[Newsletter] Funders and Citizen Media

December 23rd, 2009 by David Sasaki

Dear All,

There is an important and sensitive conversation that I think that this community needs to have, and it is about the role of funding and different types of funders in our work. Just two or three years ago blogging was often viewed as a harmless activity for people with too much time on their hands. Today many organizations, funders, and even governments see blogging – and other forms of online digital media – as the next great hope to create more democratic and just societies.

As this enthusiasm about citizen media has grown so too have the funding opportunities for projects that use digital, participatory media to achieve a variety of objectives. There has especially been an increase of funding opportunities for projects that use digital media to promote democratization in closed societies where democratic participation by citizens is limited by authoritarian governments.

For example, there were several emails on this mailing list about a grant competition earlier this month by the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), a part of the United States Department of State. This $5 million grant competition for digital media projects in the Middle East and North Africa is a central part of the US State Department’s “Civil Society 2.0” initiative, which Hillary Clinton outlined in Morocco back in November. The goal of the initiative is to bring together technologists, bloggers, and NGOs to increase the effectiveness of civil society in promoting civic engagement and democratization. Critics of the initiative, however, say that this is a way for the United States to spread its influence and interfere in the politics of other countries. (In my own opinion, I think that it is probably a little bit of both.) The United States is not the only government or funder interested in providing financial support to digital media projects that promote democratization. The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency is currently accepting proposals for projects that support “actors for change, individuals, groups and civil society organisations working for democratisation and freedom of expression.”

Last week I was in Beirut for a meeting with a group of many of the leading bloggers, technologists, and digital activists from around the Middle East and North Africa. The individuals and organizations represented at this meeting are those that the Middle East Partnership Initiative and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency are hoping to support. But during a conversation at the meeting about funding there was much concern that accepting money from foreign governments would have a negative impact on the credibility of local projects. Some felt that it is better for activists to work without any funding at all. Others felt that it is OK to accept funding from private organizations, but not from governments. A few felt that it is OK to accept money from European governments, but not from the United States. And there were also mixed opinions about whether or not it is OK to accept money from their own national governments or whether that too would hurt their credibility and autonomy. I highly recommend watching an interview with activist Nasser Wedaddy about the role of funding in digital activism.

What we do know is that next year $5 million will enter the Middle East and North Africa to support the work of digital activists. We still don’t know how this money will be used or what its impact will be, but I think that it is important to speak openly about it.

Back in October I attended a meeting with several others who are members of this mailing list about the role of funders in media development, with a special focus on digital media. For those who are interested, I published a series of articles about the meeting:

http://www.pbs.org/idealab/2009/10/the-new-era-of-media-development-part-1280.html
http://www.pbs.org/idealab/2009/10/the-new-era-of-media-development-part-ii298.html
http://www.pbs.org/idealab/2009/10/the-new-era-of-media-development-part-iii304.html

Another participant of that meeting was Anne Nelson from Columbia University who recently published a report on private funders of media development including the Knight Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Open Society Institute, the Omidyar Network, the Skoll Foundation, and Google.org. You can download that report here:

http://cima.ned.org/reports/experimentation-and-evolution-in-private-u-s-funding-of-media-development.html

Just a couple weeks later Mary Myers published a report about international funders with a strong focus on European funders. That report is available for download here:

http://cima.ned.org/reports/funding-for-media-development-by-major-donors-outside-the-united-states.html

I know that it is ambitious to try to start such an important conversation when many people around the world are taking time off of work and spending it with their families, but I think it would be very valuable to hear some thoughts about this topic and, specifically, the following questions:

* Do citizen media projects need funding at all? If you have access to computers and an internet connection at a public library or public university, then all of the other tools for a digital media training project are free to use. Why do we need any funding?

* Does accepting money from foreign governments hurt the credibility and autonomy of local citizen media projects? Are some government funders less controversial than others?

* Should we all commit to being open and transparent about where our funding comes from, or are there occasions when it is better to keep our funders out of public view?

I hope everyone is well and I look forward to this conversation!

Best,

David

[Newsletter] Recently Around Rising Voices

November 30th, 2009 by David Sasaki

Dear All,

It has been quite a while since we’ve had a “weekly” Rising Voices newsletter, hasn’t it? It’s hard to believe that we have already reached December and 2009 is almost over.

