Macedonia is a country with lush nature and a large number of medicinal herbs and teas. People that live in remote villages have a natural remedy for every ailment but they have very little contact with the rest of the world. We plan to educate these people on the importance in sharing this knowledge by exchange of information and cures using the internet. We will also ask young bloggers to photograph and write about these wild herbs. This way we also produce the first eco journalists in Macedonia that can speak for people from remote villages.
What locality or neighborhood will your project focus on?
Skopje, but project will be carried out throught Macedonian villages
Describe the specific community with whom you will be working.
People from remote villages in Macedonia live simple lives and yet struggle to survive. What they do have is untouched nature and the knowledge how to use everything they find in nature. This is why i feel passionate about teaching them that earning money is possible if they use internet tools to exchange their knowledge. I also want to train young people so that they can become the link between villagers and the online world. At this point most of the village people have very little to no knowledge at all in using computers simply because it's not a necessity. So we plan to use those that know more to disseminate this knowledge among other villagers.
What kinds of news, stories and other content will be created?
We will create a web site where villagers will be able to share their knowledge about wild herbs, their natural remedies and exchange seeds. Web site will have video and photo content, a live forum where people can ask questions and mapping of wild herbs. There will be a wild herbs gallery with links to old natural remedies and the villager that shared it along with his contacts. Young bloggers will be encouraged (through contests) to participate in the wild herbs exchange and a network of blogs will be established to promote villagers knowledge of nature.
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 plan to cooperate with the Macedonian ministry of Agriculture and Forestry so that they can directly help better the lives of villagers through our project. Also create a joint database on wild Macedonian herbs in cooperation with villagers to save indigenous herbs. We also plan to cooperate with Macedonian ministry for environmental protection for indigenous herbs database.
How many participants do you think will be involved in your project?
At least 50 people from villages will be trained in using digital tools via their mobile phones, PC or laptop. They will be interested to participate because this will offer them a sustainable future. At least 30 young people from the cities will be trained to use digital tools in the promotion of wild herb knowledge.
Describe which technologies, tools, and media you will focus on when training participants.
Besides being an amateur nature photographer, project coordinator is also an eco blogger and has basic knowledge of wild herbs since she grew up in a village with her grandparents. We have a licensed educator with a psychology degree so she will look for a most suitable way to connect to villagers train them in using online tools. We will have laptops on field and boards with markers to better illustrate what we are saying.
Describe the facilities where you will hold the workshops.
We plan to go to villages and hold workshops on spot in a community office or outdoors using 3G internet connection. Use at least 2 notebook computers so we could also visit people in their home. We will hold 2 main workshops in the capital Skopje at offices equipped with wi-fi internet and better technical features.
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?
I grew up in a tight village community and always thought there is great potential in old traditional Macedonian remedies. It's truly sad to see that people leave village life for the city and so we slowly lose this traditional knowledge. I care deeply about villages and i think the age old secret knowledge of recipes, herbs and medicines is the gold of tomorrow. My passion is what drives me to complete this goal, which is why i plan to keep realizing it no matter what happens.
What specific challenges do you expect to face when planning and implementing your project?
The main challenge is to make village people listen and convince them that they need to exist in the online world. This will be the biggest obstacle since they usually rely on what they know and have a tendency to resist anything new. The only way to convince them is to show them they can actually turn this knowledge into something profitable, a green profession, which is what it is exactly. I will not only show them that this is a profitable job i plan to help them in selling their knowledge by cooperating with the ministry of agriculture.
How will you measure and evaluate the project’s impact, specifically: your primary participants, the wider regional community, or the global digital community?
I plan to train at least 50 villagers, my success will be if by the end of the workshops i have at least 20 villagers that know how to use online tools. Out of those 20 i plan to have at least one more skilled villager that will continue to disseminate what he's learned on the workshops after project ends.
If your project were to be selected as a Rising Voices grantee, what would be the general timeline of project activities in 2013?
1.05- 31.05 Open call for participants, both villagers and bloggers/photographers/students.
1.06- 30.09 Hold the workshops on field, start the webpage and include the Ministry of agriculture and Ministry of environment
1.10- 31.10 Hold 2 workshops with the most successful participants in the capital Skopje where we also invite the business community to look for potential investors in these old practices. End of project
Detail a specific budget of up to $4,000 USD for operating costs.
1. Human Resources
1.1. Coordinator Per month $150 $900
1.2 Project Assistant Per month $100 $600
Subtotal Human Resources ” $1,500 “
2. Village trips
2.1. Transportation $400
2.4. Refreshments & snacks $400
Subtotal Village Trips $800
3. Workshops during trips
3.1. Promotion $50
Notebooks per item 50 $1 $50
Pens per item 50 $1 $25
Markers per item 10 $2 $30
White board per item 1 $25
Workshops subtotal $180
Publication subtotal $1,200
5.1. Website design per item 1 $200 $200
5.2. Domain and hosting per item 1 $80
Subtotal Website $280
8. Total costs ” $3,960 ”
Besides the microgrant funding, what other resources and support are you seeking for your project to ensure its success?
Include all available resources that our Terra Floria team members have. Printing, common leaflet design and volunteers everything else that can be done out of budget frame. Media support and social networks marketing.
Association for environmental protection TERRA FLORIA – Skopje