This project aims at creating an interactive map that pinpoints the too widely scattered community development projects in Cuba. It will contain basic information of each one and the description of its activities through short videos and photo galleries made by journalism students of the University of Havana as part of their training to cover local stories.
What locality or neighborhood will your project focus on?
Describe the specific community with whom you will be working.
Cuban community development projects do not have visibility at all on the web. Being on Internet would allow them to establish cooperation relationships among themselves and make their work visible outside the country to agencies, individuals, media, etc. A previous teaching experience identified more than 80 of these community projects in the capital of Cuba but most participants do not have the technology resources and Internet access facilities to create web sites or other forms of presentation on the web. We will be working, in this phase, with 60 students of journalism on how to provide a sound internet strategy to make these projects visible to everybody.
What kinds of news, stories and other content will be created?
Content to be developed on the site will be based on an interactive map that will contain an article with a summary of key project data: name, coordinator, address, mission, vision and core activities. Also we will include a creative video or photo gallery, made jointly by students and citizens involved in the projects. It will also be disseminated in social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and Youtube. We will create a CD open to free consultation on public libraries and community computing centers for Cubans who do not have Internet access.
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.
This project has been approved by the Departament of Journalism at the University of Havana. We have also been working with the Exchange and Reference Center for Community Inintiatives (CIERIC by its Spanish acronym) in the identification of community projects in three provinces of Cuba: La Habana, Artemisa and Pinar del Río which do not have web presence. We intend to further strengthen relations with the coordinators of the 80 community projects previously identified for the systematic updating of the data coming out of these initiatives.
How many participants do you think will be involved in your project?
We will prepare 60 journalism students through their curriculum. This includes developing skills on image processing on the web and creating videos. They will carry out this work as evaluation of Hypermedia Journalism class. Participants in community projects will be assessed by the students in order to create end communication products. The journalism students will teach and train 2-4 members of these projects on video and photo gallery making, an initiative that will benefit more than 120 citizens.
Describe which technologies, tools, and media you will focus on when training participants.
As part of their training, journalism students must master the basics on Internet communication. Using the hypermedia teaching potentials of the Internet, five professors from the School of Communication at the University of Havana will deliver workshops for developing non-linear narratives, mapping community initiatives, video editing and management tools as well as free software applications and their distribution on YouTube. They will also present them Flickr as a repository of images and Gimp for photo editing. In parallel, the workshops will include elements on the importance of journalism for local community development and best practices to promote inclusion and citizen participation online.
Describe the facilities where you will hold the workshops.
The School of Communication at the University of Havana has a computer lab with some 10 PCs, connected to the Internet via wireless network. The speed of the Internet connection is low and corresponds to the limited bandwidth available to the country today, but it is sufficient for the development of the proposed activities. The University of Havana assumes the costs of Internet access and teacher salaries.
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?
Since September 2011, journalism students at the University of Havana are inserted in community projects underway in the capital of Cuba to carry out Internet journalism as part of their training. During this course, about 30 projects were identified and they wrote news and features and created image galleries that were distributed primarily on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Youtube. Since September 2012, it was decided to provide more visibility to local development initiatives on the web by harnessing human and technological resources of the University and strengthen relationships with more than 80 initiatives of its kind in the capital, since most of them lack the technological resources, skills and access to Internet to develop their own websites.
What specific challenges do you expect to face when planning and implementing your project?
We intend to increase the number of Cuban community projects on the web to enhance relations with each other, with other projects elsewhere in the world and with agencies of development cooperation. In addition, we seek to strengthen the skills in journalism students for them to cover local stories, to manage social networks and to teach and train citizens on how to use computers and internet in their daily lives. Finally, we want to provide Cuban libraries and public information centers with materials on the issue in digital format. We will as well create a means of communication in the Havana School of Communication that integrates the communication products made by its students.
How will you measure and evaluate the project’s impact, specifically: your primary participants, the wider regional community, or the global digital community?
- It will allow us to measure the skills on over 60 students from the School of Communication at the University of Havana, evaluated by three subjects in the curriculum.
– We will review the creation of videos and photo galleries dealing with at least 80 community projects in Havana in the website developed to map community initiatives in Cuba.
– At least 120 participants of the projects will benefit from the training courses on digital skills to create short videos and picture galleries.
-It will strengthen the technological capacity of the School of Communication at the University of Havana by purchasing technology resources (digital cameras, netbooks, etc.)
– It will allow us to distribute at least 60 CDs with the website for viewing offline in public libraries throughout Cuba
If your project were to be selected as a Rising Voices grantee, what would be the general timeline of project activities in 2013?
May -Preparation of citizen journalism workshops for participants from community projects and purchase of the technological equipment
June to August – Identification and development of the reviews of at least 80 community projects in Havana containing the following basic information: name of the project coordinator, postal and email address, mission, vision and core activities.
Developing conceptual design and information architecture of the website. Development of communication strategy in social networks
September to November – Preparation and presentation of the visual design of the website. Carrying out Citizen Journalism workshops for participants from community projects. Journalism students and participants of the community projects will create short videos and image galleries for the web site. Making of CD with website to consult offline. Distribution of content in social networks.
December – Publishing website, Distribution of the CD to libraries
Detail a specific budget of up to $4,000 USD for operating costs.
Hardware – 2.500 US Dollars (Digital cameras, laptop, mobile cell phones, netbooks)
Workshop costs – 350 US Dollars (includes coffee break and materials)
Translation – 250 US Dollars (From Spanish to English)
Transportation – 300 US Dollars
Hosting and domain – 300 US Dollars
Besides the microgrant funding, what other resources and support are you seeking for your project to ensure its success?
With Rising Voices funding would be sufficient to strengthen the technological capabilities necessary to undertake the project. Also we would appreciate their cooperation in disseminating and promoting of our content.
Elaine Díaz Rodríguez
University of Havana