World AIDS Day

Hopefully you all saw Solana’s email about our activities for World AIDS Day tomorrow. Please help us distribute our “Blogging Positively” guide written by Janet Feldman, which presents case studies, interviews, and tips about citizen media related to HIV/AIDS.

http://rising.globalvoicesonline.org/guides/

The guide is now available in English, Spanish, and French, and a Russian translation should be up by tomorrow. On Global Voices we have also set up a special coverage page for World AIDS Day 2009 with an embedded map of HIV-positive bloggers and bloggers who write frequently about HIV/AIDS.

http://globalvoicesonline.org/specialcoverage/world-aids-day-2009/

For those who want to get further involved in using citizen media to ensure more inclusive coverage of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, please join us for a live online chat on December 3rd (7 pm Nairobi time). More information about the chat is available on the special coverage page.

Catching up with Rising Voices projects

Did you know that the Canadian coal mining company Teck Resources is planning on increasing its production from 1.5 million to 8 million tons every year at he Ovoot Tolgoi mine, an open-pit coal mine in southern Mongolia? The huge increase in production is sure to have a large environmental impact in Mongolia, but until recently residents of southern Mongolia had no way to make their voices heard. The Mongolian environmental citizen news project Nomad Green is trying to change that by organizing workshops to teach environmental activists how to publish news about changes and threats to their environment. Learn more in Rezwan’s latest feature post and by visiting Nomad Green itself:

http://rising.globalvoicesonline.org/blog/2009/11/28/nomad-green-mongolian-environmental-news-reported-by-you/
http://en.nomadgreen.org/

There are also plenty of environmental threats in Madagascar. Patrick from Foko Madagascar tells us about the illegal logging of rosewood trees in eastern Madagascar which are exported to make guitars, billiard cues, furniture and luxury flooring. He tells us that the coup and political crisis that took place earlier this year has created an environment where people are able to evade the legal system. His own hometown of North Mananara has suffered as a result. This is something to think about the next time we buy furniture made out of rosewood. See photos from Patrick’s post, and read the latest from more Malagasy bloggers in Joan’s latest wrap-up:

http://layshiyuu.wordpress.com/2009/11/04/rosewood-business-on-the-east-coast-of-madagascar/
http://rising.globalvoicesonline.org/foko/2009/11/27/want-more-good-news-from-madagascar-what-about-starting-another-blogging-contest/

“Every month when I do my roundups of what happened on the Ceasefire blog that month I think to myself, ‘It can’t get much better than this!’ And it always does.” So writes Ruthie Ackerman in her introduction to a recap of blog posts from Liberians living in Staten Island, New York and Monrovia, Liberia who are part of the Ceasefire Liberia project. Sticking to the environmental theme, make sure not to miss Saki G’s coverage of a Liberian youth group which organized an event to fight against climate change as part of the Road to Copenhagen campaign.

http://ceasefireliberia.com/2009/10/wood-camp-youth-consider-cop-15-the-gateway-to-the-future/
http://rising.globalvoicesonline.org/ceasefire-liberia/2009/10/30/ceasefire-liberia-in-the-news-october/
http://ceasefireliberia.com/

Opportunities

Youth Producing Change: Call for Submissions: | Human Rights Watch

The Human Rights Watch International Film Festival in partnership with Adobe Youth Voices seeks youth-produced film, video and animated works on human rights issues made by youth ages 19 and under for its third annual YOUTH PRODUCING CHANGE program.

Ashoka November Fellowship Bulletin

With lots of funding opportunities.

Twenty Ten project accepting applications from professional African journalists

In 2010 a new training opportunity in Twenty Ten opens up for photo/multimedia journalists with an interest in multimedia. You can join the All Stars by signing up for the multimedia program and have a chance to become a member of the Dream Team in South Africa. Subscribe by following the steps below and apply to join Twenty Ten.


That is all for this week. We’ll try to keep these newsletters more consistent in the future. I hope to see many of you in the chat on December 3.

Best,

David

[Newsletter] Does New Media Training Help or Hurt Indigenous Knowledge?

October 7th, 2009 by David Sasaki

In the past two and a half years this community has grown from an initial 70 individuals interested in citizen media training to nearly 1,000 people representing citizen media projects, small and large donors, university institutions, and NGOs based all around the world.

When we first started this mailing list it was much more conversational and almost every email led to two or three responses. With this much larger community the list has become less conversational and more like a standard weekly newsletter.

