We have initiated an online news platform with URL http://www.chitownews.com. The platform uses the concept of citizen reporting whereby citizens play an active role in the gathering, documenting and disseminating of news and events occurring in their communities. We therefore seek to promote the concept of citizen journalism/reporting among the young generation of Chitungwiza. This will be done through training and skills development workshops to sharpen their awareness on the concept of citizen reporting, new media and use of digital tools in amplifying their voices.
What locality or neighborhood will your project focus on?
Describe the specific community with whom you will be working.
Chitungwiza is a town of nearly 600 000 people and nearly 100 000 in the diaspora. The town is underrepresented online as their only online platform, www.chitownews.com started functioning in February 2013. We want to work with this community because this is where the organization is based and we seek to amplify the citizen’s voice in solving local developmental challenges prevailing in the town. In Zimbabwe population and development statistics indicate that, almost 70% of the total population are youths. Literacy level is 98%, tele-density is 97% and mobile internet usage is 60% [POTRAZ). Assuming the same statistics for Chitungwiza, this would show that the population is familiar with the digital world tools and applications like the internet and computers.
What kinds of news, stories and other content will be created?
Our vision is to publish content that provokes thinking and debate on socio-economic and political challenges prevailing in the town. The content should ultimately impact in bringing positive change to the many social ills facing the town which include unemployment, corruption, nepotism, poor service delivery, HIV/AIDS, gender inequities, drug and alcohol abuse. The stories will focus on ordinary residents’ lives and experiences in their communities. Content will also extend to social activities such as sports, culture and entertainment taking place across the town. Content will be contributed in the form of text, photography, video and audio recordings and other graphic illustrations.
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.
The organization already has the website with the URL: http://www.chitownews.com which is up and running and is already receiving an average of 1 400 visitors a day. The project and the organization have face book pages, twitter and vimeo. The organization has a membership of more than 800 individuals. The organization has also formed networks and alliances with other grassroots organizations that are based and operating in Chitungwiza. The organization also seeks to form partnerships with religious, educational, economic and social institutions to promote the use of the project tools and techniques in amplifying their voices.
How many participants do you think will be involved in your project?
We seek to train 40 participants from diverse communities of Chitungwiza. The participants will be from the age of 15 to 40 years old. Their participation will be sustained by linking them to events that will be taking place in their communities so that they can report on those events. Their participation will also be sustained by involving them in the production of image, audio, video content for the project and also inviting them to other organisational programmes.
Describe which technologies, tools, and media you will focus on when training participants.
When training participants we will focus on using mobile phones to capture pictures, audio and videos and the use of internet in uploading content to the webiste and the social networking sites like facebook and twitter. Other tools to be used include projector, laptops, various guides on citizen reporting to assist participants and also familiarize them with online publishing and editing. The mobile phone is the most popular digital tool that is owned and used by the young generation to access the internet in Chitungwiza. Project organizers and partners will bring capacity building expertise to the participants to assist in their quest to learn and understand the art of digital story telling in raising their voices.
Describe the facilities where you will hold the workshops.
The workshops will be held at Young Africa Skills Centre, a non-governmental college in Chitungwiza. The facility is a classroom with electricity and desks that can accommodate 40 individuals. They will be trained in two groups of twenty people each. The organisation will use its five laptops and wifi-internet system that can carry 5 computers at any given time for the workshops. Participants will also be provided with airtime for their mobile phones so that they can also learn using them as it is the digital tool for the project.
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 organization has a cordial relationship with individuals and institutions that are located in town because of its previous activities and programmes within the communities of the town. We have been working in the town since 2011 and formed formal and informal relationships and networks with individuals and institutions from diverse backgrounds. The organization is appropriate to implement this project because it is a community based organization that is headquartered in the town. Our long term plan is to grow big in the town and help the majority of young people participate in the socio-eco-political developments of the town.
What specific challenges do you expect to face when planning and implementing your project?
We expect to face challenges in identifying individuals who will take part in the project who are conscious of the right to freedom of expression, information and communication and are willing to take non-conventional methods of participation like citizen journalism. This will be overcome by advertising for the program on the www.chitownews.com website and its social networking sites so as to get the attention of those people who already have a presence and are familiar with the internet and use of digital technology. The prevailing political environment of elections might lead to the arrest of project coordinators and participants. This will be mitigated by notifying the relevant authorities like the police about our activities that needs their cooperation.
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 successes will be measured by the quality and quantity of content that will be generated by the workshop participants during and after the training workshops. Feedback like comments from readers within the community and the wider global village will also be used to measure the project successes.
If your project were to be selected as a Rising Voices grantee, what would be the general timeline of project activities in 2013?
May 3: Advertising the project on the website and project social networking sites. 13 -17 May: Selection of participants. 27 -29 May: First training of twenty participants. 13-15 June: Second training of the 20 participants. 16 June to 15 July: monitoring of the project results. 16 July to 31 July: Preparing the final reports for the project. 31 July 2013: Submission of final report to Rising Voices (Narrative and financial)
Detail a specific budget of up to $4,000 USD for operating costs.
Venue for workshop @ $150 a day x 6 days ($900). Tea @ $4 a person x 20 people x 3 days x 2 groups ( $480). Lunch @ $6 a person x 20 people x 3 days and 2 groups ($720). Transport for participants @ $4 person x 20 people x 3 days x 2 groups ($480), Coordinators expense: $600, Telephone $200, Internet $300, Participants mobile phone airtime @ $3 x 40 people (120), Office travel @ $200.
Besides the microgrant funding, what other resources and support are you seeking for your project to ensure its success?
Besides the micro grant, Rising Voices can also provide mentoring for the project so as to succeed. Rising Voices can also providing marketing services to the project on their website and social networking sites. Rising voices can also provide us with citizen reporting resources if they are any that they have developed for use by communities
Eddington Mutakiwa Shayanowako
Chitungwiza Community Development Network