We are proposing to work with a team of community radio operators to integrate their ongoing work, particularly as community news gatherers, with online and offline mobile-based technologies such as SMS and Twitter, taking advantage of not only the community radio station, but also the independent, community-operated GSM base-station that provides free cellular service to the townspeople and an interesting platform on which to try new ideas.
What locality or neighborhood will your project focus on?
Villa Talea de Castro, Oaxaca
Describe the specific community with whom you will be working.
We are working in the Zapotec community of Talea de Castro in the Juarez mountains of Oaxaca, Mexico. The town has approximately 2500 inhabitants. Although internet penetration is low we value the work of the team who runs the community radio station Didza Kieru (“Our Voice” in Zapotec) and also want to work there because the town is the first in the country, and possibly in the world, that owns and operates an independent GSM network.
What kinds of news, stories and other content will be created?
The idea is to create very short (SMS-length) news blurbs that will be collected from citizens in the town throughout the day by the Didza Kieru team, who run both the radio and GSM base station, synthesized, and then sent out to residents via mass SMS and posted online for emigrants living outside the town via Twitter. This content dovetails with the ongoing work of the FM radio station.
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 have been working with the town's governing council for over a year to put up the cellular base-station, and helped them secure the equipment and necessary legal permits. We also have an even longer and ongoing relationship with the Didza Kieru team that goes back a number of years, stemming from our shared work in the world of indigenous communications.
How many participants do you think will be involved in your project?
We are aiming to train the entire Didza Kieru team, which is approximately 10 people, plus anyone else who wants to join in. Since the project is about a fusion between older technology (FM radio) and newer, online technologies we believe that others, especially young people, will come on board. In all we hope to train around 20 people and sustain their participation through useful and interesting training sessions that resolve real issues
Besides the microgrant funding, what other resources and support are you seeking for your project to ensure its success?
Rising Voices can help us access an audience interested in hearing new and crucial voices, and put participants in contact with other like-minded groups of citizen-journalists throughout the world. We also value the resources that you have created (online tools, manuals, etc) that easily and succinctly explain citizen-journalism and its tools.