This week, as an experiment, I’d like to see if we can start some more discussion. So here is a basic question that is related to the work that many of us are involved in: Does new media training help or hurt indigenous knowledge?

One of the criticisms we hear most often at Rising Voices is that helping under-represented communities join the online global conversation will inevitably lead to their westernization. I put that question to Álvaro Ramírez and Diego Gomez of the HiperBarrio project in Colombia, and I found their responses to be very interesting.

http://rising.globalvoicesonline.org/blog/2009/09/24/video-does-new-media-outreach-lead-to-westernization/

Over at Global Voices John Liebhardt has collected opinions from bloggers from Ethiopia, Ghana, Australia, and the USA about the same question:

http://globalvoicesonline.org/2009/10/05/icts-and-the-spread-of-indigenous-knowledge/

So, what do you think? Does new media development help or hurt indigenous knowledge?

September 22nd, 2009 by David Sasaki

Dear All,

When Rising Voices first began over two years ago we wanted to do more than just diversify the conversation that was taking place online – we also wanted to help bring new voices to major international conferences that for too long had been dominated by North American and Western European faces. When participants from other parts of the world were invited to these conferences, it was often to sit and listen rather than take an active part. Fortunately our initial funding from the Knight Foundation included a small amount of money to help cover the travel and visa costs that so frequently inhibit global participation.

With that money we were able to help bring Juliana Rincón from HiperBarrio to Pop!Tech in 2007 and Cristina Quisbert from Voces Bolivianas to We Media in 2008. (Both Juliana and Cristina have become frequent speakers at conferences ever since.) The support from the Knight Foundation also helped us bring Collins Oduduour, Catalina Restrepo, Cristina Quisbert, and Mialy Andriamananjara to the 2008 Global Voices Summit in Budapest. Pati Rakotomalala and Rahool Goswami represented Foko Madagascar and Neighbourhood Diaries respectively at Interdependence Day in Brussels.

Our funding from the Knight Foundation has since run out, but participants and trainers from Rising Voices grantee projects are still invited to come speak at major international conferences because they have proven themselves as experts in particular fields. This past week a number of long time Rising Voices members have spoken at major events.

Rising Voices at Ars Electronica and Highway Africa

Eduardo Ávila from Voces Bolivianas and Nadine Tchaptchet-Kouamouo from Abidjan Blog Camps each spoke at the Highway Africa conference in Grahamstown, South Africa. On the same day Pablo Flores from Blogging Since Infancy and Álvaro Ramírez from HiperBarrio spoke at Ars Electronica, a major digital arts festival in Austria.

Foko Bloggers Represent Madagascar at World Summits

Jaona and Stéphane from Foko Madagascar were each invited to represent their country at major international conferences on development, poverty, and the environment.

Opportunities

As always there are lots of new opportunities for citizen media activists and enthusiasts on the Rising Voices Delicious page, but none larger than the annual Knight News Challenge. In fact, Rising Voices got its start in 2007 thanks to a Knight News Challenge grant. Last year they gave away around $2 million to support innovative projects aiming to fill the gap in community journalism. Past grantees include Freedom Fone from Zimbabwe, Sochi Olympics Project from Russia, Video Volunteers from India, Ushahidi from Kenya, and many others.

Deadline: October 15

All the best,

David

August 12th, 2009 by David Sasaki

Dear All,

After a bit of a hiatus, the Rising Voices newsletter is back with weekly links to funding opportunities for citizen media projects, inspiring case studies, and resources for anyone interested in facilitating workshops to train participants how to take advantage of citizen media to improve the state of their local community.

Rising Voices Grantee Projects

Let’s begin with a quick review of what some of the Rising Voices grantee projects have been up to over the past couple months. In Yemen women activists continue to learn new media skills to spread awareness about their projects and opinons. See photos from their latest workshop and, for Arabic readers, a list of links to all their blogs. Participants from the AIDS Rights Congo project have published testimonials about the discrimination toward HIV-positive individuals there, especially women. Voces Bolivianas has expanded to include a group of Bolivian immigrants in the United States. Foko Madagascar (featured today on the BBC) held a workshop about “crowdsourcing information during crises.”

