Our project seeks to create an active and direct online connection between voices seldom heard and the global online community through citizen media. It gives citizen journalists the tools and know-how to do live recording of testimonies of victims of human rights abuses in their immediate communities so we stream them on our online human rights TV, dignity television. We believe that those who have suffered violence need not suffer further indignity by remaining silent.This sacred space for victims of violence against women, girls and children is free at point of entry and at point of exit
What locality or neighborhood will your project focus on?
Describe the specific population with whom you will be working.
The project will work with people in hard-to-reach and under-served segments of the population in local communities in all the 30 local government areas in North West Region of Cameroon. The people are hard-to-reach and under-served in terms of practically what people elsewhere take for granted: electricity, portable water, road and infrastructure, and more importantly, ICTs. Having worked with them for over 15 years in the domain of human rights sensitization and development and having realized they are about the only communities underrepresented online, we designed this project where they can have an opportunity to tell their own stories their own way and in their own words.They suffer all sorts of abuse in silence and as they remain silent they suffer further indignity.
Who else will be on your team to help implement the project?
Apart from the fact that ours is a team of dedicated journalists with over 10 years experience, we believe to achieve the desired objectives we need additional expertise. That is why we have decided to work with one of Africa's best bloggers, The Eye, runner up in the 2014 ‘Best African Blogger Award,[www.cameroonlatest.blogspot.com]. The blogger Fai Cassian is a citizen journalism training with over five years of experience. Since we are penetrating local communities that have no longer of ICTs, we have chosen to work with an ICT Consulting firm, Viola Foundation that is partnering with a micro finance institution working in those communities to bridge the digital gab by providing affordable laptops with free 01 month internet, see www.nvdip.org. Twitter @mynvdip and facebook.com/mynvdip
What kinds of news, stories and other content will be created?
The project idea is simple. We train 30 citizen journalists in the hard-to-reach and under-served local communities who record video testimonies of victims of human rights violations and abuses on smartphone and forward for streaming on dignity television to global online community. Once the stories are documented in their own words and own way, we them on our dignity television blog and also twit and facebook them. The stories collected as video and also as hard stories and blogged at www.dignitytelevision.blogspot.com. Besides news and stories focusing on violence against women, girls and children, content about the conditions of living in hard-to-reach and under-served segments of the population like lack of access to internet, electricity, water, health and sanitation are also blogged
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.
As stated earlier, we are for the purposes of this project and future ones working with the blogging community in the North West of Cameroon, especially in Bamenda led by www.cameroonlatest.blogspot.com, www.Bamendaonline.blogspot.com and www.thecolbertfacto.blogspot.com. We have established partnership with the international outfit based in Cameroon, Viola Foundation that is currently running a digital inclusiveness program with women and girls as their focus. Viola Foundation has a long tradition and experience of training on computer literacy and internet use. They work to improve internet access, connectivity and relevant content in the North West of Cameroon. You can see their activities at www.violafoundation.org and www.nvdip.org
How many participants do you think will be trained in your project?
The project seeks to train 30 participants selected from the 30 different communities that make up the North West Region of Cameroon where a majority of the underrepresented persons online live. The 30 trained citizen journalists would each train others in turn in his or her community. We hope to seek and sustain their participation by making them understand they are social change agents and that citizen journalism would give them exposure beyond the boundaries of Cameroon as Dignity Television broadcast to all the countries and continents of the world. We would also make them understand that their reports and stories are viewed by decision-makers across the world and that their communities would be better off than they were before. Equipping them with android phones is enough motivation.
Describe which technologies, tools, and media you will focus on when training participants.
Our training would essentially be on how participants could capture stories for our blog using video from smartphones and how they can edit and forward stories to us for streaming. We would basically train them on how to manipulate smartphones or laptop Cyberlink Youcams to video tape testimonies. I have been into video storytelling for over three years and have enabled so many storytellers in the North West of Cameroon tell their stories on Youtube, see
Since their job is also to gather stories for blogs, we would train them on blogging so they could microblog to our blog as well as send SMS's to the outer world without necessarily passing through us.This technology will allow active members to stay connected.
Describe the facilities where you will hold the workshops.
Since we are dealing with hard-to-reach and under-served segments of communities in the North West Region the facility where our training would hold would normally be a community or council area hall. The Council hall we propose is a hall that can easily take 30 participants and we have the luck the council has acquired a solar facility that turns their five computers and limited internet from a mobile distributor. This Misaje Council runs a limited internet service for its workers and are just willing to offer the services for us for one week training as well as their USB modem, for which we are deeply grateful.
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?
For the past 15 years we have been working in these communities plus the very fact that practically all the members of our team and partner organizations come from one community or the other. Over the past five years we have been holding traveling human rights festivals in these communities as can be noticed at www.acommonfuture3.blogspot.com. We are committed to working with these communities since most government or other NGOs activities never always reach these groups. The project we are proposing for Rising Voices to support falls squarely with our mandate and mission in these hard-to-reach and under-served communities in the North West Region of Cameroon.
What specific challenges do you expect to face when planning and implementing your project?
A key challenge to us would be that of getting victims of violence speak out and denounce their perpetrators in front of Cameras. We hope to overcome this major challenge by assuring them that if anybody comes after them we would bring the might of the international community against the person and that we work with seasoned human rights defenders who would protect them from further violence.Geographic spread of communities and rugged terrain would be an impediment to participants but we would overcome it by hold the training in a centrally-located community and by offering bike transportation. With no internet and electricity, we would offer offline training on how to record digital stories. For security concerns, we would work with a friendly local to host the training.
How will you measure and evaluate the project’s impact, specifically: your primary participants, the wider regional community, or the global digital community?
We will measure and evaluate the project's impact especially from our primary participants from the number of digital stories or testimonies they record and forward to us per week and per month. As the project has a multiplier effect, we would also measure it from the number of community women, girls and children who are victims of violence who are ready to speak out and denounce their perpetrators. At the level of the wider community we would measure by the percentage of actors ready to take action against perpetrators ignited by the stories we record and/or live-stream. At the level of the wider global online community the impact would be measured by the amount of pressure or whistle-blowing other national and international organizations would be ready to bring to bear on Cameroon.
If your project were to be selected as a Rising Voices grantee, what would be the general timeline of project activities in 2014?
Our project activities are expected to be ongoing even after the funding has ended but for the purposes of the Rising Voices component, we would run the project activities from June 01, 2014 to June 30, 2014.
01/06/14:Start of selection of participants
10/06/14: Start of training workshop on citizen journalism and digital storytelling
20/06/14: Participants starts recording stories and we start streaming and blogging and twitting and facebooking
Rest of the year:Follow-up on training and content delivery in all the 30 selected communities.We also plan to continue our work the coming years, including the support of the website and the organization of the community meetings, events etc on a regular basis
Detail a specific budget of up to $2,500 USD for operating costs.
-Hiring of Space for training of 30 participants on citizen journalism basics and digital storytelling for 07 days: $140
-Lodging and Feeding of 30 participants for 07 days for $600
-Purchase of 30 Android phone @$50 per phone=$1500
-Motivation for Resource persons @ $50 for three persons=$150
-Ongoing[operational cost]= $110
-Grand Total: $2,500 USD
Besides the microgrant funding, what other support can Rising Voices provide for your project to ensure its success?
We would appreciate ongoing mentoring and additional resource material on citizen journalism and especially digital storytelling.
Gwain Colbert Fulai
A Common Future