Cidadão conectado is one of the projects of Politiquê, a group that aims to make politics interesting and accessible to everybody. We want to engage a new generation of citizens on the political debate, offering unbiased and nonpartisan information and training. To excite teenage students to rethink politics, we want to propose a citizen challenge: they will have to identify, comprehend and solve a problem within their own community. We want to show them the online tools for public participation and train them to use the internet as a new debate arena, where they can tell their own stories.
What locality or neighborhood will your project focus on?
Describe the specific population with whom you will be working.
Our aim is public school teenage students, that live in a vulnerable condition, ages 16-18 . We are already working with them in another project and realized that they don't feel like their opinion matters. All members of Politiquê are under 25 years old and we felt this exclusion ourselves not very long ago.
Youth is an important part of the online community but not in the political sphere. Most of them don't use it to talk about such issues and don't perceive the enormous power their opinion could have. They also ignore most of the electronic government tools available.
We want to inspire them to talk about such issues and to use the internet as a way to share their own community struggles and to help solve them, whether it is by pressuring the government or doing it themselve
Who else will be on your team to help implement the project?
Camilla Borges https://www.facebook.com/camilllaborgespc
Diego Abreu https://www.facebook.com/diego.abreu.9828
Luiz Santos https://www.facebook.com/luizsaantos
Natasha Nóbrega https://www.facebook.com/natasha.nobrega
Tiago Escobar https://www.facebook.com/tiago.escobar
Adriano Brito https://www.facebook.com/adriano.brito.94064176?fref=ts
Tereza Vasconcelos https://www.facebook.com/tereza.vasconcelos.7?fref=ts
Hugo Mariz https://www.facebook.com/hugo.mariz?fref=ts
What kinds of news, stories and other content will be created?
We want them to create moslty videos, blogs and social network pages that helps them share what they see and learn about their community's problem (but any other kind of digital media could be included if the students show interest). We intent to train them to catalog their progress, their doubts, to document the reality of their community and to share it online. Also, we want to show them the digital tools for citizen participation and we expect them to share those with others too.
We hope this will inspire other people to become more active citizens, showing that if teenagers from a vulnerable background can get together and improve their community, we all have an even bigger responsability to act too.
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.
We already have a partnership with our city's Secretariat of Education, for our project to teach politics at public school that is in the end of its pilot phase. We also have been working together with the Regional Electoral Tribunal of our state (Pernambuco), to stimulate underage students to vote (in Brazil, it's optional to vote if you are over 16 years old).
We have been working alongside public schools too, to develop a content that is atractive and interesting for our target audience.
How many participants do you think will be trained in your project?
We plan for this challenge to be an essential complement to our project of teaching politics in high school. Our original goal is to reach at least 60 schools, with a minimum of 2000 teenagers impacted. We expect them to work in groups of up to 10 participants and hope to have at least one group per school, but there is no limit.
We planned the challenge in four phases: problem identification, possible solutions, problem solving and community feedback. For each of them, they will get an specific challenge on content production and will be evaluated by the level of interaction and mobilization they achieve.
We want to get them prizes to stimulate their participation, such as cameras as tablets so they can continue their online citizen participation.
Describe which technologies, tools, and media you will focus on when training participants.
We intend to focus on video making and editing, blogging and social networking. These are the tools we already use in our project and are the most accessible to a group of students in a low-income situation, for being relatively cheap and simple. In Brazil, even the most vulnerable school has access to internet and most students have access to lan houses (very cheap internet cafés) in their communities. A very significant number of students has phones that can film and many schools have their own cameras. We want to use a technology that is cheap and already part of their everyday lives. Also, these are the technologies that youth access the most.
Describe the facilities where you will hold the workshops.
We intend to hold the workshops on the public schools we will be already working, so the students are more at home and have a place to meet and organize. Also, schools are one of the few places where they can have internet access for free. Students would have more flexibility to work on this challenge too and count on the support of the school team to help them. We don't need to work with the school computers, since here in Pernambuco there is a governmental program that gives tablets to all public school students.
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?
Politiquê has beeen working with high school students since the end of 2013, doing workshops and preparing for the bigger project of teaching politics in public high school. We are young people talking to young people, in a different, fresh way about a topic that is not included in any curriculum but is essential for the quality of our democracy. We want to talk to them because we have been in their shoes not long ago and we want to talk about politics in the fun, interesting way nobody ever talked to us.
Also, we already have a structure all built up for the other project. Therefore, it would be relatively simple to implement this challenge.
What specific challenges do you expect to face when planning and implementing your project?
The biggest challenge our project faces is lack of interest by the students. Politics is not an easy topic to bring up to this age level and we don't intend of being there just to give information: we want to engage youth. We also know that, by stimulating students to tackle issues in their communities, we will encounter resistance and critics from the people responsible for the problem analysed.
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 by the number of groups that finish the challenge, by the feedback they will get from their community and by the exposure their attitudes will get on the media. We also prepared a questionary to assess the impact of such project in the students perception on politics, citizenship and their role in their community.
If your project were to be selected as a Rising Voices grantee, what would be the general timeline of project activities in 2014?
We are scheduled to start our project in August, when we will start going to the schools to teach them about politics. We plan on launching the challenge at the same time. By the end of our workshop on politics, we will invite them to participate and, if they are interested and the school agrees, we schedule a workshop to train them on the digital skills and tools we expect them to use. Then, everytime they complete one of the phases of the challenge, we schedule another workshop. The timeline is very unique for each school but in general is the following:
August: workshop on politics and citizenship at public high schools
September: launch of the challenge and deadline to finish the first phase (problem identification)
October: period to complete phases two and three (possible solutions and problem solving)
November: phase four (community feedback) and ceremony to award the best groups
Detail a specific budget of up to $2,500 USD for operating costs.
Most of our budget goes to covering the awards for the winners, since the students already have the technology we want them to use. For the first prize, we want to offer a school trip to our state's House of Representative and a camera for each member. For the second prize and third prizes, we would like to offer a trip to the House of Representatives and a gift pack of our project, with a T-shirt, a booklet and a mug. We also need to cover the transportation cost of our team to the school.
10 cameras: 1200 dolars
Rental of a bus to the House of Representatives: 150 dollars
Transportation cost: 300 dollars
Gift pack: 300 dollars
Besides the microgrant funding, what other support can Rising Voices provide for your project to ensure its success?
We would benefit enormously from your network of projects, learning through their experiences and results, and through your network of bloggers. We could also improve very much our project with your mentoring and assistance in the implementation of all phases. Since Global Voices is a very powerful online media platform, we would also have a much wider dissemination of our work and those of the teenagers we want to help.