New poster to announce the project in Januária

This week, Januária's schools and colleges will receive this poster. It invites students to subscribe at the Friends of Januária project, which will take place in September and October, at Olegário Maciel Public School. It says: “Learn journalism skills and how to use digital tools that help to monitor what happens in your town – for example, how public resources are being spent”. To subscribe, the student must be studying at the last semester of High School or he must have graduated between 2008 and 2010. We already sent 120 of these posters to 10 schools and asked them to put them up at their classrooms. Subscriptions can be done until 19/08 at our new blog (in Portuguese):

Meeting partners in Januária

I was in Januária between July 7th and 9th. The visit was very important to tell people about the seminars that will start in September and hear their opinions about them.

Together with Fabio Oliva, we visited several schools and talked to their administrators about the idea of capacitating young people to monitor the public administration with news reports for a blog. They seemed very excited and also gave us interesting feedbacks that might be useful for eventual other projects in the city, such as giving the media journalism course to children and teachers!

Fabio and I also talked to one of the representatives of the Public Prosecution Service in Januária that agreed to participate in one of the meetings and tell the participants more about his work.

In the last day we had a meeting with the Asajan members that also gave us some feedbacks on activities that we can do with the participants during the course. One of them was to visit Januária's hospital emergency sector and report how is the attention to the patients there. As this, there were a lot of great ideas that we hope to incorporate.

They also helped us to define the target public for the project and places where we should publicize it.

After the visit, Amanda and I had a meeting to discuss our next steps until September. We have now prepared some marketing materials and are starting to distribute them among our partners and schools from Januária. Everything is going well, but we have a lot of work until then! We will keep you informed on what is going on!

How to fight corruption in Januária? Talking to people!

Amanda and I finished taping the documentary “Velha Januária” in October 2008, weeks before the municipal elections. Since then, our contact with the city was through Fabio Oliva and other people that we met and that shared with us news from there. In the beginning of July, I went back to Januária after almost two years to make some final arrangements for the project “Friends of Januária”.

When I arrived this time, the municipal employes were in the middle of a strike for wage adjustment. As always, the city was incredibly alive and people were anxious to talk about politics and their impressions on the municipal government… specially when they saw Fabio Oliva! To spend some days with him made me understand a little better the work of Asajan.

We were together to tell people about the project “Friends of Januaria” but, meanwhile, a new case for investigation appeared. In the morning, it was just a rumor told by a teacher about some houses that were being built for selling somewhere in the town. Who was building them and with which money were some of the questions in the air, but the suspicion was that the municipality was somehow involved in this.

A clue for the investigation came in the afternoon during a meeting with the representative of the Public Prosecution Service in Januária. He asked if people were using materials and trucks from the municipality for this work, what would be illegal… In the evening, more information: the municipality had done paving only in the streets around the place where the houses will be located. The mystery was getting interesting and Fabio was anxious to find out more.

In the next day, before leaving Januária we went to the place where the houses are being built and got some pictures of the constructions and the paved streets. We could also find out who is in charge of them, to whom it belongs, how many houses will be made and their prices. Fabio has now a lot of elements to find out the if the municipality is really involved in this. Let's wait to see what he will discover!

Obviously this made me think a lot about the project and things we should stimulate in the participants. A quick look around their neighborhood can bring interesting stories to tell and new cases to investigate.


On the next post I will tell more about the meetings we had in Januária during this visit and the advances we are making in the project.