Ghana: Youth Voices Jamestown – JT Live Radio
We are a group of young people in Jamestown, Accra, who have recently established an online radio station to connect members of the community, celebrate their vibrant arts and culture, and offer production skills training to others, giving people a voice as citizen journalists reporting on the social issues affecting them in this deprived district of Accra. We will run bespoke training for 3 trainers, who will train 8 committed young people (16-24) in content production and digital storytelling (audiovisual), with their content presented online via the website, blog and social media.
What locality or neighborhood will your project focus on?
Describe the specific population with whom you will be working.
We have identified 4 youth groups who would benefit from developing their media literacy skills. The participants are facing certain challenges in a community increasingly trapped in a cycle of poverty, and witnessing the decline of their language, traditions and land. Jamestown is often associated with poverty, rioting and youth unemployment, this project will provide a much-needed platform to talk back and celebrate local culture.
The station was conceived and established by a young social activist from Jamestown, Nii Kwartey Owoo, and it is the first venture of its kind in this community. The ‘Youth Voices’ project was developed by Nii and several other youth from the community centre who recognised the need to involve other young people from Jamestown in the activities of JT LIVE.
Who else will be on your team to help implement the project?
The team leaders are:
Nii Kwartey Owoo www.facebook.com/niikwartey.owoo
Rashid Obodai Provencal www.facebook.com/rashidobodai?fref=ts
Richard Nii Lantey Bruce www.facebook.com/richard.bruce.710
What kinds of news, stories and other content will be created?
– 6-8 Short MultimediaStories x 10 Mins (distributed via website, blog, soc media)
– 6-8 Podcasts (distributed via SoundCloud)
– Live online broadcast on Mixlr
– Blog Page and website to host content
Content may include:
1. Celebration of arts, culture and local talent (eg. traditional folk music, spoken word, walking tours of Jamestown, architecture, music, art, top 10 places / music in Jamestown etc.).
2. Social issues in the community (eg. features about education, local stories, HIV Aids, prostitution, sexual health, teenage pregnancy, drug trafficking, prostitution, unemployment and ways to find work, internet fraud and pornography).
3. Local news digest / information / documentary
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 partnerships with four community-based organisations in Jamestown and across Greater Accra where we will identify trainees. We are establishing partnerships with internet cafes, libraries and local schools in Jamestown, in addition to developing a connection with the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA). We have also identified a potential trainers’ trainer, Kofi Larweh, through PDA (Participatory Development Associates) Ghana. SOAS Radio, University of London, is supporting with fundraising, capacity building and training, and this partnership has been set up to provide opportunities for shared learning between young people in Jamestown and the volunteers at SOAS Radio in London.
How many participants do you think will be trained in your project?
We will first train 3 trainers (who are already experienced in producing content with the community) to up-skill them further over 3 days in; radio station capacity building and production, and to develop workshop formats for them to train the 8 participants. We have already begun to identify creative and committed young people to make up the 8 participants who will attend the production training workshops over 4 weeks. During the subsequent 4 weeks, group members will continue to produce content for the station, and JT LIVE will keep in regular contact with them afterwards, encouraging them to upload further content at any time in the future. We have also included an innovation fund in the budget for trainees to pursue their own digital storytelling projects in their community.
Describe which technologies, tools, and media you will focus on when training participants.
Software will include Audacity and a photo editing software. Equipment includes hand-held voice recorders and smartphones, which will be used to freely upload content to a designated platform, both audio and visual (i.e. photos and/or short films). Platforms used include Facebook, SoundCloud, YouTube and Whatsapp.
Nii Kwartey is an experienced sound engineer, producer and youth facilitator; he has produced and presented for online and FM radio shows. Nii Kwartey has been working with youth in his community since the age of fourteen and he now aspires to equip other young people to tackle social issues in the community through radio and digital media. Kofi Larweh, the identified trainer, is part of the Radio Ada management team and AMARC Africa Board Member for training.
Describe the facilities where you will hold the workshops.
JT LIVE Radio has recently secured a home and studio (in the final phase of construction) at Jamestown Community Centre, which is where the training will be held. The centre can accommodate up to 200 people seated, so there is no issue with space for our workshops. The radio station itself has a training area (5 person capacity) for editing, and a recording studio. There are 2 computers, internet / wifi modem, and the station will soon be connected through ADSL.
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?
JT LIVE’s founder and station manager Nii Kwartey Owoo is a young passionate twenty-five year old Ghanaian who has a vision for his own community, culture and country. He is a natural leader and inspiration to the young people in Jamestown who he mentors and trains. Nii Kwartey and other volunteers involved in the project have previously produced community projects with Act For Change, Community and Family Aid Foundation and YES Ghana. We have been trained in facilitation skills and have worked with youth in the Jamestown Community actively over the last five years. We have already secured a space in Jamestown Community Centre for the studio, and are building links with Accra Metropolitan Assembly (who own the building) and Ghana Community Radio Network to discuss future work.
What specific challenges do you expect to face when planning and implementing your project?
Jamestown occasionally suffers from power cuts, so we will require extra batteries. Workshops will be held on Saturday afternoons, and additional lighting in the centre will make the training areas more accommodating as the centre does not have much natural light. PDA Ghana have offered an alternative training space, if needed.
We will develop guidance in editorial principles for trainees, informing them of the risks of reporting and online media. We will demand high-quality journalistic approaches to research / fact checking / interviews etc, guiding the young reporters to seek fair and balanced contributions from the community. SOAS Radio will assist JT Live Radio to develop child protection guidelines to highlight risks and responsibilities to children and young people.
How will you measure and evaluate the project’s impact, specifically: your primary participants, the wider regional community, or the global digital community?
Trainers training will be evaluated by in-depth interview. The 8 participants will complete evaluation forms, designed with the help of SOAS Radio. JT LIVE will also conduct and record in-depth interviews with partners, which will be analysed and evaluated qualitatively, they will also monitor; the reach of the training by recording attendance and demographic information on the evaluation forms; online reach on SoundCloud; some qual analysis of Twitter and Facebook; and we will report statistics such as number of requests, downloads and page impressions.
If your project were to be selected as a Rising Voices grantee, what would be the general timeline of project activities in 2014?
Already in progress:
Establishing the station online, via a website and content syndication.
Establishing a permanent studio and home for the station at Jamestown Community Centre
Timeline for the Rising Voices Project:
1. Plan and implement training for trainers / local mentors (before end May 2014)
2. Plan training workshops for 8 participants (by end June)
3. Run training and produce editorial content aimed at the target audience, suitable for online listening / download / podcast (from July)
4. Visit from / contact with the trainer’s trainer (mid-late July)
5. Monitor audience feedback and station reach (endline)
Detail a specific budget of up to $2,500 USD for operating costs.
We would like to apply for the full amount of $2,330 USD.
Laptop computers $500
Voice recorders $170
Transport costs $250
Electricity costs contribution $40
Internet costs $150
Innovation fund (to enable further creative projects by participants) $400
Besides the microgrant funding, what other support can Rising Voices provide for your project to ensure its success?
Rising Voices could help us spread the word about our community training opportunities, perhaps through other project partners in Ghana. Rising Voices could share relevant resources to support the implementation of the training workshops. JT LIVE would also benefit from being able to connect with other online and community radio stations who are working with young people, both in Ghana and further afield.
Nii Kwartey Owoo
JT LIVE RADIO, GHANA