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Théophile Kouamouo has long been one of Francophone Africa's leading bloggers. Based in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Kouamouo is one of the founders of the Ivoire Blog network and started the wildly successful meme “Why I Blog About Africa.” (Elia Varela Serra summarized many of the resulting responses in a two-part series on Global Voices.) Kouamouo is now trying to bring many more of his countrymen and women to the blogosphere by organizing a series of “blog camps” around Abidjan in which current Ivorian bloggers can discuss the issues affecting them and show new bloggers how to join their ranks.
Kouamouo first proposed the idea on his blog back in August last year, which attracted a number of enthusiastic commenters supporting the idea. Blog Camps have a long history of attracting new citizens to the participatory net. A number of blog camps have taken place in India, including in Chennai in 2006 and, more recently, in Mumbai. Blogcamp CEE last October brought many new participants to the Russian-speaking blogosphere. For the most part, however, West Africa (and particularly Francophone West Africa) has been left out of the booming global blogosphere. That is starting to change. Panos West Africa, in partnership with Highway Africa and Global Voices, recently announced the winners of the Waxal – Blogging Africa Awards. Next year we can expect to find many more Ivorians on that list as Théophile Kouamouo sets out to organize a series of events that will bring dozens if not hundreds of Ivorians to the blogosphere. Abidjan Blog Camps will also promote more pan-African online interaction by teaming up with existing blog camp movements in Madagascar, Kenya, Uganda, Mauritius, and South Africa.
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