The project aims at empowering the refugees in Hungary through media and journalistic training, for them to have a voice in the main political and cultural debates affecting their and their communities’ futures. We will hold 3 trainings in 2 cities in Hungary: Budapest and Debrecen. After transferring the skills, our informal group, composed of refugees, asylum seekers, migrants and Hungarians living in Hungary, will follow up on media creation. The platform for citizen journalism will be our new webpage, which will offer a complex content: personal stories, advocacy videos, initiatives.
What locality or neighborhood will your project focus on?
Describe the specific population with whom you will be working.
Asylum-seekers mainly come to Hungary from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kosovo, Syria and Somalia. Due to the lack of integration possibilities, legal detention and often homelessness, many of them flee to Western Europe. Many of MigSzol’s members are refugees who are familiar with the difficulties that newcomers are facing. Concern is our other driving force: mainstream media perpetuates anti-immigrant sentiments by reinforcing negative stereotypes. The goals of our group coincide with those of this proposal. We are based in Budapest, but have weekly contact with refugees in camps: on our visits, we follow up on their needs. Refugees are often online to communicate with loved ones at home and are mostly familiar with social media sites. Still, they are not represented in the digital media.
Who else will be on your team to help implement the project?
- Adel, filmmaker and theater professional: https://www.facebook.com/adab.filmphoto
– Babak, refugee, videographer, blogger: https://www.facebook.com/babak.mirza.5 , http://politicsofbeing.blogspot.hu/
– Maiju, filmmaker: https://www.facebook.com/maiju.saari
– Behrooz, refugee and activist: https://www.facebook.com/behrooz.torki
– Miklos, videographer: https://www.facebook.com/miklos.barna
– JD, media activist, community radio show producer: Mindenki Joga on Budapest's Civil Radio 98FM, https://www.facebook.com/mindenkijoga
What kinds of news, stories and other content will be created?
1. Personal stories accompanied by visuals (strong, because self made, even if amateur), video and radio reports, reportages of camp life.
2. Advocacy initiatives, articles which focus on key areas of refugee life, and integration: detention of asylum seekers, family reunification, employment issues, housing and homelessness.
Both kinds of content are aimed at the Hungarian and European public to counter stereotypes of this group as they are portrayed in Hungarian mainstream media.
Both categories of media are to be produced by refugees themselves – MigSzol’s vision as an activist group and in its media making, that migrants are the ones that are most suitable to represent themselves and to influence the policies regarding themselves. We always work with them and not speak for them.
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.
– refugees in Hungary – Budapest and and other cities – as well as connections to asylum seekers living within the camps, open and closed (jailed).
– CSOs (Civil Society Organizations)that focus on migrants and refugees and offer social counseling (www.menedek.hu) ,legal aid (helsinki.hu/en/) or psychiatrical treatment ( http://www.cordelia.hu/index.php/en/)
– refugee and migrant activist groups and networks around Europe, e. http://bordermonitoring.eu/ and http://w2eu.info .
– Visual anthropology NGOs (palatirfilm.hu, campfilm.hu), possible collaboration in offering methodological help on training visual content creation.
– The broader network of refugee self-support groups throughout Europe.
How many participants do you think will be trained in your project?
We will start the project with 15 people per location. MigSzol continuously reaches out through our own refugee and migrant members, who represent different ethnic communities, to the refugee communities in the country, and our members speak Arabic, Farsi, Somali, French, Albanian, Hungarian and English — therefore, contacting and recruiting participants for the project is normal for us already. The participation of new people will be sustained by more experienced members of the community, who will be available at these locations to mentor and follow up on individual media projects. At the same time, refugees and asylum seekers will establish contacts, both professional and personal, throughout the project. This will empower them to become a part of the community thanks to the project.
Describe which technologies, tools, and media you will focus on when training participants.
To make the content produced by refugees more engaging, we will use simple visual documentation tools (mobile phones, digital video cameras), use opensource technologies whenever possible. Refugees do not need professional equipment; this is why we aim to focus on blog content that does not need expensive equipment but still produces quality media. We will show that the lack of professional-level equipment is not an obstacle to free expression.
