Since October 2007, when we started the Foko Blog Club project, our constant preoccupation was to find a sustainable way to finance our workshops. The Rising Voices grant came at the right moment (after our 3rd workshop) and helped us extend our activities in the regions where there are less coverage from the media. We bought digital cameras and distributed it right away to the groups to publish videos, podcasts and furnish their blogs with pictures.Our mini-blogging contest back in April 2008 proved that competition may be very motivational. Even if Karenichia was the one who won the digital camera, we greeted all of the participants free hours of connexion to help them update their blog outside the workshops. Of course their heavy schedule (since most of the members are students at universities) and, again, the high costs at cybercafes were the obstacles for them to blog regularly.
Mrs Annelie Rozenboom the offices of the Mada English Journal
The offer from Mrs Annellie Rozenboom to publish our bloggers’ articles and instauring a special FOKO column brought intensive and very creative writing from every corner of the island. The Madagascar English Journal is a weekly publication distributed to high-schools to promote the use of English (which is now Madagascar's 3rd official language with French and Malagasy). They quickly recognized the versatily of the likes of Rondro or Ledheada (Lists of selected articles here) and we are now frequently asked to submit more on culture and society in exchange of a small stipend converted in connexion hours (again to keep the focus on online presence). This interest in their work from the great staff at Mada Journal (a publication sponsored by Exxon Mobile and supported by the US embassy*), their advices to help write in a more journalistic way (integrate few lines of interviews, illustrate with pictures,…) and the opportunity to be read by thousands were the reasons behind these last weeks’ flow of blogging.
Already 7 bloggers contributed to the free Journal distributed to Madagascar's high-schools
From all the FOKO Blogggers,
Thank you for reading our articles
We still have little problems commenting and responding to feedbacks which was very early noticed and oftenly criticized by the blogosphere. We are looking for ways to solve the problems of low speed connectivity and give more time to our bloggers to take part in the many debates their articles have initiated.
(*thanks to Mrs Rozenboom for the correction)