The project's aim is to make traditional knowledge, values, and Wayuu cultural identity available and widespread, to strengthen unity and social capital in the Guajira communities of northern Colombia. It will do so through workshops and training that will grant the Wayuu community the tools to prepare, produce and broadcast (podcast) a series of traditional folk tales in their own language to be part of their local community radio programming. The project is developed with the grassroots indigenous organization Wayuu Araurayu which have a local radio station “Jujunula Makuira”.
What locality or neighborhood will your project focus on?
Nazareth, Guajira, Colombia
Describe the specific community with whom you will be working.
The Wayuu community of northern Colombia and Venezuela comprises about 350000 people who consider themselves indigenous Wayuu, with about half of them monolinguals in their own language (Wayuunaiki) and more than 100000 bilinguals (with Spanish). They comprise 20% of the Colombian indigenous population and they make up 48% of the population of the Guajira peninsula. As most indigenous groups, the Wayuu are under conditions of poverty, marginalized, and they live in a barren wasteland with low access to communication technology, and very little online presence. They are distributed sparsely in the arid desert, with a higher density near the Nazareth hamlet (comprising less that 10000 people). The closest city on the Colombian side is Uribia, about 8 hours away on outback dirt roads.
What kinds of news, stories and other content will be created?
There will be two types of workshops: one aimed at children and teenagers; and another aimed at adults and the elderly. Children and teenagers will create stories, in their language, about the protection of their very scarce water resources, the importance of their language, and their rights. The elderly, as their repository of traditional knowledge, will produce storytelling of folk wisdom (in danger of disappearing), and the meaning of dreams. They will create audio podcasts edited by themselves collaborating amongst them to improve vocabulary and language knowledge for the children, and to add sounds and music to their elder's stories.
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.
We are a group of University lecturers who have worked together with one wayuu grassroots organization called “Wayuu Araurayuu” in various research projects and training workshops since 2008. Together, we have developed radio training workshops in the past, and we have a continuous relationship interested in the protection and dissemination of the Wayuu language and worldview via radio broadcasts and recorded traditional storytelling. We plan to contact the other two Wayuu language radio stations in La Guajira (in Colombia and Venezuela) to ensure they also broadcast the podcasts in their radio stations.
How many participants do you think will be involved in your project?
Based on our experience from previous workshops, we expect to train 20 people, trying to have an even distribution of children, teenagers, adults and elders, as well as a an even representation of women and men.
The invitation to the community will be carried out by the local grassroots organization, who knows the population and who has strong ties to other traditional institutions. Some of the participants will travel from nearby hamlets (some up to 4 hours away), and the organization “Wayuu Araurayuu” will provide the room and board for those participating and staying over for the workshops. The possibility to create their own pieces empowers them and makes them more willing to participate, since they feel their work for the community receives appropriate recognition.
Describe which technologies, tools, and media you will focus on when training participants.
The participants will be trained in the use of digital audio recorders, digital editing through open access audio production tools (i.e. Audacity), and use of the equipment at the radio station's booths.
Describe the facilities where you will hold the workshops.
They have a radio station building (pictures will be provided) with some equipment.
Due to electricity problems with the broadcasting tower of the radio station it is not able to broadcast at present, but the equipment can be used for recording purposes. They have 4 working microphones, 2 recording booths, two open rooms for meetings, one audio mixer, 2 PC CPUs and their respective screens with about 250gb of space and 1gb RAM. About a third of the participants have working laptops. There is internet access through 3G, but they have no modems.
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?
The Wayuu Araurayu grassroots organization and the lecturers have exchanged knowledge for over 5 years now. Thanks to this exchange, the collaboration and trust ties have strengthened, something that takes a long time to develop between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples. This nurturing relationship that has grown out of many years working together have made the lecturers accepted and valued in the indigenous community. This ongoing collaboration and the strong relationship are an important requirement for any project involving indigenous peoples. Furthermore, the lecturers have worked previously in radio and podcast workshops, and both are dedicated academics with experience teaching and leading workshops.
What specific challenges do you expect to face when planning and implementing your project?
Giving a detailed and specific schedule is always difficult, because traveling to the indigenous community depends heavily on weather conditions. This could impair the participation in the workshops and/or delay the length of the workshop, due to the waiting times in case of heavy rain (something unlikely, but not impossible). Transportation, accordingly, might be difficult. Electricity is commonly available for 4 hours a day (enough time for the editing workshops), but there is a risk of a blackout under bad weather conditions.
Elders are not usually as willing to participate as younger people. However, the grassroots organization has contacts that may be helpful to have more of the elderly participate.
University schedules might require the lecturers to travel only on certain dates.
How will you measure and evaluate the project’s impact, specifically: your primary participants, the wider regional community, or the global digital community?
The project hopes to have an impact upon four aspects:
1. Spread the Wayuu traditional knowledge, value and cultural identity to different people in the Guajira region.
2. Increase the presence and use of Wayuunaiki by the production of podcasts
3. Increase the quality and knowledge of the production of podcasts in Wayuunaiki.
The participants’ products will evidence their involvement and learning processes. The podcasts will be made available for the 3 radio stations and they will be posted online for wider access. There will be an evaluation filled by the participants stating the skills learned and their comments on how to improve or develop further projects.
The lecturers, alongside the grass roots organization leaders, will carry out a final evaluation report on the whole process.
If your project were to be selected as a Rising Voices grantee, what would be the general timeline of project activities in 2013?
From May to June: The grass roots organization invites participants and we coordinate the specific dates for the workshop, according to their needs and the expected weather conditions.
July/August: An eight day in situ (Nazareth, La Guajira) workshop with the community will be carried out. They will have some podcast products by the end of the workshop. By the end of August, the site containing the podcast would be up and running.
October/November: A second batch of podcasts is expected.
Detail a specific budget of up to $4,000 USD for operating costs.
Digital Audio Recorders (x 6) 550 USD
USB 4Gb Pendrives (x 6) 140 USD
3G Internet Wireless Modem (equipment and 24 months of service) 440 USD
Rechargeable AAA Batteries (x 12) 240 DLS
Small Loudspeakers (x1) 30 USD
Workshop Materials – Stationery 250 USD
Airfares Bogotá-Riohacha (x2) 750 USD
Ground Transportation Riohacha-Nazareth (x2) 200 USD
Workshop refreshments/meals 500USD
Accommodation Riohacha 400 USD
Besides the microgrant funding, what other resources and support are you seeking for your project to ensure its success?
Rising Voices can provide links to the blog/audio podcasts, mentions through Twitter and the webpage. It may provide contacts to similar projects and contacts to exchange experiences. Provide contact information of other projects we could start a working relationship with.
María Fernanda Peña Sarmiento
Universidad Minuto de Dios