We have expertise and experience within MigSzol, together with our partners, to teach script development, management skills. video shooting/editing, blog editing and radio show production. MigSzol will debut its new website that will be a complex platform for ‘citizen journalism’, and info center for the Hungarians, migrants, and mainstream media.
Describe the facilities where you will hold the workshops.
In Budapest, MigSzol operates from a community space that 30-40 people can work, with 8 computers connected to Lan, a strong wifi connection, kitchen utilities, meeting and organizing space in comfort that has flexible working hours which suit our needs. In Debrecen we are searching for a location with similar requirements through our local contacts and people that help us.
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?
MigSzol has already has a strong and established network in the refugee communities in Hungary.
MigSzol is an independent advocacy group for the rights of migrants Hungary. As part of its organizing philosophy, MigSzol takes no money from government and state sources because it strives to be an independent organization that Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Migrants can trust. We also do not speak for migrants, but together with them. We advocate for migrants’ right to speak for themselves regarding issues and policies affecting their lives and effort to integrate into Hungary and European society, without distinction of gender, origin, age or religion – this is an uncommon way of thinking in Hungarian society!
What specific challenges do you expect to face when planning and implementing your project?
We will face translation issues, even though our group currently covers many of the languages spoken by refugees. We will resolve this with own members, as we already do. Another issue will be the transitory nature of asylum seekers, many of whom leave the country in frustration with the system during the asylum procedure. Establishing strong ties with this community early on can be a remedy to this larger problem. People in the refugee camps are often reluctant to work with institutions, but MigSzol’s reputation of independence will help us. Many members of our group already have strong media skills, which we will also rely on: indifference from the larger society is a challenge to be overcome gradually and by an outreach with personal, emotive and factual content.
How will you measure and evaluate the project’s impact, specifically: your primary participants, the wider regional community, or the global digital community?
Our Project’s success indicators:
– number of blog posts: 30 in a year
– number of participants in the trainings: 30
– pre- and post-testing questionnaires to assess expectations and experiences for comparison.
– Facebook likes: 1000 new
– media references: 5 in the mainstream media
– political impact: MigSzol is working hard to have a real impact on Hungarian migration policies. We hope that this project will enable us to make refugee voices heard, and that decision makers will consult with our group when designing new policies involving refugees and their protection.
If your project were to be selected as a Rising Voices grantee, what would be the general timeline of project activities in 2014?
Timeframe: 1 year.
Preliminary meetings: Meeting with existing and planned partners, outline the content of cooperation, collect ideas for more successful implementation.
Recruitment phase: Recruiting participants to the trainings, with the following methods: advertising on our facebook, blog posts and webpage, printing flyers and other material dissemination.
Needs and goals assessment: Prepare and compile a pre-testing questionnaire for participants to assess what core issues they have to communicate, what do they expect from the project.
Training sessions in Budapest and Debrecen
Content creation, follow up:
Starting the training phase with the first our projects mentored and followed up on by MigSzol trainers and others. Content creation will not stop at the end of this project, but will be sustained after as a result of the community’s ongoing mobilization.
Content distribution, a small publication event then reinforced by an online campaign.
Detail a specific budget of up to $2,500 USD for operating costs.
Travel expenses: (3 trips, 5 trainers, 10 000 HUF / trip, 30 000 HUF) = 140 USD
Hardware expenses: (2 small HD videocameras, approx. 100 000 HUF, 200 000 HUF) = 900 USD, large Harddrive 250USD
Workshop expenses: (catering for 15 trainees + 5 trainers, 20 people, approx. 10 000 HUF, altogether 60 000 HUF for 6 workshops)= 270 USD
Fees for experts’ participation in the workshops: (train tickets to BP-Debrecen-BP approx. 9000 HUF, + food in Debrecen and Budapest 2000 HUF), (3 trips to Debrencen, 6 lunches, 27 000 + 12 000 = 39 000 HUF) = 176 USD
Besides the microgrant funding, what other support can Rising Voices provide for your project to ensure its success?
This is difficult to tell at this point of the planning and application, but if Rising Voices is available also as a pool of knowledge where we can turn to for best practices or consultation, we would happily take advantage of that opportunity.
Migráns Szolidaritás Csoport / Migrant Solidarity Group of Hungary