Bashkatib will deliver digital journalism training to Sawt el Salam, a group of youth from Dar El Salam, Cairo, who run a small community media outlet in their neighborhood. Bashkatib initiated Sawt el Salam as one in a network of youth-run media outlets in marginalized areas throughout Egypt. The youth design, edit and manage a print publication distributed monthly in their neighborhood, and contribute content to the online Bashkatib network. This project will develop the youth's skills in digital video, using social media platforms and the Internet for journalism, and basic management.
What locality or neighborhood will your project focus on?
Dar el Salam, Cairo
Describe the specific population with whom you will be working.
Sawt al Salam is a group of 20 youth between 12-17 years of age in Dar El Salam, Cairo, who were trained in Bashkatib's basic training program from Nov. 2013-Jan. 2014, to fully manage a print and online news publication covering local issues and topics. Not only is the Dar El Salam neighborhood an underrepresented community online, it has been the subject of gross misrepresentations such as this recent photo essay: http://tinyurl.com/pp2j8nm. The youth are enthusiastic about the newly learned skills and resources Bashkatib has made available to them, including the Bashkatib network portal at www.bashkatibnews.com. However, their computer & internet literacy is still beginner. This training would make it possible for them to become the authors of their own online representation.
Who else will be on your team to help implement the project?
Founder & Director of Bashkatib, journalist at AlMasry AlYoum, and lead instructor for Sawt El Salam project: http://egyptiandetails.blogspot.com/
Youssef Nasser Abdelmoneim
Filmmaker, video editor, photographer, director, graduated from the Higher Cinema Institute, Academy of Arts Cairo, 2009
What kinds of news, stories and other content will be created?
The content produced by Sawt el Salam youth covers local issues in Dar El Salam, and national issues as experienced by members of the Dar El Salam community. The group has already covered in their news content issues such as the 2014 constitutional referendum, negotiations between members of the same family with differing political views, sexual harassment of girls outside schools, violent clashes and peaceful demonstrations in the neighborhood, and opinions about the upcoming presidential election. This training would give the youth the skills to produce media-rich content addressing local issues, such as videos, audio, and photo features, as well as to share content through social media.
What technologies and digital tools do you plan to use in the trainings?
Describe the connections that you or your organization have already established or plan to establish that will contribute to the success of the project.
Bashkatib has been working with local partner Khatwa Library in Dar El Salam to provide space for trainings for the Sawt El Salam group. Khatwa was established as part of the El Karamah Libraries project, a network of local libraries launched by the Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI). Because Khatwa is managed by local people, it provides the project with local expertise and knowledge, and guides the Sawt el Salam group in building and maintaining relationships within the community.
Bashkatib has also negotiated with www.Barakabits.com, an online news source documenting a simple and uplifting narrative on the Middle East region, its people, culture, environment and religions. Barakabits will publish news content produced by Sawt el Salam youth.
How many participants do you think will be trained in your project?
Sawt el Salam currently has 17 committed participants who successfully completed basic training and are frequent contributors to the publication and website. The number of the group continues to grow as youth in the neighborhood hear about the Sawt el Salam publication and seek out avenues to participate. We expect about 25 participants to enroll in advanced training.
Because many of the youth in the project come from low-income families, they are expected to contribute financially to their families. Thus, Bashkatib offers a modest stipend to youth who participate in the project. The youth themselves devised a structure for dividing the stipend amongst participants, based on contributions made during the monthly work cycle.
Describe which technologies, tools, and media you will focus on when training participants.
Ahmed Elhawary is a journalist with a diverse experience in print and digital journalism, website management, TV and radio production, all in Egypt. Youssef Nasser brings expertise as a multi-media content manager at Egypt's largest and oldest independent newspaper.
We will deliver training on handheld and mobile phone video cameras, and train the youth in a simple, open-source video editing software. The youth group owns a computer that is kept at the library for shared use. The software we choose needs to be simple enough that it is not very time-consuming to use and can be used by children as young as 12 years. The program should be open-source so that it is free to install for youth who have access to a personal or family computer.
