This project proposes a program designed to identify, train & mentor 30 youth from Bududa who have been affected by landslides to innovatively use social media to share their original experiences, culture & calls for action for social change. Ultimate goal of the project is to create a vibrant network of a generation who will ably represent their community online through participatory citizen media & celebrate the magnificent #TweepsHelpBududa experience. To achieve these results, project participants will be empowered through citizen media training workshops and close individual guidance.
What locality or neighborhood will your project focus on?
Describe the specific population with whom you will be working.
The project targets high school & college level-youth among the Bagisu native communities who have for many years been affected by mudslides/landslides. To arrive at this project, I have brainstormed with community leaders and youth from affected communities some of whom have fond memories of the benefits of #TweepsHelpBududa. Although they have basic knowledge of a computer, they want to know more about this “citizen media”. Bududa is a rural district whose populace is largely illiterate & indigent with limited access to computers or internet. The amazing culture notably traditional male circumcision “Imbalu” or personal accounts of these natural disasters are not available online. I want to work with the community because they are passionate about the project and I am a native
Who else will be on your team to help implement the project?
To execute the project, i will work with a youth who is very passionate about citizen media. By names, he is Wamika Joel and here is a link to his Facebook account: https://www.facebook.com/joel.wamika During the entire course of project implementation, I will work with several local leaders and youth to ensure project success.
What kinds of news, stories and other content will be created?
The vision for the content is quite elaborate. Participants will be encouraged to produce citizen media output which will include news items such as updates on mudslides/landslides; update on the situation of displaced persons; what people can do to help; real-time updates in case of any landslides; literature on the history of Lumasaba dialect & the rich culture. Original photos will be shared alongside most of this content. Content to spur debate as to whether residents should be relocated from landslide prone areas or find alternative mechanisms to avoid disaster will be generated by the community members themselves from personal perspectives.
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.
I enjoy a very conducive working relationship with the Red Cross staff operating in Bududa district and their regional office in Mbale town. Same applies to Mbale and Bududa districts local governments having worked in Mbale a few years back. I also have good contacts with the local FM radio community in the region whom I have worked with before.
Bududa is my home village and I am a Mugisu by tribe. At a personal level, I know several families who have been directly affected by the mudslides/landslides. These connections will be invaluable during project implementation to ensure success and community ownership. To further motivate and inspire the participants, I intend to link them up with the magnificent team behind the #TweepsHelpBududa success.
How many participants do you think will be trained in your project?
The project intends to train at least 30 participants. The project will identify high school & college level-youths from villages which have been ravaged by mudslides/landslides in the past. To win their sustained participation in project activities, the project will deliberately target the fairly enlightened youths who have a passion in citizen media but simply have limited knowledge. The idea is to empower them to share their opinions online & once they know how to do it, their passion & close mentoring will not only enable them generate original content but also become ambassadors of the project & train others in their communities. A support network will be built through the project's online hub to continue mentoring & motivating participants to share their experiences.
Describe which technologies, tools, and media you will focus on when training participants.
The primary tools the project will use during training & ultimately project implementation will include internet connected laptops/computers, digital camera & mobile phones. The project will only utilise free software to share & publish content. In terms of which media, a focus will be placed on the use of blogs preferably WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ & Flickr. This technology is most appropriate because it is free, easy to learn & update, and is fairly common with the youths. Besides having active personal accounts for all these sites, I bring invaluable experience acquired overtime in using citizen media to carry out campaigns & trainings in areas such as signing up accounts, personalising them, generating right content, growing audience/following, moderating comments etc.
Describe the facilities where you will hold the workshops.
The project workshops will be conducted in an Internet cafe in Mbale town since Bududa has no such reliable facilities for such a training. Identified cafe is of a 20-seater capacity equipped with 20 fully functional computers with up-to-date Windows-based software. The computers are connected to a local area connection provided by the administrator and the internet connection speed can go as high as 42mbps on the 3G+ network. The facility has a generator on standby just in case electricity goes off to ensure that the training is not interrupted. A writing board will be in place for purposes of written instructions.