Also, two leaders of Rising Voices projects have earned recent recognition for their work over the past two years. Catalina Restrepo was awarded the “Mujeres Talento” award in Medellín and Cristina Quisbert was awarded an “International Activist Scholarship” to attend this year’s BlogHer Conference in Chicago.

Indigenous Media

Speaking of Cristina, she has just published a history of the treatment of indigenous communities in Bolivia from the Spanish conquest up to 2009. In both English and Spanish Cristina has long been spreading awareness about the discrimination against indigenous peoples and advocating for fair policy on her blogs. She is not alone – other indigenous groups are also using new media to spread awareness about issues affecting their livelihoods. Witness’ The Hub, a site dedicated to curating videos related to human rights, has begun an “Indigenous Media” channel to spotlight indigenous citizen media. Of special note is a two-part video titled “I am a Defender of the Rainforest” which was filmed, edited, and directed by members of the Sarayaku community in southern Ecuador as they organized to protest the encroachment of the Argentinian oil company CGC (Compañia General de Combustibles). Part one and part two (both with English subtitles) are available on YouTube.

Grants, Competitions, Opportunities

Arab bloggers invited to participate in competition

Deadline: August 15. Citizen journalists across the Arab world are invited to participate in a competition seeking the best Arabic blog. The competition is being run by the Cairo-based Arab Union of Young Journalists, under the premise that blogging is incredibly important, especially in the age of new media. Winners will receive certificates, cash prizes and more.

Conflict resolution, prevention, and transformation: Search for Common Ground

Deadline August 21, 2009. Search for Common Ground is launching a photo slideshow contest in partnership with Animoto to create slideshows that show people dealing with conflict in non-violent ways. Content must be original or Creative Commons-licensed. First place winner receives a Flip Video camera.

UNICEF – Voices of Youth

Deadline: August 30. “Youth journalists — under 25 years of age — can submit a one-minute video related to children’s rights, either by illustrating a right or referencing children’s rights as a whole. A total of 10 videos will be selected and featured on UNICEF- Voices of Youth, a site dedicated to empowering youth worldwide. One video will be named the winner on November 20 at the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and it will be distributed to TV channels around the world.”

CGAP Microfinance Photography Contest

Deadline: September 14. “Tell the story about the impact of microfinance through photography and have a chance at winning a grand prize of either a Microfinance Training Scholarship to the Boulder Program in Turin, Italy, or another development training opportunity agreed with CGAP up to a maximum value of $5000 or a $2000 gift certificate for photography equipment and accessories and a winner’s certificate.”

Venezuelan Citizen Journalism Contest

Deadline: October 9. Ojo Ciudadano, a citizen journalism site in Venezuela, is hosting a citizen journalism contest sponsored by Andres Bello Catholic University. Categories are audio, audiovisual, blog, and investigative. Prizes include “professional equipment and diplomas.” (In Spanish)

Barcamps, Conferences, Events

Aug. 14 – 16: Maker Faire Africa: Accra, Ghana

The first “maker” event in Africa. Aimed at encouraging innovation, invention, and entrepreneurship.

Sept. 5 – 6: Digital Citizen Indaba 4.0: South Africa

The fourth-annual Digital Citizen Indaba as part of the Highway Africa journalism conference in Grahamstown, South Africa. Speakers include Elia Varela Serra, Eduardo Ávila, and Ndesanjo Macha from Global Voices.

You can always find more events related to citizen media events worldwide on the Global Voices calendar.

*********

That’s it for this week. Next week get ready for a long-awaited announcement from the Blogging Positively project.

Best,

David

[Newsletter] News Challenge Winners

June 17th, 2009 by David Sasaki

Dear All,

Greetings from this year’s Future of News and Civic Media Conference in Boston. The Knight Foundation has just announced this year’s winners of their annual News Challenge grant competition. Rising Voices got started as a News Challenge grantee back in 2007, and in 2008 several other grantee projects were funded that also aim to make participatory media more accessible to under-represented communities. They include Community Radio in India, Video Volunteers, Signcasts, Freedom Fone, and The News is Coming. This year, with the global economy suffering, the Knight Foundation scaled back its funding considerably, but a couple of this year’s winning projects will be of interest to the Rising Voices community.

