The Project will create an increased awareness on media literacy amongst the school going youth and high school dropouts, who reside at Changjiji Housing Complex by conducting a series of media literacy/engagement classes. A local media expert will conduct photojournalism, digital storytelling and video-blogging classes. Through this training we hope that the youth will not only gain an understanding of how media functions, but also get their voices heard and be a part of our democratic processes.
What locality or neighborhood will your project focus on?
The project will initially be carried out at Changjiji. And we would like to replicate the program in four other READ communities.
Describe the specific community with whom you will be working.
“E-ngage Youth” will target the school going youth and high school dropouts in Changjiji Housing Complex, where READ Bhutan has a Community Library and Resource Center (READ Center). The Changjiji community is a low-income area living in government-subsidized housing. The residents are from all over the country and the community is a microcosm of Bhutan. Most of the youth here have no access to Internet services besides the facilities that are offered at READ Center. Majority of them don’t yet fully understand the potential of technology and how it could help with their voices but are very keen to learn. As a result, the youth here have so much potential and interest to learn. This project will impact and add values to the lives of more than 10,000 people, most of whom are youth.
What kinds of news, stories and other content will be created?
The Project aims to use social media as an advocacy tool. The youth will create media content and express their opinions on social issues affecting them in the form of photographs, blogging and social networking. A Facebook Group or a blog will be started as a platform to launch and showcase their stories, views and images. The participants will also create content for and coordinate a community newsletter, which will be published online. This will be an initiative that will be coordinated solely by youth for other youth and adults alike. This year is election time and the second in the country. We want our youth to learn to express their thoughts on our democratic process and project like this will go a long way in contributing to our democratic process.
What technologies and digital tools do you plan to use in the trainings?
Describe the connections that you or your organization have already established that will contribute to the success of the project.
READ Bhutan already has a presence through our READ Center (first of its kind in the locality) that is frequented by children, youth and adults alike. READ Center not only provides books, IT facilities and multimedia tools, but also social and outreach programs in health, women empowerment, early childhood development and leadership. We have youth volunteers taking active part in the center activities and school children visit the center for various information and other academic supports. Today the READ Center has more than 1,500 youth and adults as members. For content delivery, we would like to partner with one of the leading media organizations in the country and have professional media personnel train the participants.
How many participants do you think will be involved in your project?
‘E-ngage Youth’ Project will engage and train 150 youth participants split amongst five batches of 30 participants. Each batch will be trained over a month. The 150 youth who receive the media literacy and engagement training will in turn form a youth ‘E-ngage Media Group’. The group will impart their skills and knowledge thus acquired to other youth in the community through blogging, digital storytelling and social networking. The E-ngage Youth graduates will also initiate community e-newsletter. READ Bhutan will provide the youth with space and computers with Internet facility within the READ Center where they can work on the newsletters.
Describe which technologies, tools, and media you will focus on when training participants.
‘E-ngage Youth’ will train and engage 150 school-going youth and high school dropouts by giving them media literacy classes to not only learn about how media functions, but also to be able to express their opinions on social issues. The participants will be trained in digital storytelling and creating podcasts using open source programs like Audacity. They will learn to use essential equipment and different media tools. The project will also teach youth the interview skills and techniques, basics of citizen journalism and story boarding, and many more. Facebook has gained popularity especially amongst the youth and we would like to like to use it as a tool to inform, educate and empower Bhutanese to initiate social dialogues. 42,860 Bhutanese youth (ages 13-19) have registered on Facebook.
Describe the facilities where you will hold the workshops.
The workshops will be conducted in the READ Center. The Center has Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Section where youth come to use computers and browse information from Internet. The theoretical classes will be offered in the Center's spacious Conference Hall, which can easily accommodate all the participants. The ICT Section has 10 computers with ADSL Internet connection, which has an approximate speed of 100mbps. We will also arrange more computers during the workshop to address the shortage. On top of digital cameras and voice recorders that we have, we will purchase 10 more digital cameras, voice recorders, and headphones. The youth will also have a dedicated work computer with Internet facility, which they can utilize to work on their projects outside of workshops.
What is your current relationship with the community with whom you plan to work? What makes you the most appropriate individual or organization to implement this project?
READ Bhutan had set up a Community Library and Resource Center in Changjiji Housing Colony in close collaboration with National Housing Development Corporation Limited (NHDCL), a government owned housing company that builds affordable homes to low income families around the country. We now have a strong relationship with and presence in the community. The community members openly express their appreciation to READ for the resources that the center provides them. This is supported by the fact that the community members volunteer to help us coordinate and organize regular activities in the Center.
What specific challenges do you expect to face when planning and implementing your project?
In order to successfully implement the Project, we foresee the following challenges. The first challenge we might face is time constraint. Since the project will be carried out amongst students, we will be unable to conduct classes during the daytime. However, in order to overcome this challenge, we plan to conduct the workshops either in the evenings or during the weekends when youth are free from school. The second challenge we foresee is participants’ poor writing skills. We feel that participants need to express themselves clearly and succinctly in order to get their points across. And in order to overcome the challenge we plan to have the media expert thoroughly train the participants to write well and appropriately express their views.
How will you measure and evaluate the project’s impact, specifically: your primary participants, the wider regional community, or the global digital community?
Before we implement the Project, we plan to carry out a survey that will determine competency of the participants and similarly we will also carry out a survey upon the completion of the workshop. However, in order to gauge the success of the project, we will also use the following as the yardsticks:
1) Number of participants signed up for the workshop;
2) Number and frequency of posts the participants make on the group;
3) Number of blogs created after the workshop;
4) Number of comments and feedbacks the posts receive;
5) The level of community’s engagement through e-newsletter;
6) Content analysis of posts on Facebook Group.
If your project were to be selected as a Rising Voices grantee, what would be the general timeline of project activities in 2013?
‘E-ngage Youth’ Project will go on for one year. The first six months will be solely dedicated towards training the participants and equipping them with adequate skills and knowledge. Each month, we will train a batch of 30 youth. Once the participants complete their training, a Facebook group will be created wherein they would post their stories, images and views. The following is a tentative schedule of the proposed project:
1) By the end of first month – we will have hired media expert; registered participants; made logistics arrangement for the training;
2) By the end of second month – we will have trained the first batch;
3) By the end of third month – we will have trained the second batch;
4) By the end of the fourth month – we will have trained the third batch;
5) By the end of the fifth month – we will have trained the fourth batch;
6) By the end of the sixth month – we will have trained the fifth batch
The remaining months will be used to monitor and evaluate the project.
Detail a specific budget of up to $4,000 USD for operating costs.
‘E-ngage Youth’ Project will require the budget appended as below:
1. Training fees for the media expert – USD 1,200 (lumpsum);
2. Procurement of training equipment – USD 1,600 (additional cameras, voice recorders, headphones, etc.);
3. Refreshment for the participants during the training – USD 800;
4. Procurement of stationery items – USD 300;
5. We will use the computers with Internet facilities at the READ Center;
6. The READ Center will also offer its training hall for the training free of charge
7. No translation or travel cost is applied
Besides the microgrant funding, what other resources and support are you seeking for your project to ensure its success?
Besides microgant funding, we are also looking for new ideas and engaging ways of carrying out similar programs from the network and other participants. We look forward to learning a great deal from your expertise especially in the field of citizen media, which will help us understand the best approaches and practices on how to launch and sustain a youth led online media group and platform. We are also planning to use and adapt Rising Voice’s outreach guides series on Global Citizen Media, the first one in the series being “An Introduction to Citizen Media’.
READ (Rural Education and Development) Bhutan