for little Kamba – Mitomany an’i Kamba kely ny foko
More news and stories from Foko bloggers from the provinces of Madagascar

From Locations :

Manifestations du 27/02/09 à Fianarantsoa
La vie continue chez les Foko
1 an de blogging, qu’en penses-tu Pati?
Updates on the Foko/Ushahidi & twitter crisis report initiative
What’s up in Tamatave and Fianarantsoa?
Malagasy forests in danger : SOS Masoala !
That’s from Tamatave
[Tananarive] The New Experiences We’ve Got From The Interviews We Had
1 an de blogging, qu’en penses-tu Lomelle?

April 2009

Here are our blog updates on Rising Voices :
Foko sharing Citizen Media experiences to Communities

From Locations :

Any Citizen Media activities from the provinces? 14 new blogs in a March !
Foko Clubs à Madagascar
Have you heard from Tamatave bloggers lately?
Mettez vos twitters à jour !
We urge you to Post comments on Jelona’s blog (and the rest of FBCs)

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Videos

Voice from BUEC from Tamatave

Morning Song from Tamatave

Mr Ludger’s first speech from Tamatave

Patrick and  Bosco from Tamatave

Small Bosco from Tamatave

New Media Workshop at ACP from r1lta

March protests from Ariniaina

Pictures

Interviews with BBC/Irinews Christina Corbett

Manifestations in Fianarantsoa from Jelona

Foko Ushahidi workshop

Volley-Beach in Tamatave from Layshyuu

ESSVA in Tamatave from Layshyuu

Foko Timeline updates

2008 events also available on Rising Voices wiki 

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As the project is expanding and groups are very active in their locations, we have decided to get more bloggers involved in the coordination and management of their own group. Since December 2008, we gave each leader more responsabilities in distributing the digital cameras and internet connexion hours but also on  reporting and organizing their own activities. Our second Self-Evaluation wouldn’t have been possible without the commitment of Tahina in Antananarivo, Patrick in Tamatave (http://club.foko-madagascar.org/author/patrick/),Randy in Antsirabe (http://club.foko-madagascar.org/author/randy) and now Jaona from Fianarantsoa (http://club.foko-madagascar.org/author/jaona). Facebook and Twitter have also been very active network between the Foko but also to share the news from the 2009 political crisis, more than 20 bloggers have opened a Facebook account (thanks to Lomelle) and 10 onTwitter (with updates from mobile phones).

February 2009

Here are our blog updates on Rising Voices :

Second Self-Evaluation http://rising.globalvoicesonline.org/foko/2009/03/02/foko-blog-club-second-self-evaluation/

Citizen Media tools to describe the struggles of a population http://rising.globalvoicesonline.org/foko/2009/02/

From Locations :

Ushahidi Comme Outil De Média Citoyen Lors De Crise

Exemplary works of Citizen Journalism from Antsirabe, Tamatave, Diego and Majunga

Twitter updates bring to light the intense networking between Foko bloggers

Antananarivo bloggers actively reporting on the 2009 political crisis

FBC tamatave

Challenges FBC Tana Faces During This Crisis

Manifestations du 27/02/09 à Fianarantsoa

January 2009

Here are our blog updates on Rising Voices :

January 2009 : a month of collective activism to remember at Foko http://rising.globalvoicesonline.org/foko/2009/01/

New! Podcasts and Videos : http://rising.globalvoicesonline.org/foko/2009/01/

2009 New year’s eve in Tamatave

(Antananarivo) Foko Picnic at Ambohidratrimo

Majunga, plus qu’une ville