8 years we provide shoeshiners a voice & opportunities- published 47 editions of a magazine sold & written by 50 shoeshiners who keep all profit if they attend weekly workshops on personal growth and work on the magazine. Currently we have 30 in technical education scholarships, incl. communication and design, 20 on school support, and we give health & legal support. We propose expanding from printed to online media to improve the human rights situation of shoeshiners through thier own empowerment: providing physical means, facilities, & training resulting in a global online voice.
What locality or neighborhood will your project focus on?
Describe the specific population with whom you will be working.
Shoeshiners earn average 62.8% of Bolivia´s minimum wage. Part of the informal economy they aren´t protected by labor laws or related social services, many are under-aged, under-educated and with a significant homeless proportion. This sums up to low social, juridical and municipal representation and significant social discrimination creating important disadvantage; translated also to online underrepresentation. We work with them as the above leads to much abuse to their human rights, an unacceptable situation we aim to ameliorate by facilitating them means to defend their rights and dignity through their own voices and by developing their capacity- including IT and citizen media training to a good level of familiarity. This proposal was developed with 43 shoeshiners in a workshop.
Who else will be on your team to help implement the project?
Jaime Villalobos (https://www.facebook.com/jaime.villalobos.752),
Isabel Oroza (https://www.facebook.com/isabel.oroza.9),
Magdalena Chambilla (https://www.facebook.com/magdalena.chambillaconde),
Celina Grisi (https://www.facebook.com/celina.grisi),
Alejandra Villegas (https://www.facebook.com/mavg11).
Evanir Aliaga (https://www.facebook.com/EVANIRC)
Cristhian Mendoza (https://www.facebook.com/cristhianjosue.mendoza.5)
What kinds of news, stories and other content will be created?
Our online voice should mirror our established magazine in its vision. Much of the content focuses on themes relevant to shoeshiners to reduce discrimination; in particular, human rights of street and working children/youth. The content is created by the shoeshiners themselves during weekly workshops. Our content also promotes respect for the environment as well as art and culture, supporting local proponents. The overall spirit is empowerment and dignity-not shock poverty- aimed at humanizing and uplifting the struggle to overcome of the shoeshiners that create the content. However, the content also denounces abuses committed against them. We wish to expand this content online up to an international audience through an online magazine, blog, facebook page, youtube and vimeo channels.
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.
The following are existing colaborators: Hospital ArcoIris (arcoiris.org.bo), Capacitación y Derechos Ciudadanos (cdcbolivia.com), PADEM (Swiss Cooperation based strongly on citizen media doctoraedilicia.com), LaTice (Swedish NGO to bridge Swedish and Latin Américan culture with an online newspaper www.latice.org), Universidad Católica Boliviana (provides a citizenship class focused on our project ucb.edu.bo), Vamos Juntos (NGO that also works with shoeshiners), INFOCAL (technical education institution infocallp.org), Municipality of La Paz (lapaz.bo), Sol&Dar (organization of volunteers), Fundación Estás Vivo (Telecomunication´s Social Responsibilty), several private companies and the local media. Future colaboration will be sought with universities communication/design faculties.
How many participants do you think will be trained in your project?
The project contemplates three aspects of participation, administration, broad and specific. The administration overseas the whole Hormigón Project and cosists of 3 people full time and 3 part time. Broad participation will aim at the 50 shoeshiners of the project who will continue to be guided to improve their communication skills and outputs through our weekly workshops which will be given by specialists on the matter. These will create the content of the online media. The specific participation will consist of 6 shoe shiners who will receive training by technical education institutions in IT and design to put the content online (one is already receiving training with our own means). They will count with our facilities and relevant material for this.
Describe which technologies, tools, and media you will focus on when training participants.
As organizers, we create citizen media for 8 years with our succesful printed magazine, and are familiar with relevant design and comunication software. Our project has always had a strong volunteer component which aims to attract those with relevant skills (photographers, reporters, etc.) and for this will receive help from PADEM with profesional reporters. We have 8 years experience in organizing workshops for the target population many of which focus on communication skills for media. With 50 shoeshiners our technological focus will be in video, photography, internet and communication skills. The 6 participans selected to créate online media with the content created by the 50 participants will be trained in parallel by institutes which provide certification at médium technical level.