Describe the facilities where you will hold the workshops.
The training workshop will be held at Khatwa Library, a space equipped with tables, chairs, projector, and computer. There are also many books, as well as bathroom and kitchen facilities. The youth group owns their own computer and camera which are kept at the space for common use. The library provides ADSL internet access at approximately 1MB speed.
Khatwa Library on Facebook
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?
Bashkatib made a two-year commitment to train, mentor, and support the Sawt el Salam media outlet. Our relationship began in November 2013, with basic training that met at least two times per week over three months. The youth launched their media outlet in January 2014 with a celebration and exhibition at Khatwa Library, and then repeated the launch with another party at Bashkatib's office in central Cairo. The youth have the personal mobile phone numbers and emails of their trainers, who receive frequent calls for advice and guidance in decision-making regarding their publication. A member of Bashkatib's staff meets with the group on at least a bi-weekly basis to mentor the youth. We are acting on their behalf in requesting this additional fund for training.
What specific challenges do you expect to face when planning and implementing your project?
Decades of repressed dissent in Egypt have cultivated a culture of fear and suspicion, and it is just that environment that makes our project urgent. There is a real risk of verbal or physical assault for a person documenting with a camera in public in Egypt. However, when a member of a community works within their own community, the risk is lessened, and when that individual is young, the risk is even smaller. That is what makes our work so important and effective. Bashkatib’s work with youth promises, at its core, to nurture rational and critical thinking, and to cultivate future leaders who can professionally communicate with sometimes alarmed or aggressive members of their communities.
How will you measure and evaluate the project’s impact, specifically: your primary participants, the wider regional community, or the global digital community?
The objective of Sawt el Salam and the wider Bashkatib network is to begin to fill the enormous gap in accurate local news coverage in Egypt. Youth trained by Bashkatib act as professional journalists producing balanced, inclusive reporting on local topics.
Our objective is measured through published youth content, which is first published inside the community, distributed in a free print publication. These issues, along with additional, media-rich content, are also published on the online Bashkatib portal, which is then strategically marketed to Egyptian media professionals. The objective has been successfully achieved when topics covered by Sawt el Salam are reported in other media, when youth journalists are cited as sources, and when their original pieces are re-published online.
If your project were to be selected as a Rising Voices grantee, what would be the general timeline of project activities in 2014?
June-July 2014: Collaborative process between Bashkatib staff and Sawt el Salam participants to mutually develop desired curriculum for advanced training course
August 2014: Interviewing and hiring trainers
September 2014: Final participant selection, setting workshop meeting times, material and equipment purchases
October 2014: Training in digital video production, using social media and online publishing for news content, and basic management skills for Sawt el Salam.
September – October 2014: Develop and design digital video section on Bashkatib online portal
November 2014: Launch digital video section on Bashkatib online portal
November 2014 – ongoing: Publication of digital videos covering local issues in Dar el Salam on Bashkatib portal and through media partnerships, and marketing of the Bashkatib portal to target audiences of the Egyptian public and Egyptian media professionals.
Detail a specific budget of up to $2,500 USD for operating costs.
Coordinator/lead instructor – USD 430
Videojournalism instructor – USD 287
Social media instructor – USD 287
Management instructor – USD 287
Video camera for youth group – USD 717
Training materials – USD 287
Administrative costs – USD 126
TOTAL – USD 2,421
Besides the microgrant funding, what other support can Rising Voices provide for your project to ensure its success?
Rising Voices can provide Bashkatib and Sawt el Salam with a network of media publishers who might re-publish the unique content that we develop in areas of Egypt that have not either been ignored or misrepresented in existing media. We see the youth working with Sawt el Salam as professional, working journalists, and treat their content as such. The wider the network and audience for that content, the greater our chance for a sustainable project becomes.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in publishing news and creative content produced by youth in marginalized areas in Egypt.