The project proposes a unique program to identify, teach & encourage the youth from Bududa who have been affected by landslides to innovatively use social media to share their experiences, culture & calls for action for social change through citizen media training workshops and effective support systems to ensure project success in form of local content generation. The project’s ultimate goal is to create a vibrant network of a new generation who appreciate and learn from the huge success of #TweepsHelpBududa to sustain better, informed use of citizen media to share information and network.
What locality or neighborhood will your project focus on?
Bududa district, North Eastern Uganda
Describe the specific community with whom you will be working.
The project is targeting the new generation among the Bagisu people who have for a long time now been seriously affected by landslides. Little has been written about this when you compare it with the horror that comes with homes, village markets and churches being covered with over 10m of mud/rocks leading to people & livestock literally being buried alive. This applies to both mainstream and citizen media. It is in 2012 that a few great minds came up with the sensational #TweepsHelpBududa to highlight the predicament of the victims and rally support for them. This is just one. Some of my relatives were affected by the landslide and I am passionate about social media. Most of the youth have not even touched a computer but a few youths have limited knowledge of a computer and/or internet.
What kinds of news, stories and other content will be created?
The project intends to generate news items such as updates/monitor on the mudslides/landslides as an early warning system; the situation of the displaced people; what people can do to help; real-time updates in case of any landslides; sharing more about the history of the Lumasaba dialect and the “Imbalu” ritual; and other community news/stories/photos/commentaries. The project will also start and encourage a debate about whether the residents should relocate from landslide prone areas or simply find alternative mechanisms such as planting trees to avoid landslides to encourage a local solution to be reached for a local problem. They will be generated by the youth themselves and shared online on blogs, twitter, facebook and Google+.
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.
I have strong working relationship with the Mbale and Bududa District Local Governments having worked in Mbale a few years back. Bududa is my home village and I speak Lumasaba language. I also personally know a few Local Council authorities in some of the villages that have in the past been affected by the landslides. This relationship will provide me with all the connections through the administrative structures. During project implementation, I intend to utilise these connections to strike a few partnerships with the local authorities from the district level to the local council to ensure project success and encourage sustainability. I also intend to link up the participants with the key figures behind #TweepsHelpBududa to grow their inspiration and benefit from their experience.
How many participants do you think will be involved in your project?
The project intends to train at least 30 participants. To seek and sustain their participation, the project intends to enlist the youth mostly from the villages that have been affected by landslides in the past and empower them to share their opinions online. In preparation to ensure sustainability of their participation in the project, the project will target the fairly enlightened youths who have a passion for social media but simply have limited knowledge. These, once trained will not only generate content but also be ambassadors of the project and train others within their communities. The project will also further build an online support network of the participants to continue mentoring and motivating them to share their experiences and participate in village/global level debates.
Describe which technologies, tools, and media you will focus on when training participants.
The project will focus on the use of computers and the internet to effectively harness the potential of social media. A focus will be placed on the use of blogs, facebook, twitter, flickr, and Google+. Besides having active personal accounts for these sites, as a project organiser, I bring experience acquired overtime in using social media to carry out campaigns. I know how to train people on how to easily sign up for any of the accounts, personalise them, generate and select right quality of content, easily but effectively and accurately reduce a story into writing, moderate comments while staying within the law, and how to use photo editing software etc. I Further, I intend to work with a citizen media trainer with over 8 years of experience in conducting trainings in citizen media.
Describe the facilities where you will hold the workshops.
Project workshops will be conducted in an internet cafe in Mbale town. Bududa district is still a new district and largely rural and does not have the facilities to conduct such a training. The cafe identified in Mbale town will be a 20 seater capacity with 20 fully functioning computers in good condition. The computers use a local area connection and the approximate internet connection speed is always at an average of 21 mbps. All the computers within the facility have constant, unlimited internet connection at all times. The cafe also has a generator on standby just in case power goes off to ensure the training is not interrupted. For purposes of written instructions, a writing board will be made available. There will be two shifts having 15 participants at a time per training.