Describe the facilities where you will hold the workshops.
For our Project with count with a great workspace which we rent at a subsidized Price from Fundación Arte y Culturas Bolivianas. Available for our workshops we have a big 30 by 10 meter room with desks, chairs, projecter, and white-board. It is complemented, if necessary by another 20 by 14 meter room. We also count with a big outdoors área, an administration office and gender separated toilets. Currently we have 6 computers and wireless internet with the best plan available locally which we share with the Foundation. Furthermore, we have a small library and a good supply of educational material such as notebooks, paper, pens, etc.
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?
We have a very well established, friendly relationship with the shoe-shiners and working children/adolescent community. This is the strongest point of our project as during its 8 years we have solidified a group of 50 shoe-shiners who now act as a collective and there is much mutual respect which allows us to work together. Furthermore, their work ethics during our workshops have been well developed in years of weekly workshops to create an appropriate working environment. Outside our direct target group we have institutional links with all the relevant representative bodies with which we have coordinated diverse projects. These include shoeshiner associations and their top representative bodies as well as the NATS Unions (representing working children and adolescents).
What specific challenges do you expect to face when planning and implementing your project?
The population we work with is subject to many difficulties which risk forcing beneficiaries to abandon the project. We currently have 30 shoeshiners in technical education scholarships but the project also contemplates further support to ameliorate such risk. This includes health support (50% discount on treatment), free legal support, an individualized mentoring, monitoring & support program by Sol&Dar, and social work. Results up to now are good with a low drop out rate. Another problema is low education levels which are reflected in the material created by shoe shiners. We work on this problema in workshops and through editing of the material. Another challenge is acceptance by a global audience which we will adress through aliances and creative content.
How will you measure and evaluate the project’s impact, specifically: your primary participants, the wider regional community, or the global digital community?
We wish to improve self esteem of beneficiaries, giving them a voice and empowering them through communication tools. We also wish to reduce discrimination towards them and increase solidarity to their plight. These are intangible results which are hard to measure but are observable in reduction of homelessness, drug and violence problems. We must create output: media, articles, blogs, etc. These can be measured and we can evaluate our success by the projects produce. Furthermore, its quality can be measured by the public´s acceptance through traffic to our online media. Also, feedback mechanisms will be placed to see public reaction. The success of the group trained in IT and designed can be measured through their attainment of Medium Technician Degrees.
If your project were to be selected as a Rising Voices grantee, what would be the general timeline of project activities in 2014?
Last Week of May- Purchase of equipment
June-November- Téchnical Education in IT and Design of 5 Shoe Shiners in INFOCAL Institute (Graduation and Certification end of November)
Each Saturday June and July – Workshops on citizen journalism and photography for 50 Shoe Shiners
June 1 – December 23 – Creation of content for online and printed magazine, blog, etc.
July 1 – Launch of bi-monthly online magazine
August 1 – Launch of online blog
Each Saturday August – Video workshops for 50 Shoe Shiners
September 1 – Launch Vimeo and YouTube Channel
Detail a specific budget of up to $2,500 USD for operating costs.
3 Computers (400$ each) = 1,200
4 Cameras (100$ each) = 400
5 Téchnical Education Courses – 2 IT & 3 Design (80$ each) = 400
Besides the microgrant funding, what other support can Rising Voices provide for your project to ensure its success?
Crucial for this project´s success is for our online voice to spread as much as posible. For this we wish to make as many links as posible with other Rising Voices projects. We would also like to feature other projects in our online and printed magazine as such global experiences can improve our Project output. Thus, Rising Voices can help us with content. Furthermore, Rising Voices can help legitimize our Project for other international bodies that may be interested in supporting us. Finally, advice is always great and very welcome.
Jaime Andrés Villalobos