In less than a year and a half this little mailing list of ours has grown from less than 100 recipients to more than 500. As of two months ago I activated a feature which requires that new subscribers describe their interest in the list and their organizational involvement. It has been fascinating and inspiring to see just how diverse this list is both in terms of geography and the types of organizations which are represented. One thing that remains completely unknown to me, however, is the average age of subscribers. From a glance at the few individuals on the list that I know personally, I would haphazardly guess that the average age might be somewhere in the early to mid-30’s.
This, as it turns out, is also around the average age of most internet users worldwide. If any members of this list are over 65-years-old, please speak up and make yourselves heard. Most elders, unfortunately, have not yet benefited from the advantages and opportunities afforded by citizen media.
This past week, in commemoration of the upcoming United Nations Day for Older Persons (October 1) I helped facilitate a blog training workshop with employees of the Muthande Society, which looks after and advocates for the rights of thousands of elders in the Durban, South Africa area. You can read more about the training workshop on the Rising Voices blog.
Even now that elders in Durban, South Africa have successfully been taught how to blog, an important question remains. If elders are increasingly being ignored offline, who is to say that their voices will be heard online?
I don’t believe that there are any easy answers, but in an effort to honor the words and stories of the five Muthande Society employees who were taught to blog, I have added their blog addresses to our Rising Voices blog adoption spreadsheet. The idea of this spreadsheet is to encourage veteran bloggers to publicly commit to reading and mentoring new and upcoming bloggers from under-represented communities. It is a very easy way to help make an important difference.
In addition to the five new bloggers from the Muthande Society, there are also several bloggers from Madagascar and Bangladesh whose blogs are ‘up for adoption’.
Don’t forget, the deadline of this year’s Digital Media and Learning Competition is just two weeks away. Make sure to get those proposals in. Deadline: October 15.
This is the second year of the MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning Competition and this year they are accepting applications from Canada, People’s Republic of China, India, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The projects themselves can be based elsewhere, but primary applicants must be from the above-mentioned countries. The awards between $30,000-$250,000 support large-scale digital learning projects. There are also the Young Innovator Awards of $5,000 – $30,000 targeting 18-25 year olds.
That’s all for this week. There is lots of great new content on the Rising Voices site including the first Rising Voices blog carnival, a closer look at the Foko project in Madagascar (with video!), and an update from the REPACTED project in Kenya.
I hope everyone had a great weekend.