MobileActive: Mobile Media Toolkit

MobileActive.org has long been one of the leading resources on the internet for activists, citizen journalists, and NGO’s wanting to take advantage of cell phone technologies in their work. Unlike the internet – where you can build tools that work on every computer – building tools and applications for cell phones depends on the model of the phone, the phone’s operating system, and the service provider. “The Mobile Media Toolkit will offer media production tool sets for download and use on a variety of phones across regions of the world. The toolkit will include applications for video and audio recording, a distribution tool for mobile content to social media sites and detailed how-to information that outlines what users can do with the phones they have.”

In the meantime I highly recommend MobileActive’s guide “A Mobile Voice: The Use of Mobile Phones in Citizen Media.” Juliana Rotich and I also gave a presentation at last year’s MobileActive conference in South Africa about Mobile Citizen Media.

Ushahidi: Crowdsourcing Crisis Information

Ushahidi is a free and open source project with developers hailing from Kenya, Ghana, South Africa, Malawi, Netherlands and the USA who all collaborate to improve the credibility and visualization of citizen reporting during times of crisis. With the recent events in Iran, it is clear that we need better tools and systems to confirm when information coming from Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and SMS is accurate and where it is coming from. Ushahidi is building tools, processes, and communities to do exactly that. I highly recommend following Ushahidi’s blog and exploring their website.

You can take a look at all of this year’s winners here.

All the best,

David

June 5th, 2009 by David Sasaki

Dear All,

For this week’s newsletter let’s catch up on the very latest from Rising Voices grantee projects and imagine a world where their cutting edge use of new media is replicated by larger segments of society.

Abidjan Blog Camps: Bringing Ivorians To Blogosphere

The West African blogosphere is still a nascent community. In Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone, Togo, Liberia, and the Gambia it is difficult to find more than a handful of bloggers actively contributing to their country’s online conversation. In Abidjan, the capital of Ivory Coast, a community of citizen media enthusiasts has begun to take shape around the Ivoire Blog platform. They discuss local politics, technology, and how the Ivory Coast is portrayed abroad. They are also now organizing a series of workshops to bring more Ivorians into their midst. A similar event took recently in Nigeria, but imagine if this movement spread throughout all of the region.

Drop-In Center: Addressing the Health Needs of Drug Users

No matter how you define it and no matter how far back in history you go, drug addiction has always been a part of each and every society, even if the users are kept off the streets and out of site. But their lives go on, and their needs – shelter, healthcare, support – often go unmet. What if we were able to hear directly from drug users themselves? What if we were able to engage them in conversation about how drug addiction can be mitigated, if not overcome? Pavel Kutsev, co-founder of the “Drop-In Center” which looks after injection drug users in Kyiv, is attempting to to just that by sharing stories from his organization and his life.

FOKO: Doing More For The Community

On the one hand Disney movies have taught us that hakuna matata means “no worries” in Swahili and that Madagascar has incredibly diverse wildlife. But these fictional cartoons can also trick us into thinking that we know something about the countries where they are supposedly based. Fortunately, a group of Malagasy bloggers writing in English, French, and Malagasy offer a truer portrait of the island nation where they live, its culture, problems, and hopes for the future.

EWAMT-Yemen: First Workshop On Blogging Completed

I am embarrassed, but I must admit that until very recently I was not even able to point out Yemen on a map. And the little I knew about the country came from the small tid-bits of information I found on Global Voices. I did not realize, for example, that there is a lively community of women activists advocating for increased women’s rights. After all, the female half of Yemen’s population rarely has equal access to traditional media. This is why Ghaida’a Al Absi, in partnership with the Hand in Hand Initiative, is training women activists how to publish their own content online.

Nomad Green: The First Workshops

The global environmental movement has long been dominated by jet-setting celebrities like Al Gore, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Natalie Portman. But within every single country is a dedicated community of environmental activists working hard to spread awareness about local issues and advocate for more responsible environmental regulation. We rarely hear from these activists because they don’t have the same access to media, funding, or institutions as their celebrity representatives. Taiwanese blogger and Rising Voices grantee Portnoy Zheng recently visited the Press Institute of Mongolia in Ulan Bator to train Mongolian environmental activists how to spread awareness about threats to their country’s environment and how to advocate for change.

Public Fund “Mental Health”: First Steps to Blogging

One of the wonderful aspects of online identity is that we are not judged by the same mere physical characteristics that so often lead to unfair stereotyping in our offline lives. Race, gender, sexual preference, physical appearance: these aspects only become known when we choose to make them known. Otherwise, a blogger is a human being sharing stories and thoughts, nothing more, nothing less. In Almaty, Kazakhstan, where the government recently blocked access to the popular blogging platform LiveJournal, a local NGO called “Mental Health” is training mental health users how to take part in this global community of human beings sharing their stories and thoughts.

