Kenya: Africa Stories Project
This is a project that aims to bring back to life oral narratives and folk tales as told to us by older generations by archiving and sharing them via an online platform for current and future generations to learn from. We shall carry out this project in three ways: we shall venture out to the communities to collect stories first hand, in their raw form as still told at the village setting by people still in touch and practising their culture. We also intend to crowdsource stories on our web platform from our readers and lastly we intend to write our articles that cover historical happenings.
What locality or neighborhood will your project focus on?
Describe the specific population with whom you will be working.
The aim of this project is cover as many communities as possible in Kenya and eventually scale to the rest of Africa but due to it's enormity, we shall begin with the Maasai, Samburu and Kalenjin speaking communities of Kenya. These communities and especially the Maasais and Samburus were among the last communities in Kenya to embrace western civilization, they therefore are rich in historical and cultural stories that can be learnt from and passed on. I am from the Maasai community, the target population's level of computer and internet familiarity is very minimal.
Who else will be on your team to help implement the project?
Also in the team is Lillian Nduati with whom I founded this project she can be found on twitter: https://twitter.com/NanaNduati and runs RedCapeConsult: redcapeconsult.com
Abu Okari who will bring his editing skills and has a background in writing and content creation. His twitter link is https://twitter.com/abuokari and he blogs at http://nativeessays.wordpress.com/
Alex Orenge will handle our social media accounts and will also be involved in editing stories that we receive. His twitter link is https://twitter.com/Alexorenge
My twitter link: https://twitter.com/Naleke
What kinds of news, stories and other content will be created?
What we are proposing to do is collect stories from the community and also through our website. From these two sources our main aim is to collect folk tales and traditional narratives as narrated by older people and published on our website and later illustrated in books as a means of passing this knowledge on. We also propose to write our own stories, these will cover historical happenings, stories of origin, way of life and interaction with other communities and with the colonialists and will also cover topics such as religion, levels of authority, inheritance rights, customs, expressions and clans.
The participants therefore are the people are the community level who mostly reside in remote parts of the country, other stories will come from our online community and from us as well.
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 have established contact with Ford Foundation and are in the process of putting together a proposal that will see us benefit from their media initiative grants.
We also plan to establish partnerships with:
Ministry of Sports Culture and the Arts – Kenya www.minspoca.go.ke
Omidyar Network – www.omidyar.com
KMP Kenya – http://www.kmp.or.ke/
How many participants do you think will be trained in your project?
Since we want to begin with three communities, we shall train six individuals who will then venture out into the community to train local people on how to collect these stories. These six individuals have the task of identifying local people, two from each community who have good reading and writing skills, have very good understanding of their language and culture, and can transcribe oral stories into written form, they should also be able to translate from native languages to English. They will be equipped with laptops, solar kits for powering their laptops and modems for when they will need to relay what they have collected to us.
Describe which technologies, tools, and media you will focus on when training participants.
The team has diverse backgrounds, Lillian Nduati and I both studied IT and Business in college and are very passionate about matters our diverse cultural scene and oral narratives and literature. I come from the Maasai community which is one of the most widely admired cultures in Africa. Lillian Nduati will bring on board her writing and strategic planning skills, I have skills in content management and well versed in social media, the participants at the community level will be trained on how to use web tools most importantly email and content storage and sharing applications such as Google Drive and Dropbox. This is the most appropriate technology for this particular community because the tools are easy to learn and use.
Describe the facilities where you will hold the workshops.
The six individuals we'll train will have a workspace in Nairobi. The space has a sitting capacity of 20. It is located along Ngong road, south of Nairobi. Each trainer has a computer and internet connectivity of up to 4Mbps.
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?
This is a community that I can easily have access to, I can also easily identify who we can work with, I have established contact with members of these communities at both urban and rural levels.
I am the most appropriate individual to implement this project because I have been in contact with these communities for a long time, I have also been a witness to some of the cultural expressions and narratives which year by year are going extinct.
In the long run, we plan to collect as many stories as possible from these communities and churn them back so that they will never have a chance to be phased out. We also plan to illustrate these stories in books which can be used to educate children.
What specific challenges do you expect to face when planning and implementing your project?
One big challenge we expect to face when planning and implementing is that of limited finances.The individuals we'll send out to the communities will require money for travel, food and accommodation and training material. The aforementioned communities live in remote parts of the country and most of the time power to charge their laptops will be a challenge, to mitigate this, we'll need solar charging kits that will ensure they don't run out of charge and make them better plan their work. A section of the Samburus live in a volatile region prone to ethnic clashes, we do not intend to venture into that region yet. Specific measures will be taken in future to ensure we peacefully get their stories as well.
How will you measure and evaluate the project’s impact, specifically: your primary participants, the wider regional community, or the global digital community?
In a number of ways: Having reached a point where we can comfortably involve more and more communities around the country and eventually the rest of Africa.
Greater public involvement and participation in our project, this means that we will see more people submitting stories. When we get to a point of publishing in books the stories we receive, for them to be read by anyone interested in them.
If your project were to be selected as a Rising Voices grantee, what would be the general timeline of project activities in 2014?
7th May 2014- Winners announced
18th May-23rd May- Training of trainers and online campaign for stories
26th May-30th June- Trainers travel to the communities,identify and train local individuals on how to gather and send their stories.
2nd June henceforth- Receiving, editing and publishing stories.
Detail a specific budget of up to $2,500 USD for operating costs.
Mini laptops, 3* $350 = $1050
Broadband modems, 3* $25 = $75
Travel for 6 trainers, 1 week = $350
Solar power kit, 2 = $600
Project coordinator =$100
Stationery such as markers, books, boards = $100
Besides the microgrant funding, what other support can Rising Voices provide for your project to ensure its success?
Rising Voices can give us feedback on our proposal, both positive and negative feedback. We're open to constructive criticism. Also it would be helpful if Rising Voices could share stories of similar projects implemented elsewhere which have been successful. To learn from.