Please don't forget, proposals for the current round of micro-grants are due on June 1. If you submit your application earlier rather than just a few days before the deadline, we will be able to spend more time reading it and researching your ideas.
In this week's newsletter I am going to highlight a few citizen media projects related to public health, both grassroots and institutional.
- Physicians for Human Rights is using social networking platforms like Facebook, Flickr, and YouTube to improve their advocacy efforts around campaigns related to AIDS, torture survival, and youth health. They also offer a wide assortment of RSS feeds and have launched a student blog to encourage university students to become more involved in issues related to global health and human rights. (They are also currently hiring a web producer to strengthen their online advocacy efforts.)
- The Nata Village Blog is a completely grassroots effort in rural Botswana started by a traveling blogger, a peace corps volunteer, and Martha Ramaditse and Selomo Tiro, two Nata residents. They were soon picked up by Global Voices, the World Bank, Jason Kottke, and eventually won the Peace Corps ICT contest. By creating a strong web presence they have been able to attract an incredible amount of donations from all over the world and the attention of local and international politicians.
- Blog.AIDS.gov is an effort by the US government to highlight projects and opportunities present in new media to fight against HIV/AIDS. It highlights, for example, video games about HIV prevention, the importance of accessibility when it comes to web pages about HIV/AIDS, and health-focused social networking sites.
- The International Carnival of Pozitivities is another grassroots project, organized by Ron Hudson who is HIV-positive and based in the North Carolina. Each month a different blogger picks a theme and links to featured posts about that theme by fellow HIV-positive bloggers. The latest two round-ups have are particularly international. They include posts about topics like Diet For Healthy Teeth And Gums, Peace Corps To Pozzers: Get Out, and what it's like to be HIV-positive in Peru.
- CRIB (Chasing rainbows is our business), was designed by a group of young people living with HIV and AIDS in London. It includes stories and testimonials, online chat (so far, seldom used), and videos. Its purpose is to create an online space for HIV-positive young people who are not able to join physical support groups.
- Aftercare is a cell phone application and communication platform for therapeutic counsellors to more efficiently liaise with HIV+ patients by collecting data from the patient about symptoms and drug adherence.
- Lots of other interesting applications of cell phones within a public health and human rights-related context are available on MobileActive here and here.
As you can see, there are already lots of innovative ideas about how online media can be used to advocate for better health and empower those who live with diseases that often isolate them from their societies. But, so far, few of them come from the developing world. Our hope is that on June 28 we will announce five more health-related projects that are even more impressive and innovative than those listed above.
Have a great weekend everyone!