Making Uruguay’s 300,000 Laptops Count – Part I

Most Rising Voices grantee projects have had profound impacts on relatively small communities. The “Blogging Since Infancy” project in Uruguay, however, has the potential to re-shape the entire country’s educational paradigm. Two years ago the Uruguayan government invested a great deal of money to purchase a laptop computer for every single primary school student. Today those laptops have finally been distributed throughout the country, and teachers are learning how to incorporate them in the classroom. Pablo Flores, a professor of engineering at Montevideo’s University of the Republic, is ensuring that the laptops are used not just to consume information and content created elsewhere, but also to create local content in Uruguay and share it with the rest of the world. Imagine if every primary school in every community worldwide were given the same opportunity. Just think how the shape of the internet would change.


Finally, we would like to congratulate two of our most veteran and successful grantee projects for the much-deserved recognition they recently received.

Cristina Quisbert of Voces Bolivianas was one of five bloggers worldwide who won a BlogHer International Activist Scholarship. She will head to Chicago for the annual BlogHer conference on July 24-25, 2009. Voces Bolivianas was also given honorable mention in the recent Prix Ars Electronica in the digital communities category.

And big congratulations to HiperBarrio in Medellín, Colombia who won this year’s prestigious Prix Ars Electronica award in the Digital Communities category, and with it a 10,000 euro prize. Rezwan has summarized the reactions of members of HiperBarrio and describes what they will do with the prize money.

That is all for this week. Don’t forget to check the Rising Voices website for new photos, videos, and links to funding opportunities for citizen media projects.

Best,

David

Tutorials, Tips, and Guides

May 16th, 2009 by David Sasaki

Today’s newsletter has been a long time coming. I wish you all a wonderful weekend from the chilly beginnings of autumn here in Argentina.

Last week I had an enthusiastic conference call with Eduardo Ávila of the Voces Bolivianas project and Sahar Romani of the Neighborhood Diaries project about their development of a training curriculum for anyone who wants to organize a series of workshops to teach a group with limited computer experience how to use citizen media tools like blogs, digital photographs, and online video in order to share local stories from their community with a global audience.

This is a project that we have been working on for nearly two years since we first published an “Introduction to Global Citizen Media” in English, Spanish, Bengali, and French. We planned on following up that introductory guide with subsequent guides describing how to set up blogs, produce podcasts, and record, edit, and publish short videos. However, we soon realized that many other groups were already dedicating much more time than we ever could to produce and maintain these guides. Therefore, rather than focusing on the technical details, we will present you with links to what we believe are the best current tutorials available for every tool a citizen media project might want to take advantage of. And we will add context to those links by suggesting workshop activities to teach the tools in fun and meaningful ways.

This will all be ready and made available sometime in the next month. For the time being, let me point you to some valuable resources with great tutorials for anyone wanting to put together a citizen media training project. As you will see, many of these tutorials are specifically geared toward activists, but they are also helpful for community media projects. Tactical Tech are happy to send copies of any or all of these toolkits and guides to human rights advocates working in marginalised communities. For general enquires email: toolkits@tacticaltech.org

Tactical Technology Collective:

is an international NGO that provide human rights advocates with guides, tools, training and consultancy to help them develop the skills and tactics they need to increase the impact of their campaigning.

The following guides and toolkits are available online, as downloadable files or they can be posted to not-for-profits in a book/CD format, free of charge.

Mobiles in-a-box, designed to support campaigners to use mobile telephony in their work.

Message in-a-box, a set of strategic guides and tools to create media and communicate for social change.

Security in-a-box, created to meet the digital security and privacy needs of advocates and human rights defenders.

Maps for Advocacy, an effective guide to using maps in advocacy campaigns.

Visualising Information for Advocacy, a manual aimed at helping NGOs and advocates strengthen their campaigns and projects through visual communication.

Quick ‘n’ Easy Guide to Online Advocacy, aims to expose advocates to online services that are quick to use and easy to understand.

DigiActive:

is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to helping grassroots activists around the world use the Internet and mobile phones to increase their impact. Their goal is a world of activists made more powerful and more effective through the use of digital technology.

