Speaking Eyes aims to train a group of young adult’s living in a conflict zone area of both genders ages 14-17 on how to express and document the stories and concerns of themselves and their community through caricature, creative writing, and publish these writings, political, social and economical cartoons in a blog established, edited and updated by the youth themselves. Therefore, they will undergo a training on creative writing, illustrations and caricature, photography and social media utilization especially blogs.
What locality or neighborhood will your project focus on?
Ramallah- Bilin village
Describe the specific population with whom you will be working.
Bil’in where the project targets is a village in the West Bank considered as one of the most villages affected by the segregation wall built on its land,it is also a military zone area where it witnesses weekly fire practices. These incidents are covered by media;however it is not covered in a way that reflects the youth’s aspirations,perspectives,and ambitions.Most of young adults do not have the skills to express themselves and,concerns clearly due to many reasons such as social rising, and the educational system which focuses on spoon feeding and giving them direct answers instead of provoking them to search for answers and find new questions by themselves.The participants have basic computer skills and will be trained to use blogs for publishing what they create.
Who else will be on your team to help implement the project?
Anas Abu Rahma: a published poet and author who has received an award for the best journalistic story written about Palestinian Refugees.
Lubna Taha an award winning Palestinian children book illustrator and cartoonist, with more that 5 published books.
Anas and Lubna have cooperated previously in producing a book for young adults The books name is the Well’s Song and has received the ministry of Culture award of best children’s books in 2010.
Bilal Khateeb: photographer and experienced in social media and blog making.
What kinds of news, stories and other content will be created?
The project has three main contents that will be created by the youth themselves:Creative writing: the youth will learn how to write stories about themselves and their community in a creative way that has the components of journalist writings.They will interact and make interviews with members of the local community.The youth will also learn how to create stories through comics, caricature, and photography.The material will be published in a blog established by them; it will be updated and edited by them.In this phase they will meet with a photographer, be hosted in a T.V show to talk about their experience.
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 trainers who are going to work in this project have a very good reputation in the targeted community due to previous workshops they have held in Bili’n schools. The youth in Bili’n have themselves always stressed on how much they need workshops that stimulate their talents. Therefore, is it important to stress that the main partnership in this project is with the local community itself who will assess the success of this project through its assistance in providing a space for the training sessions, selection of young adults who will participate in this project and facilitation of meeting with parents and teachers.
The team has also established communications with different NGO that work with children literature and will assist in providing any books needed.
How many participants do you think will be trained in your project?
The direct beneficiaries in this project are:
1- The 15 young adults of both genders ages 14-17 who live in Bili’n village and will undergo trainings on creative and journalist writing, caricature and illustrations, photography and utilization of social media.
2- The local community itself which have a population of approximately 2000.
The recruitment of adults will be conducted through coordination visits to schools in Bil’in, in which dissemination of information in a form of information sheet about the project will be distributed. The interested young adults will have to meet the criteria in terms of age, interest, and commitment. After that a meeting with the parents of the selected youth will be organized to introduce the parents the project idea and keep them involved.
Describe which technologies, tools, and media you will focus on when training participants.
In the cultural centre in Bili’in where we aim to work at, there is a computer lab, however it is not used by the community, and this is the situation unfortunately in most of the centers. The young adults who will undergo the different training could even talk about this issue in a critical matter. The lab will be used for the social media and blog making training. The blog is very necessary and easy tool in the hands of the youth to publish their writings and visual stories. Therefore, young adults will be able to acquire the skills to express themselves clearly through writings and visual stories but also to know what tool they can use to fully express their ideas and concerns and make it public.
Describe the facilities where you will hold the workshops.
The activities of this project will be implemented in the “ Cultural Center” in Bil’in village, it is a modestly equipped center with basic furniture, small library, and a small lap consisting of 10 computers with ADSL connection. It is the only center in Bil’in, and through this project it will be activated.
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?
As Bil’in village is known as one of highly affected villages by the segregation wall build by the Israeli occupation, where citizen’s daily lives are affected by the political fragmented situation. Previous workshops with youth were implemented there that focused on creative writing.There are excellent connections with the head of the cultural center in the village, and the schools, the training hall will be provided as a kind assistant from the center. The team is also aware of the social system in the conservative Palestinian villages and thus has the required knowledge and methods. The team will connect and work as a consultant to the youth even after the end of the project this will ensure a long- term commitment.
What specific challenges do you expect to face when planning and implementing your project?
The project team has a very good experience in working at marginalized villages, and thus the project was designed to prevent any challenges that might occur. However, there might be some days where there is mobility issues for the trainers due to the political situation, but this will be tackled through organizing the training dates and having a back up plan for any emergent issues.
How will you measure and evaluate the project’s impact, specifically: your primary participants, the wider regional community, or the global digital community?
At the beginning of the project the selected participants will undergo a pre test which will include mainly writing a paragraph and making an illustration about a problem in their community, and some questions addressing their ability to express their self identity. In addition to that, testing their knowledge of blog using. There will be a post test with the same questions, the pre and post test writing will be evaluated to see the difference.
The second method will be through observation in the training sessions, how do they use language, express words and different issues.
The blog itself and how it is managed by the youth will be used as success evaluate.
If your project were to be selected as a Rising Voices grantee, what would be the general timeline of project activities in 2014?
The project period will be 6 months divided as follows:
June 1-30/2014: training material development, connections with schools, selection of 15 students, and dissemination of project idea, conduct the pre test.
July 1 – September 30- 2014 implementation of 7 workshops on creative and journalistic writings, 7 workshops on illustrations and caricature, and 7 workshops on photography and blog making. This phase includes also field visits and meetings with the local community members to talk about problems and the community’s concerns; it will also include a meeting with a famous journalist to share his/her experience. The blog will be established and youth will start to publish.
October 1- 30/ 2014: this phase will include a closing ceremony organized in hall in Bil’in village with the attendance of school principals, local community members, decision makers and parents.
November 1-30 2014: project evaluation report.
Detail a specific budget of up to $2,500 USD for operating costs.
Space and Equipment rental: those will be provided in kind assistance from the Cultural Center in Bilin.
Professional Services cost ( creative writing, illustrator and caricature, photography and blog making trainer) ( 3 trainers will be working during the 6 months, each will give 7 sessions) 500$*3= 1500$
Supplies: print out of exercises, photocopies of articles, stationary, art material= 400$
Closing Ceremony: 100$
Besides the microgrant funding, what other support can Rising Voices provide for your project to ensure its success?
The main assistance will be guidance, consultancy and follow of the project activities. It will be great to share experience and to know about other participants implementation of their project.
Anas Abu Rahma