The project aims at teaching rural women to use the internet to write about themselves in their own language, and to facilitate their participation in national , politics, economic and social issues.25 women will be trained on blogging, using wordpress, facebook and twitter. They will inturn train other women in their respective projects, or groups. Trainees will then create bloggs suitable for their own intrests, through which they will be able to tell their own stories. By this they will get recognition from other women in influential positions, and also learn what other women are doing.
What locality or neighborhood will your project focus on?
Describe the specific population with whom you will be working.
The target participants, suggested issues that they would like to address through blogging. The women are alienated by gender, language and location. Most issues on the internet are adressed in English by men or women in cities. I want to work with this community because, I have worked with it since 2008 and have become part of it. I have a greater understanding of their challenges and I am part of some of their achievements. I also see the need for rural women to be empowered like their urban counterparts. Most of them can use the internet via mobile phones, especially facebook.
Who else will be on your team to help implement the project?
Some media and civil society personnel will be part of the team in order to implement the project. these include, board members of Her Zimbabwe a femisist website, Sally Dura of Sally Women Institute, Charlton Tsodzo and Grace Ruvimbo Chirenje. These have facebook accounts by their names. These experts will provide thorough insights on crucial issues affecting women in Zimbabwe and advice the trainees on the best possible ways to utilise the bloggs. For the actual technical training some media studies students will be involved so that they assist the trainees as well as implement what they have learnt, by teaching others.
What kinds of news, stories and other content will be created?
The trainees will create a blog that adresses all issues that are related to the women in Mataga Mberengwa area, including, social, economic and political issues. The main pages will reflect major highlights of any events. then there will be sub-sections on health, opinions, questions and answers, as well as advice for women of all ages. these stories will be accompanied by images as well. the blog as well as facebook pages will profile sucesful women in the community. A calender with dates with a line up of important events and meetings, involving women 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.
I have made a connection with the current team of students at Midlands State University and their Students's affairs office in order to invite them to actively take part in the project as facilitators and trainers. These students include members of a youth organisation that has been involved in social responsibility and social entrpreneurship projects for the past 10 years. thses students will ensure the succesfull implementation and continuation of the project. I am plannking to bring forward, feminists, politicians’ and human rights activists, to bring the trainees up to date with the current topical issues on women affairs. this will help the women to explore relevant topics. these experts will also monitor certain areas they have experince in.
How many participants do you think will be trained in your project?
There will be 25 primary participants, who in turn is expected to tarai a minimum of 10 women. Troughthis we will ensure that the trained difuses to other women un the community nd does not end with one primary trainee. there will also be different age groups ranging from 12 years to 50. This will allow a diverse group of people which allows the involvement of everyone. To ensure the full participation of these women familiarisation workshops will be held beforehand, so that the women are aware of what is expected of them, and how they will benefit from the project. The responsibility to run the blogs will be in given to groupor other project leaders to ensure that it is passed from old leadership to the new one. this will ensure the continuity of the project.
Describe which technologies, tools, and media you will focus on when training participants.
My partners and I bring media expetise to the project. We have experience in writing, blogging and using the internet. Some parteners are going to bring expetise in analysing ertain issues that are affecting women. These include, politis, constitutional rights on womens; rights’ and women's health. The mere use of a laptop is alo part of the trainers job. Blogging is most appropriate for this community because the project promotes citizen journalism. Blogging has limited interference interms of censorship. it is also cheaper and the messaging is instant since there is no protocol to be followed. laptops, modems, and cellphones are the tools needed for this project.
Describe the facilities where you will hold the workshops.
A minimum 0f 12 computers will be needed as well as iternet modems, are necessary fo each machine. Class rooms from a nearby school will be utilised for the training. In the event that the classrooms are in use we shall use the community hall.Beacause of the rate of load shedding on Zimbabwean electricity a generator will be necessary to make sure power is always available at the venue during training sessions, for there will be use of a projector for demonstrations.
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?
Since 2010 the proposed trainers and target trainees have worked on several projects, some of which are still ongoing. Most of these projects have been income generating, projects. The Midlands State University has vowed that it shall provide any intellectual assistance that is needed in any project that the people of Mberengwa maybe venturing into. Thus this is an old flame that is intended to be rekindled by this project. I am the most suitabel person to implement this project because I was part of the first group of students to start interactions with the the Mberengwa community, and I am also a media pratitioner who has learnt the importance of empowerment through information. I have other that are of importance for the project to go through.
What specific challenges do you expect to face when planning and implementing your project?
The main challenge we are likely to meet is that of a language barrier. This is because the greater part of this communiy do not understand English as they are mainly Ndebele speakers. It is rather a challenge to explain technical terms in Ndebele or Shona, but it is important that the trainees understand. To counter the problem there shall be some students from the language department and language experts to help with the trnslations. Interms of security, we do have a challenge as to where to store our laptops, and projector. These will be carried to and from the college campus
How will you measure and evaluate the project’s impact, specifically: your primary participants, the wider regional community, or the global digital community?
In this project is measured by the number of articles recieved, the number of women participating in it by the end of the first two months of training. By the end of eight weeks each of the primary participants is expected to have written an article or at least postd a picture on one of the blogs. Iexpectthat other similar communities , despitethe scarcity of resources will try to emulate and implement the project. In response to this project I aslo expect mainstream bloggers to adress rural women in their languages, rather than writing everything in English only. the change in language will be testimony that the Mberengwa community is being recognised in national discources.
If your project were to be selected as a Rising Voices grantee, what would be the general timeline of project activities in 2014?
If my project is selected as a rising voices grantee it is expected to kic start in Mid-May 2014 up untill End of July. From Mid-May to Mid-July the primary trainees will be getting trained and are expected to start training secondary trainees thereafter. After the first part of the training in June, we would pould expect the first group of women to start blogging. The rest will follow aftre their training.
Detail a specific budget of up to $2,500 USD for operating costs.
Internet Access: $400 (increased speed)
Travel of at least 25 participants from villages: $600
Workshop costs/facilities(refreshment, preparation ect): $1300
Coordinators’ expenses: $200
Besides the microgrant funding, what other support can Rising Voices provide for your project to ensure its success?
For the project to be a success Rising Voices may just provide more human resources for monitoring and evaluation purposes.
Daphne T Jena