The DigiActive Guide to Twitter for Activism – “Following the recent protests in Moldova, the value of Twitter as a tool for digital activism is more prominent than ever. Yet in addition to bringing greater awareness to that tool, the hype surrounding Moldova revealed misunderstanding of the value of of Twitter for activism and, even though the realists responded strongly, there was not a stand-alone resource which clearly defined how Twitter could be used by activists. We hope this guide will fill that void.”

Guide: Introduction to Facebook Activism – “It’s a quick introduction on how to use Facebook in your activism campaign and includes real-life examples of Facebook activism campaigns from Egypt, Burma, and Morocco.”

Women’s Net:

is a South African based non-governmental organisation that works to advance gender equality. Their work focuses on the intersection between gender and information and communication technologies (ICTs).

Citizen Journalism Training Manual (PDF) – This is a training manual for Women’s Net’s citizen journalism project which aims to “enable South and Southern African women and girls and women’s organisations to use cyberspace as a tool for information and mobilisation towards advancing women’s equality, and to demystify information and communication technologies (ICTs) and make these accessible to all women and girls, particularly those who have been historically disadvantaged in terms of their access to such technologies.

J-Learning

is your how-to guide for hyper-local community media.

Quick Overview: WordPress and Blogger – “WordPress and Blogger are two of the most popular blogging platforms because they’re free and fairly versatile. Visit this quick overview for information on how to get started.”

Using Twitter for Promotion and Community – Twitter, the leading service for microblogging, was quickly adopted by dozens – then hundreds – of news outlets in 2008 and 2009. Learn to use it to drive traffic to your Web site.

Knight Citizen News Network

is a self-help portal that guides both ordinary citizens and traditional journalists in launching and responsibly operating community news and information sites.

Make Internet TV – Make Internet TV is an easy to read multimedia manual for publishing internet video. It has step-by-step instructions for everything from choosing a camera to publishing and promoting videos on the internet.

Interviewing: A practical guide for citizen journalists – Interviews are integral to good journalism. They provide more than just additional voices; they provide facts, expertise, balance, depth and credibility. They also breathe life into information that might otherwise fall flat. Whether you already interview or are daunted by the prospect, learn what types of interviews you should go for and how they can improve your journalism. Figure out where to quote or paraphrase.

Tools for Citizen Journalists – This six-chapter training module will help site operators and citizen journalists cope with the challenges of covering communities on small budgets with little or no staff. Get tips on where to sniff out great ideas and turn them into a compelling story, how to use data to punch up your coverage, how to manage a site when you don’t have a staff to help out, who to consider for partnerships that might help move your site along, and how to tap into the knowledge and passion of your readers.

FreeVlog

is a training site for new video bloggers and a support site for those with questions.

Learn To Videoblog – We’ve broken things up into three courses: Telling Stories; Making Videos; and Publishing Videos On The Web. Just pick a course and select a tutorial. When you’re watching a tutorial, the other tutorials in that course will be displayed on the right side of the page so you can easily go on to the next step without coming back here. Below each tutorial video you’ll see a link to a forum topic where you can go to get your questions answered.

FLOSS Manuals

is a collection of manuals that explain how to install and use a range of free and open source software. The manuals are friendly and simple, and they are intended to encourage people to explore the wide range of free, open source alternatives to expensive and restrictively licensed software. At FLOSS Manuals you can find manuals for free and open source software like office applications, as well as web editing and browsing, and tools for playing, making, streaming and sharing audio and video.

Audacity – Audacity is the kind of software called an ‘audio editor’. That means that it can record and edit audio. Typically you might use Audacity for recording sounds, like interviews or instruments. You can then use Audacity to combine these sounds and edit them to make documentaries, music, podcasts etc.

WordPress – WordPress is a blogging tool. A blog (web-log) is an online journal, diary or commentary, presented as a website. Generally, one or more contributors (bloggers) add new content to the top of the website on a semi-regular basis.

Kino – Kino is a free, open source video editing program that lets you capture video through firewire then add titles, transitions and video effects to the footage. It operates on Linux and is not available for Windows or MacOSX.

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That should keep all training projects busy for now. In the next month or so Sahar and Eduardo will be bringing you lots of tips and suggestions for how you to teach these tools in fun, interactive workshop settings.