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 sub county where most of the villages which have been affected by these landslides is where I grew up in my early childhood days. I speak the local dialect which gives me an added incentive to rally members of the community behind the project. I also have hands-on knowledge in managing project activities, budget lines, mobilization and facilitating trainings. I am currently in the last stages of securing a certificate of registration from the Non-Governmental Organisations’ Board where I have applied for registration of an organisation whose major aim is to provide legal aid services, counselling, human rights education, and defending human rights. All these projects are to be implemented in Bududa district and the greater Bugisu Sub-Region.
What specific challenges do you expect to face when planning and implementing your project?
One of the challenges I expect is higher expectations from the participants and the communities and to overcome this, I am already working to make it clear what they should expect from the project to ensure this does not arise during later stages of the project. Poor culture of writing is yet another and I intend to train participants how to write short, precise stories and updates which are simple but informative. It is further anticipated that limited access to internet will affect participants participation online and to tackle this, we intend to exploit innovative, cost effective ways of accessing internet either through public/university library facilities we shall work with, using phones, or even using the project’s laptop whenever possible.
How will you measure and evaluate the project’s impact, specifically: your primary participants, the wider regional community, or the global digital community?
For primary participants, we intend to look at the number of accounts opened up across the various social networking sites, the quality and quantity of the local data that will be generated by them in a given time. For the wider regional community, we intend to look at how involved they are in different stages of project implementation either by providing information, opening accounts, or participating in online activities. For the global digital community, we shall consider how much genuine local information is readily available for their consumption and how they engage with it. Besides, we shall look at the feedback forms which we shall avail to all participants. All these will be measured & evaluated against a set of goals through the quarterly reports and other reports as required.
If your project were to be selected as a Rising Voices grantee, what would be the general timeline of project activities in 2013?
Identification of participants will be conducted on 29th & 30th of April. On 06th of May, quotations will be collected from at least 4 internet cafes with the right capacity and other service providers. On 09th May, invitation letters will be sent out to the participants to attend the training workshop subject to a modest transport refund. The training sessions would be conducted on 16th/17th of May during which all participants will be required to register accounts across all the social networking sites. From 17th-21st June, a follow-up visit to each individual participant would be conducted for mentorship and support purposes. Throughout this process, there will be constant mentoring and support services online, Via SMS & voice calls on phone. A quarterly report on the progress of the project will be released in July 2013, November 2013, March 2014. Finally, monitoring and evaluation meeting will be conducted on 10th April 2014 where a final report on the project will be launched.
Detail a specific budget of up to $4,000 USD for operating costs.
This brief specific budget assumes that the project will be conducted over a period of 12 months. Maximum of 30 participants are to be trained. A Laptop – $400; Modem – $40; Internet subscription (12 months) – $648; Digital camera- $200; Venue hire for workshops+Internet- $320; Breakfast for 30 participants- $36; Lunch for 30 participants- $72; Stationery/Secretarial services- $320; Transport refund for the 30 participants- $180; Co-facilitator allowance for 2 days training workshop- $160; Coordinator’s expenses over the entire project implementation planned for 12 months (Inclusive of airtime- $240, travel costs- $480, refreshments/meals & other incidental costs- $200); Project banners for publicity- $80; Publication of project’s IEC materials- $200; Monitoring & Evaluation meeting (venue hire- $80, breakfast- $36, lunch- $72, & transport refund- $180 all for the 30 participants)
Besides the microgrant funding, what other resources and support are you seeking for your project to ensure its success?
The project would further greatly benefit from Rising Voices the following; – technical guidance whenever need arises, sharing materials/publications on best practices on citizen media training, linkages with other organizations/funders, connections with volunteers who may wish to come and work with us in Uganda or help out online; and any other planned activities to support successful project implementation.