My Life in Focus Tumaco is a citizen media education program for marginalized Afro-Colombian youth (14-21) affected by violence, poverty and armed conflict. Our mission is to support the youth to have their own, authentic voices be heard, to provide them with an alternative to joining one of the illegal armed groups and to improve their prospect of gaining employment in the media sector. To achieve this we will provide participants with a training in human rights, followed by professional-grade training in aspects of digital media, such as reporting, blogging, photography, and filmmaking.
What locality or neighborhood will your project focus on?
Describe the specific population with whom you will be working.
The project reaches out to Afro-Colombian youth of Tumaco, a city heavily affected by the country’s more than 50 year old armed conflict. As Afro-Colombians, these youth are underrepresented in Colombia’s political and media sphere and mainly portrayed as being nameless victims of poverty and armed conflict. We want their unique voices to be heard, enabling them to use media as means of expression so they can share their stories with the global community. Developing this project we worked with a member of the Afro-Colombian community of Tumaco who is also our local coordinator. Community members have a general knowledge of computers and internet but lack the professional skills to take advantage of those in order to create digital media content.
Who else will be on your team to help implement the project?
Niousha Roshani, Child Rights Consultant and Executive Director of Nukanti Foundation
Leonardo Javier Pescador, Director of Nukanti Foundation Colombia
Philipp Zwehl, Nukanti Foundation Program Coordinator for Colombia
Cesar Ordonez, Gradute of media education program in Cali and local project coordinator
What kinds of news, stories and other content will be created?
Each participant shoots and edits digitally an individual, non-fiction short documentary related to a personal human rights issue, documenting it additionally with digital photo material. Their works will display human rights issues and strategies of resistance out of their perspectives, changing the angle of common news production. The project participants will create a blog, displaying their works to the global community, including a video blog sector in which they regularly document their project activities. This way they get the chance to show their work globally, to share their stories and perspectives of positive social change through an exchange with other projects worldwide.
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 project will be implemented in collaboration with internationally acclaimed photographer JR and his global art project Inside Out. In the course of this and our other media education programs we also cooperate with renowned photojournalists Zoriah Miller, as well as with different universities and centers such as Webster University, the MIT Media Lab, and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. In Tumaco we work with the Centro Afro Juvenil de Tumaco a community center for Afro-Colombian youth.
– JR (exisiting)
– Zoriah Miller (exisiting)
– Webster University (exisiting)
– MIT Media Lab (exisiting)
– National Center for Civil and Human Rights (exisiting)
– Centro Afro Juvenil de Tumaco (existing)
How many participants do you think will be trained in your project?
As a member of the Afro-Colombian community of Tumaco, our local project coordinator is in contact with local youth through the collaboration with educational institutions and community organizations. Due to our limited space capacities we will have to select 40 participants from 80 that have already shown their interest for joining the program. We will sustain the participation of the youth by offering them the chance to develop a foundation of skills for employment in the media sector and the participation in a fulfilling free-time activity that will reduce their risk of being recruited by one of the illegal armed groups active in the area and/or being drawn into the vicious cycle of substance abuse, violence and criminal activities.
Describe which technologies, tools, and media you will focus on when training participants.
We focus on digital photography and filmmaking as we believe that these graphic forms of expression will facilitate project participants to “show” their lives out of their own unique perspectives. We have made great experiences providing children and youth with digital point and shoot cameras as they are handy, easy to operate and not too flashy. Additionally we will use computers as editing stations and to gain access to the internet. Niousha Roshani implemented numerous media education projects worldwide which enabled her to obtain the necessary professional-grade skills in all aspects of media, while our local project coordinator was the best graduate of our Cali instructor training program so that the skills he developed in photography, cinematography and editing are industry standard.
Describe the facilities where you will hold the workshops.
We will use the space that is offered to us by the Centro Afro Juvenil de Tumaco community center which is a holds up to 45 project participants. There are five computers available with sufficient capacity for editing photos and film material which are connected through a cable internet modem with a connection speed of up to 1 Mbps bandwidth for downloads and 128 Kbps for uploads.
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?
Our organization is most appropriate to carry out this project as we has been working with marginalized children and youth in Colombia for over five years now, having gained valuable experience working on the ground in conflict affected areas with local grass root organizations. Apart from that, through our years of work in Cali we became familiar with the special characteristics of the Afro-Colombian community. Our local coordinator, as a community member himself, knows its challenges first hand and has valuable insights into its social fabric and dynamics. We are planning this project as the pilot phase of a long-term program that will include instructor training workshops and a job placement initiative.
What specific challenges do you expect to face when planning and implementing your project?
One of the challenges we are expecting to face while implementing the project is the severe security situation in Tumaco and its consequences for local Afro-Colombian youth. Just recently the Red Cross declared that Tumaco is particularly experiencing high-levels of conflict related violence. Working in areas as these, we made the experience before that project participants were forcefully displaced with their families or had to leave the community because of death threats or gang rivalries and as a result could no longer participate in the program.
How will you measure and evaluate the project’s impact, specifically: your primary participants, the wider regional community, or the global digital community?
We define success by the skills that the project participants were able obtain through joining the project (quality of their works), the outreach of the initiative, and if participants were able to use citizen media elements as form of expression. To measure these results we use Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation (PM&E) using mainly qualitative methods in order to evaluate if the participants have been able to take advantage of the offered forms of expression and what kind of skills they were able to obtain. This evaluation form will also be used to document if the project was able to prevent youth from getting involved with drug abuse, illegal armed groups and/or their criminal activities.
If your project were to be selected as a Rising Voices grantee, what would be the general timeline of project activities in 2014?
Preparation activities (July 2014)
During the first month, the team will focus on creating the space where the activities will be carried out and selecting the group of 40 youth who will take part in the program.
Workshops on Human Rights.
Human Rights Training (August 2014)
During the second month of the project, we will organize workshops on human rights
and civic participation.
Media Training (September – November 2014)
The second part of the project will be dedicated to professional-grade training in following aspects of media: video production techniques, photography, reporting, website tools, technologies in community media, and more.
Evaluation (December 2014)
The final month will be dedicated to evaluation of the project. We will use participatory evaluation, with an active involvement of all parties involved: providers, partners, beneficiaries, the community.
Detail a specific budget of up to $2,500 USD for operating costs.
Cameras (Point and shoot) 50 (Cost) 20(Number) $1000
Camcorder (Canon) 300 2 $600
Project Coordinator 100 6 $600
Besides the microgrant funding, what other support can Rising Voices provide for your project to ensure its success?
We would gladly accept any kind of assistance with regards to establishing connections to similar project in Colombia and worldwide. Rising Voices might have the possibility to initiate a platform or network through which the youth could interact with other youth from different places engaging in similar activities in order for them exchange experiences and engaging in a global dialogue about how to empower marginalized youth through citizen media initiatives.