Don’t forget to check in on the Rising Voices site for the latest updates from projects, links to funding opportunities, and some great new videos.

Best,

David

[Newsletter] World Press Freedom Day, Human Rights & Tech

May 3rd, 2009 by David Sasaki

Dear All,

The majority of us on this mailing list are able to express our opinions and report our observations online without any fear of censorship, intimidation, or detention. That is not true everywhere, however. Today, on international World Press Freedom Day, let us remember that censorship is another force which prevents voices from making themselves heard.

The Committee to Protect Journalists has released a special report on the 10 Worst Countries to be a Blogger. Freedom House published “Freedom on the Net: A Global Assessment of Internet and Digital Media.” And World Association of Newspapers has launched WorldPressFreedomDay.org as a clearing house of related information.

It is important to remember that the fight against censorship doesn’t just take place once a year on May 3. A community of anti-censorship activists at Global Voices Advocacy document the latest developments related to censorship, create guides to protect anonymity and enable circumvention, and advocate for free speech every day.

Live Streaming of Human Rights and Technology Conference

Online censorship frequently takes place when netizens attempt to discuss issues related to human rights. This is one of the reasons that human rights organizations in Europe and North America have historically spoken on behalf of communities affected by human rights abuses. The downside of this strategy, however, has been that communities around the world have been depicted in both traditional and new media by employees of human rights organizations rather than actual residents of the community.

New technologies are creating a new model of advocating for human rights. On Tuesday afternoon at the Soul of the New Machine conference I will present case studies of Ceasefire Liberia, Drop-In Center, HiperBarrio, and El Nula Por La Paz as examples of capacity-building programs that empower communities affected by human rights abuses to document their own stories rather than the old model of advocacy campaigns which speak on behalf of communities.

Other speakers will examine the roles of mapping, photography, data collection, animation, corporations, video, and social networks as they all relate to human rights documentation and advocacy. Remote viewing hubs have been set up in New York City, Bogotá, and Medellín. Rising Voices grantee Lova Rakotomalala will speak at the New York City gathering about Foko Madagascar, and its experience using technology to protect human rights in Madagascar.

Fora.tv will broadcast the entire conference live and for free on Monday and Tuesday.

Finally, speaking of Lova, he has started a campaign calling for the release of Razily who was detained in front of a large audience (and while videotaped) as he carried a Malagasy flag through the street. Learn more on the blogs of Lova and Ethan Zuckerman, and please consider signing a petition calling for Razily’s release here.

Upcoming Workshops

Upcoming citizen journalism workshops will take place in Moscow on May 21 and 22 and in Bangalore on May 9.

All the best,

David

A Weekend for New Voices

April 20th, 2009 by David Sasaki

Dear All,

It is a great weekend to take a break from the same old headlines and listen to some new voices that are rarely featured in mainstream media. Here are some of the most recent updates from Rising Voices grantee projects:

Giving a Voice To The Women Activists In Yemen

The new Rising Voices grantee from Yemen “Empowerment of Women Activists in Media Techniques” will organize new media training courses for female politicians, activists, and human right workers. The trainings will give the targeted community the ability to use Internet in order to publish their point of views, documenting their activities and will give them the space to voice their opinions about issues they are fighting for. Learn more about the leader of the project Ghaida’a Al Absi, her work and her goals.

Kazakhstan: Pilot Substitution Therapy Projects Launched

Ukrainian HIV/AIDS public awareness Web site “ZAPYTAY,” which was developed and is maintained by Rising Voices grantee Drop-In Center, has published an article about a pilot harm reduction project in Kazakhstan. The Kazakh Internet community has mixed feelings about implementing such substitution therapy programs in their country.

REPACTED: Budding Bloggers In Training

Faith Muriuki got her first brush with blogging thanks to a recent training session hosted by REPACTED. Here she shares her insights on the session, its challenges and successes.

Voces Bolivianas: Augmenting Digital Literacy In Bolivia

The Rising Voices grantee Voces Bolivianas has been featured in the Canal Solidario-One World media project recently. In this feature we have Voces Bolivianas bloggers discussing how Bolivians are dealing with the new Web 2.0 learning, portraying their indigenous culture, national days, rock scene and many more.

And don’t forget to check our Rising Voices’ Bookmarks Page for links to funding opportunities, award competitions, and training resources.

Have a great weekend,

David