The project seeks to empower survivors of the 1986 Lake Nyos Gas disaster who were resettled in make shift camps and have been abandoned there without adequate shelter, food security, health and sanitation. The project trains key members of the society and equip them to be able to bring their vital voices to the global community thereby putting government to task so they can take responsibility for their action. The project would increase a sense of empowerment of survivors since the internet is a liberating force. The project would give them access to the transformative power of the internet
What locality or neighborhood will your project focus on?
Wum and Bum
Describe the specific community with whom you will be working.
The Lake Nyos survivors in Resettlement camps in the North West of Cameroon lack what most people elsewhere take for granted: no access to information from the mainstream media; no information in mainstream society about their existence and their concerns. They are largely undeserved by modern communication and information technologies, therefore no attention about them from local government and international community. We want to work with them because they remain a poor rural people and needs empowerment so as to change their quality of life. There is therefore a great need to make their voices heard. This project would function as a gateway to ideas, resources, and opportunities that never could have been realized before, let alone fathomed. They would imagine new possibilities.
What kinds of news, stories and other content will be created?
Stories on inadequate shelter, poor health and poor living conditions would constitute the content.Sending of alert signals through SMS and twitter would be menu that would animate the media content. Of course, political empowerment, women emancipation and youth empowerment would also constitute the menu. The marginalization and abandonment of survivors, especially women, girls and children would make exciting news stories. Their daily travails as well as gross human rights violations are key stories. We hope to recruit experienced local bloggers to train and mentor participants from resettlement camps that would result in a local network of support. The 30 selected and trained participants will setup an online community where they monitor and report to the outside community.
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.
A Common Future is a member of the Union of Human Rights Organizations in the North West Region of Cameroon. its individual members belong to one of the largest journalism associations in Cameroon, the Cameroon Association of English Speaking Journalists, CAMASEJ. We are also members of the local bloggers community in Bamenda. We are working hard to become members of many online communities and like-minded organizations across the world that support citizen media, like Rising Voices. Since we work to transform lives and build common frontiers, we are constantly open and ready for any partnerships and networks that work for the common good in order to exchange experiences and good practice.
How many participants do you think will be involved in your project?
We plan to train 30 participants who would be carefully selected based on their background and gender component and from the seven resettlement camps that are in the local community of Menchum and Boyo Division of the North West. We will seek and sustain their participation by making them understand the change such citizen media activity would bring to themselves and the local community. Given the near illiterate nature of the community, we would select and train opinion leaders like teachers from the community schools, social workers in the camps, enlightened women and youth leaders as well as cultural and development association group leaders in the seven camps.
Describe which technologies, tools, and media you will focus on when training participants.
We have a team of devoted and committed local bloggers who are ready to roll up their sleeves and let things done. They have acquired state-of-the-art knowledgeable on blogging and news gathering and dissemination techniques. Our staff are experienced journalists and media professionals as well as human rights defenders who would easily adapt to the demands of citizen media training. We would use lectures, practice presentations, and demos to train the participants. We shall also use media like projector and laptops for presentations and demos. Since stories need to be illustrated participants shall be trained on how to use digital cameras and how to treat and upload photos to blogs and others as well as basic news writing and computer basics.It would be a complete hands-on training.
Describe the facilities where you will hold the workshops.
We plan to hold the workshop in Wum, administrative head quarters of Menchum Division of the North West of Cameroon where internet facilities are available and not a far from a majority of the camps. The facility where the training would take place, Capstone, has ten computers. The approximate internet connection speed is almost 256 MB and uses ADSL. With 10 computers, we will have three trainees to one computer for practical hands-on training. In order to facilitated follow-up for the 30 participants, a projector and large screen would be used for general training, practice presentations and workshop group reports.
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?
A common future has already worked with this indigenous community for over five years through organizing them into constituent groups for their local development. Camp dwellers already have confidence in the workings of A Common Future and so we are better positioned to carry out this activity. One advantage we have on not going wrong is the fact that our communication service is a member of local bloggers network in this local communities. We have gone beyond just education and sensitization activities in the camps to training on income-generating activities like oil, omo and soap production and this has endeared us to them. Given that we master the socioeconomic, cultural and psychological situation of the survivors and knows how to respond to their trauma, we can better work with them
What specific challenges do you expect to face when planning and implementing your project?
A major challenge will be braving the rugged terrain to the camps and the selection of the right participants. It is also about convincing them that this is the right thing to do now after so many unfulfilled promises by numerous NGOs and Civil society over the years to provide solutions to their plight.Of course, a key challenge is that of overcoming governmental bureaucracy to organize such a sensitive training which will mean that the world would come to know about government shortcomings. They are always jittery in Cameroon over anything close to human rights and giving voice to the voiceless as our project create unique space to these abandoned survivors whose pent up frustrations can make them revolt at any time. We plan to overcome all these obstacles by concealing real objectives
How will you measure and evaluate the project’s impact, specifically: your primary participants, the wider regional community, or the global digital community?
Success would be measured by the fact that 30 participants would effectively conclude the training workshop. The 30 participants would become engaged online bloggers. More than one blog is set up and animated on a daily basis. Over ten news stories is uploaded to the blog every other week. The photo gallery of the blog is constantly upgraded. The wider regional community becomes aware and reacts to the plight of survivors by pushing government to take its responsibilities as the survivors continue to pass through trauma. Through internet and interaction with a new family which is the online community, stress and trauma is resolved as the internet becomes a trauma center.The project becomes an opportunity of immense proportions as women and girls realize significant socioeconomic benefits.
If your project were to be selected as a Rising Voices grantee, what would be the general timeline of project activities in 2013?
Given the central role the project has to play in the lives of the survivors and camp dwellers, especially in terms of transformative development, it is expected to be carried out before the 27th edition of the anniversary of the unfortunate disaster which comes up August 21,2013. This means that for the project to have its desired impact it must be carried out between May 25-30,2013 so as to bring the plight of the survivors and camp dwellers to the forefront of public consciousness.This would enable participants to set to work before June 05,2013 and the blog would be set up and functioning bt June 15,2013 latest. Within the two months before the anniversary, a lot of news content, stories and other feeds would have been produced and brought to the online community.
Detail a specific budget of up to $4,000 USD for operating costs.
1]Hiring of training facility or venue @ $50 per day for 05 days=$250
2]Feeding of 30 participants @ $10 per day per person for 05 days =$1500
3]Transportation to and fro to participants @ $10 per participant for 05 days=$300
4]Remuneration for Resource persons or trainers and moderator @ $50 for 03 persons for 05 days=$750
5]Production of training Manual and Citizen Journalism Handout @ 4 for 30 copies=$120
6]Projector for training @ $20 per day for 05 days=$100
7]Internet access time for 05 days @ $270
8] Coordinator Expenses-lump sum @ $100
Besides the microgrant funding, what other resources and support are you seeking for your project to ensure its success?
We would need additional resources, practical information on citizen media and online community blogging. Given that we are dealing with the hard-to-reach and under-served segment of the population, we need enough practical material and good practice elsewhere so that they know that what we are offering to them is practical and done elsewhere. We also need materials on examples of communities that have changed, thanks to online community action.
Gwain Colbert Fulai
A Common Future