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?
The sub-county where most of the villages which have been seriously affected by these landslides is where i grew up in my early childhood days. Being a native, I am comfortably aware of my way around to constructively rally the community members behind the project. In addition, my vast experience in online citizen media makes me the most appropriate individual to implement this project in the target area. In the long-term commitment to this community, I am in the final stages of securing registration of an NGO to offer legal aid services, counselling & human rights education and training to the communities in Bududa and the greater Bugisu sub-region. Innovative use of citizen media is among the key strategies of the organisation.
What specific challenges do you expect to face when planning and implementing your project?
I expect to encounter the challenge of higher expectations from the participants & the community. To address this, I am working to manage their expectations by being clear on the project's goal & expected activities. Poor writing skills is yet another challenge. To overcome it, I plan to train participants how to pitch short, concise stories which are original, simple but informative. An editorial policy will also be put in place to guide publication of content online. Limited internet access is also likely to affect participation online & to minimise this challenge, I intend to prepare participants to explore cost effective ways of accessing internet either through use of mobile phones, public library facilities, or even using the project's laptop whenever possible.
How will you measure and evaluate the project’s impact, specifically: your primary participants, the wider regional community, or the global digital community?
At primary participants level, I intend to look at the number of accounts opened up across various social networking sites; originality, quality & quantity of local data generated in a given period of time; level of interaction during trainings; performance or comments in pre-post tests (framed questionnaires). For wider regional community, I will look at level of involvement in project project activities either by providing information, opening accounts, or participating in online engagements. For the global digital community, I will evaluate how much original local information is readily available for their consumption & how they engage with it. All these will be measured & evaluated against a set of goals through the quarterly reports to ably assess project's impact.
If your project were to be selected as a Rising Voices grantee, what would be the general timeline of project activities in 2014?
Since I have already conducted a survey, the project would start as soon as possible.
-On May 26th, completion & release of detailed final project activities & the timelines.
-On May 28th/29th, conduct identification of participants.
-On June 02nd, collect quotations from service providers.
-On June 05th, send out invitation letters to selected participants to attend training workshops.
-On June 12th/13th, conduct training sessions, all participants will register accounts across all the identified social networking sites, introduce them to general editorial process.
-From July 03rd-06th, conduct follow-up visits to each individual participant to discuss challenges encountered & general mentorship support.
Throughout project implementation, there will be continuous mentoring and support services online, via voice calls and SMS. Quarterly reports and other documentation to be worked on and released as required by Rising Voices in a timely manner.
Detail a specific budget of up to $2,500 USD for operating costs.
This brief specific budget assumes that the active project activities will be conducted over a period of 8 months as detailed in the above general timeline. 30 participants are to be trained. One laptop – $400; Modem – $40; Orange Internet Subscription – $400; Digital camera – $160; Venue hire for workshops+Internet costs – $292; Breakfast for 30 participants – $36; Stationery/Secretarial services – $160; Transport refund for 30 participants – $180; Co-facilitator allowance for the trainings – $80; Coordinator's expenses over the entire project implementation (Airtime – $148, travel costs – $310, refreshments & meals – $160); Project banners for publicity – $50; Publication of project's IEC materials – $80. The costs for the monitoring & evaluation activities and production of Project Report have been covered in the itemised budget estimates above.
Besides the microgrant funding, what other support can Rising Voices provide for your project to ensure its success?
To further guarantee project success, the following assistance from Rising Voices would be invaluable;- Sharing of materials/publications on best practices on citizen media training and practices, linkages with other organisations/funders, connection with volunteers who may wish to come to work with us in Uganda or help out online, connect us to individuals who have conducted similar projects successfully around the world, regularly featuring our project's profile and work on it's platforms which enjoy a huge following; and any other planned activities to support successful implementation of the project.