Nepal is a mountainous land-locked country. Although its natural beauty is ever appreciated by all, tourism in Nepal is yet to be cultivated to match with its potentials. Inability to publicize Nepal as a destination internationally has been deemed one of the reasons. Obviously, presence of local tourism entrepreneurs on the internet is barely noticed and it has led to failure in terms of attracting prospective tourists. So it’s our endeavor to put Nepal on the global tourism map through the use of internet in a bid to positively influence the travelers as well as information seekers.
What locality or neighborhood will your project focus on?
Beni to Rolpa
Describe the specific community with whom you will be working.
We’ll organize a 15 day long trek which will comprise training camp at various points in the hilly areas of Mid-Nepal. The Government of Nepal has recently opened a new trekking route – Guerrilla Trek. We’ve tailored our program targeting local traders and journalists. At the camps, they will be taught on the use of internet and social media for the promotion of local tourism. For this, we select around 10-15 local journalists, bloggers and local tourism entrepreneurs. During the camps, we gather experiences and stories of the locals, and we train them to make contents using multimedia tools and upload it online. Moreover, these places will have digital footprints and the communities can learn tools and technologies related to the new media.
What kinds of news, stories and other content will be created?
Stories created in the camps will be related to the locations, people, their culture, their way of living and livelihood and facilities available there for travelers. Moreover, local foods, their identity and socio-economic affairs related to the communities will also feature in the contents. Apart from these, issues related to social, educational, geographical and environmental problems will be in our priority. Our media output will try to reflect the general life in these communities in respect to the aforementioned issues. Furthermore, our efforts will be concentrated on creating contents that help the communities, local journalists and entrepreneurs publicize the uniqueness and potentials of their place so that they can draw attention of stakeholders as well as tourists.
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.
Already, we have conducted Travel Story Camp ( Beni to Tikot ) successfully. The 5 day long program was well appreciated by all sides. For the program, we have built a partnership with Nepal Tourism Board, Federation of Nepalese Journalists and SNV Nepal, US embassy local FM stations and Community Clubs. ( http://www.storycycle.com/travel-story-camp-2013 )
We are expecting partnership with more organizations for our next Travel Story Camp.
How many participants do you think will be involved in your project?
Around 10-15 local journalists, bloggers and tourism entrepreneurs will constitute the team at the camp. They will be selected on the basis of their involvement in the communities. Their drive to make contribution to the communities will also be counted as an essential characteristic while selecting them. Tourism entrepreneurs who have specifically worked in the respective areas and have harvested interest to promote the area for tourism will also be potential candidates for the team.
Describe which technologies, tools, and media you will focus on when training participants.
Digital story telling is the thing where we want to focus. Our experts will train the participants on storytelling skills. At the camp, they will be taught how to conceptualize report, collect stories and information related to it, and finally to design the content so that it could be made presentable for internet (Digital footprint). In course of the training, they will be given hands on knowledge on audio and video editing tools. Moreover, they will be taught to exploit social media tools like facebook, twitter, Youtube etc to the fullest to publicize their contents. In addition to this, they will receive trainings on techniques to promote their contents and to make it search friendly.
Describe the facilities where you will hold the workshops.
Since it is a camp based training, we shall try to equip all the participants as backpack journalists. Our team will comprise three trainers who will be bringing well equipped with high configuration laptops, digital cameras, and smart phones for the camp. On the side of the participants, we will them to bring whatever digital items they could bring at the camp. On trek it will be offline as most of the places in the route are not connected by internet and phone services. However in the camp we try to use internet using Mobile phone services and in some points we shall be using ADSL service. The details of the availability of the internet connection at different points in the routes have been given in the itinerary of the travel camp.
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?
Last year our small team had trek 1555 KM from east to west ( ght.storycycle.com ). At that time, we came to realize that this mountain community really needs help to connect with this world. So we planned to work through digital storytelling that brings us back the story and digital footprint of the respective community. In our selection process, we will give space for individuals who really want to work for their community. So we already have the good knowledge about the community and the people. We have planned to integrate tourism and citizen journalism through this camp. And so far we have been successful to build partnership with various organizations ranging from government to private businesses.
What specific challenges do you expect to face when planning and implementing your project?
Its main challenge is we are trying to promote the location via the use of internet although there is no availability of internet. The second challenge is to get engaged with the process for a long period and make them continue using the tools further due to the lack of regular access to the internet at these places after the end of our program. But we hope we can overcome this both challenges by exploring different options like focusing on the content creation using offline tools and upload these content when connection is available.
How will you measure and evaluate the project’s impact, specifically: your primary participants, the wider regional community, or the global digital community?
Primary beneficiaries of our project will the participants at the camp who will learn the skills. Furthermore, the community will get wider exposure through story telling as they will be able to draw the attention of the government as well other stakeholders concerning their needs. Apart from this, these locations will be promoted in global tourism market through the use of World Wide Web.
If your project were to be selected as a Rising Voices grantee, what would be the general timeline of project activities in 2013?
September to December
Camp will be held in the first week of November, 2013
Detail a specific budget of up to $4,000 USD for operating costs.
Food for ( 15 no Camp base ) 15 Days – 2,400.00
Transport – 600.00
Workshop Material /Internet – 900.00
Besides the microgrant funding, what other resources and support are you seeking for your project to ensure its success?
Although we are a team comprising IT professional, multimedia professional and journalist, we expect training to further improve our expertise in these domain.