Swat remained in the news due to militancy in 2008-09. Hundreds of people lost their lives & more than two millions were forced to leave their homes. Now the peace has been restored after decisive military operation, but the conflict changed the folk’s lives. There are thousands of untold stories not reported as yet. Media Dimensions Swat intends to launch a website to give an opportunity to the people to express their views freely about the conflict. Sharing the eyewitness personal stories will pave the way towards recording honest history & the capability to talk about social problems
What locality or neighborhood will your project focus on?
Swat, Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa
Describe the specific population with whom you will be working.
The project will be executed through college/university students, Teachers, civil society members and senior citizens. Such groups have no platform to boost their expertise of community journalism. They are educated, have computers and online presence via email and Facebook. However, for the senior citizens and female folk, the organization will provide technical support and encourage them to contribute their thoughts in writing or audio/video format.
Research indicates that lack of quality information and social inequalities fuel the conflicts. The project will enable the target population to speak about inequalities, injustice and other social evils paving the way towards extremism.
Who else will be on your team to help implement the project?
Adnan Rashid, Multimedia Journalist,
M.Saleem, Researcher and Education Specialist
Naeem Ullah Khan, Blogger
Nizam Uddin, Journalist
Inam Ullah, Journalist
Irfan Yousafzai, Software Engineer
What kinds of news, stories and other content will be created?
The name of the website is ‘HALAAT’ which is Urdu & Pashto word means ‘state of affairs’. We would like to produce content for the community and from the community. The content will include stories of displacement during militancy, personal stories of sufferings, hardships and losses (human/physical/financial) and stories of those who lost their lives in the blasts and cross firings, but no one recognized their sacrifices and finally, stories of the living legends of the community to give tribute and set role models for the youth of society. The segment will help to think about unarmed heroes, who are living in the surroundings.
Additionally, in-depth analysis of issues prevailing in the area, important local news, commentaries and articles will also be included.
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.
Our organization worked closely with the community on various projects and expects success of the proposed project on similar grounds. Examples of previous work as follows:
• Conducted post conflict situation analysis: Research Study for Center of Research and Security Studies, (CRSS)
• Research on the capability of Swat Journalists
• Established RADIO listener groups across Malakand Division, to discuss program content produced by INTERNEWS for the Internal displaced Peoples (IDPs).
The organization plans to launch awareness campaigns on various social issues; “Education, Basic health, consumer rights, environments & Human rights etc. The Raising Voices project will help to train the citizens of the community to speak loudly.
How many participants do you think will be trained in your project?
The tentative plan is to train 200 active citizens across the conflict-hit zone of Swat. For the purpose, we will hold 10 training workshops, each group will comprise of 20 members. All such participants will be identified on the basis of their interest and commitment to address local problems and their own experiences of the situation. They will be assigned topics with the format they are interested in.
Good work will be rewarded with honor certificates and space of recognition with an introduction on the website to encourage and sustain their contribution.
Describe which technologies, tools, and media you will focus on when training participants.
The project will encourage participants for blogging, social media, audio/video, and photography on smart phones. The website will be specifically based on such contributions to polish their journalistic skills. Mediation with mainstream media will be made to find space for community work. Digital media and its related tools are selected on the basis of its precision and quality as compared to conventional media.
Adnan Rashid, a multimedia journalist, program officer of the organization will lead the training; he is working in the field form last 10 years and has good command on new media tools. Rashid is an Alumni of DW- ACKADEMIE, International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), Alfred Friendly Press Fellowship (AFPF) and Daniel Pearl/Saleem Shahzad Fellowship program.
Describe the facilities where you will hold the workshops.
The organization has enough facilities at its main office at Mingora, Swat for the proposed training workshops.
• Hall to accommodate up to 25 participants.
• Five computers.
• DSL Internet facility, with 2 MB speed
• Off-Air Audio & video Studio facilities.
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?
We established our organization five years back, with a motive “Education through Media” and successfully completed various projects, training programs and research studies. Our working relations with community will help us complete the project. Our organization is also purely indigenous and fully aware of the local community needs and norms.
What specific challenges do you expect to face when planning and implementing your project?
Severe power cut and the reluctance of local people may be a challenge to complete the project. Local people will be encouraged to contribute according to their own convenience. Attraction in the form of certification and acknowledgement will be offered to ensure participation. The project will focus on common man problems and sufferings to avoid conflicts, ensure and observe human rights and solve social and emerging problems of the society. Such localized approach has found helpful in our previous endeavors.
Community participation and engagement will be ensured through indigenous solution to the local problems. Power shortage will be resolved with the help of alternate arrangements.
How will you measure and evaluate the project’s impact, specifically: your primary participants, the wider regional community, or the global digital community?
This project would be the first of its kind to organize such efforts in the conflict hit areas of Swat and close surrounding. The quality contribution of our primary participants visible on digital media refers to success in itself. It means that voiceless are no more voiceless. However the numbers and activeness of the participants will be determined regularly. Further, remarks and comments of the global digital community will also be recorded and observed to determine the impact of the project.
If your project were to be selected as a Rising Voices grantee, what would be the general timeline of project activities in 2014?
The website designing is almost final; however, we are looking for financial support to launch the project with full strength. If the project is approved, we would be in a position to start the activities with one month prior notice.
The training sessions will continue for five months, two in a month.
Detail a specific budget of up to $2,500 USD for operating costs.
Total Primary participants: 200
Total Trainings: 10 (20 each training)
Total sessions of the each training; 04 (2 days, including fieldwork to produce a piece on the topic assigned during the training.
Per training cost:
$12 (including refreshments, 2 lunches & deliverables) $12* 20 (participants) = $240
Total Training cost: 240*10 trainings= $2400
Besides the microgrant funding, what other support can Rising Voices provide for your project to ensure its success?
It will be highly appreciated if Rising Voices could provide an international trainer on Micro blogging and mobile phone reporting skills. We could connect the trainer in one session of each training via Skype chat, Our Swat based trainer will assist the foreigner trainer if translation required.
Media Dimensions Swat