This project aims will train 20 youth representatives from different communities and cultural groups in Port Vila to use citizen media to research and document their unique cultures, customs and languages. Participants will create digital products of their choice (photo essay, video, audio recording etc.) that will be shared via an online blog to promote increased intercultural learning amongst urban youth.
What locality or neighborhood will your project focus on?
Describe the specific population with whom you will be working.
The youth of Port Vila and South Efate are indigenous peoples hailing from throughout the Vanuatu archipelago – over 60 islands each having their distinct and multiple cultures, customs and vernacular languages. These youth are largely underrepresented, unaccounted for and marginalised particularly in the urban area, resulting in a loss of traditional knowledge and cultural identities. They have a lack of access to information communication technologies due to poor infrastructure, expensive communications services and limited education to use it. Therefore some of the youth we work with have never used a computer or the internet, while some are familiar with it.
Who else will be on your team to help implement the project?
The project will be lead by the Nesar Studio staff and volunteers:
Artistic Director Marcel Melterorong (Facebook: marsmelto)
Production Officer Len Jacob
Studio Coordinator Roselyn Tari
ICT Capacity Development Officer Tim Martin (Facebook: windowi)
Photographer Paul Ingammer
Media team personnel: Rothat Jeffrey, Tou Sam, Pauline Thomas, Andrew Tamata and Christelle Lakeleo
What kinds of news, stories and other content will be created?
Youth participants will be trained in journalism techniques, and use of basic ICTs to investigate their own cultural identites to create a digital product reflecting an element or elements of their culture, customs and/or language. The content will be in the form of videos, photo essays, or audio recordings that focus on cultural heritage through a creative lens, whether it be using music, dance, art, or storytelling. The youth will be supported to work with fellow youth, and their communities and elders to identify appropriate topics that will expand learning of their own culture and challenge them to present it in an engaging and informative way for other youth and communities to view or listen to.
A blog will be also created to publish the participants’ stories and media.
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.
Through Further Arts’ network and existing partnerships in Vanuatu and the Pacific region, Nesar Studio and its team have established connections with various institutions, government and non-government agencies, and community groups. These include in Vanuatu: Media Association blong Vanuatu, Vanuatu Broadcasting Television Corporation, Komuniti Akses Media Television, Act for Peace, Alliance Française, Canal Studio, Fest’Napuan Music Festival, Wan Smolbag, Vanuatu Cultural Centre, and Pacific Media Assistance Scheme, and in the region: Australian South Sea Islanders Association, Wantok Musik Foundation, Brisbane Entertainment and Multicultural Arts Centre, Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, and Ethno Australia.
How many participants do you think will be trained in your project?
The project will be managed by four youth production leaders in order to train at least 20 youth members as the primary ambassadors for their unique cultures. These youth will be selected through a non-discriminatory application process to ensure they are commited and able to participate for the duration of the project. Preference will be given to young females and for diverse cultural representation amongst the participants.
Describe which technologies, tools, and media you will focus on when training participants.
The four trainers will each specialise their facilitation on one of the following tools:
1. blogging, uploading and sharing content (all participants)
All participants will have the opportunity to learn each of the tools during the training, but are encouraged to choose only one to use for their story so that they can work closely with the specific trainer beyond the training workshop. Other components of the training will be research and networking, developing communication abilities, and understanding rights in regards to media and knowledge.
Nesar Studio already has a wealth of training resources and expertise in the listed tools and technologies that will be used to inform the training.
Describe the facilities where you will hold the workshops.
Nesar Studio is located in Port Vila, just outside of the main town. The studio is made up of a ‘bigfala studio’ and a ‘smol studio’. The bigfala studio is an airconditioned room that can be used by up to 10 people at once working on computers and with production equipment. The smol studio is a soundproofed booth that houses the production equipment and is used for more intimate recording and production needs (fits up to 4 people). The studio also shares the same common office space as Further Arts, where there is a conference room/workshop area that seats 20 people, and outdoor areas that can hold up to 50 people. The entire building has access to a medium performance internet service (1mbps), but does experience occassional power cuts.
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?
As one of the only local community access media facilities in Port Vila (and Vanuatu), we have a strong relationship with local communities and we now have over 100 members. The local community is supportive of our work, and collaborates with us on various project activities and fundraising initiatives. As the sole source of free and open access media tools and expertise to the community, we believe that this and our passion for community media provides us with a relative advantage.
What specific challenges do you expect to face when planning and implementing your project?
A possible challenge will be ensuring the ongoing participation of some participants as it is common for people to stop coming due to commitments at home or in the community or because they can’t afford to come. The best way to address this problem will be to choose times and days that participants will be most likely available, and to provide them with bus fares and lunch allowances to enable them to comfortably participate.
Another challenge will be to create a positive and mutually supportive environment for their learning and the creative process. We always use team building exercises, storytelling and energisers to break down perceived barriers between participants of different cultures, communities and socio-economic backgrounds.
How will you measure and evaluate the project’s impact, specifically: your primary participants, the wider regional community, or the global digital community?
Primary participants: a survey will be administered at the beginning of the project and at the end of the project to measure the participants knowledge and ability to use the different forms of media, thus measuring their level of development and learning. We will also evaluate their digital products individually to ascertain the impact of the training and project activities on the participants.
Wider local, national and regional community (and global platforms): the impact at this level will be most effectively evaluated through measuring and monitoring the number of viewers to the blog and produced content, and any comments or responses received from them that directly relate to improved understanding of ni-Vanuatu cultures, customs and languages.
If your project were to be selected as a Rising Voices grantee, what would be the general timeline of project activities in 2014?
15 June: post the call for applications to our studio members and in the local community to participate in the project
1 July: select participants; prepare for training
7 July – 18 July: deliver training; set up blog
21 July – 29 August: support participants to document and develop their stories using media tools (in the field) – four to six participants are assigned to each Project Leader.
early September: gathering to share findings and progress (peer review); begin post production
October: post production continues (as products are ready they are published on the blog and in local media)
Mid October: all digital products have been completed and published online and in local media
Detail a specific budget of up to $2,500 USD for operating costs.
Equipment purchase $400
Besides the microgrant funding, what other support can Rising Voices provide for your project to ensure its success?
Joining the Rising Voices and Global Voices community will be helpful to promote the project and garner more technical and financial support to facilitate the production of content and sustainability of Nesar Studio activities.