Please join us for a live chat on December 3rd about AIDS and citizen media

Dear all,

In commemoration of World AIDS Day Rising Voices will be hosting a live chat on Wednesday, December 3rd at the 3 p.m. Nairobi time:

7am (New York, EST)
10am (Buenos Aires)
12pm (London, GMT)
2 pm (Cape Town, Beirut)
3pm (Nairobi, Moscow)
5.30pm (New Delhi)
8pm (Beijing, Manila)
9pm (Tokyo)
11pm (Sydney)

The chat will be facilitated by Serina Kalande and Daudi Were and the discussion will build on a similar chat that Serina and Daudi organized back in April of this year which asked the following question: “how can citizen media be used to supplement and improve the mainstream media's coverage of the AIDS epidemic?

This chat will start out focusing on two Rising Voices grantee projects, REPACTED in Nakuru, Kenya and AIDS Rights Congo based in Brazzaville. We will learn how both organizations have implemented blogging and video outreach programs to spread awareness about their initiatives in AIDS prevention and advocating for the rights of HIV-positive individuals.

Other discussion topics include: What are the factors to weigh when HIV-positive bloggers go public about their status? How can blogging support networks form online? What about online forums? What are other new media tools, such as mapping mashups, that can be used effectively?

If there are other topics that you would like to discuss during the chat, please respond with your ideas. I hope that as many of you as possible can make it.

As a primer to the conversation I encourage you all to take a look at a recent post written by Juliana Rincón on Global Voices about AIDS awareness through video. Especially fascinating is a video podcast produced by QAFBeijing, which interviews South African grand justice Edwin Cameron, the country's only government official who has gone public about his HIV status.

I will be sending out a reminder email on Tuesday with a link to a video of a fascinating conversation had on Friday by members of the Breaking the Silence in Kwa Mashu project about the fear of discussing HIV status in their community.

All the best,


Citizen Media and World AIDS Day

Dear All,

World AIDS Day is just about 10 days away. I have mixed feelings about the day. On the one hand, it can help create the illusion that we only need to think about AIDS one day out of the year and then somehow everything will get better. On the other hand, December 1st can be an attention-grabbing starting point for sustained campaigns that advocate for the rights of HIV-positive individuals, like the AIDS Rights Congo project is doing; spread preventive education with creativity, like the REPACTED project in Kenya does on a regular basis; and amplify the voices of marginalized communities, like the Drop-In Center in Ukraine.

Solana Larsen, the Managing Editor of Global Voices, the citizen media NGO of which Rising Voices is one project, is considering how Global Voices can best cover World AIDS Day and, furthermore, how citizen media can most effectively supplement the coverage of mainstream media in order to empower under-represented communities and strengthen the voices of AIDS-related NGO's and activists.

Those of you who have been on this mailing list for a while will recall that the same question led to an online chat which was organized by Daudi Were and Serina. At the end of that chat a working group came together with the goal of writing a guide titled “Blogging Positively: How to Blog About AIDS.” Unfortunately, the guide itself has yet to materialize. If anyone would like to lead the effort to write the guide, please do contact me off-list.

But, to return to the question at hand, how should Global Voices cover World AIDS Day? One suggestion was to make a Google Map mashup of HIV-positive bloggers around the world to draw more attention to their voices and help create a global sense of community. Our Public Health Editor, Juhie Bhatia, will be searching the blogosphere for the best and most innovative content about World AIDS Day and by HIV-positive bloggers. If you have any suggestions, please do let us know.

Newsletter: 11/10 – 11/14

In the Southern Hemisphere spring flowers are out in full effect and summer is near. Rising Voices citizen media outreach projects – old and new – are hard at work.

First, I am pleased to announce our newest grantee, the Serbian Web Journalism School:

Founded earlier this year in Belgrade by Serbian citizen media enthusiast and veteran blogger, Ljubisa Bojic, the Serbian Web Journalism School gathers local new media experts like Danica Radovanovic and Lidija Kujundzic to teach the fundamentals of citizen media to traditional journalists and everyday Serbians. The support from Rising Voices will allow the Serbian Web Journalism School to focus on “training the trainers.” The majority of participants in the program are journalists and professionals who want to gain new media skills, but as a Rising Voices grant recipient, Ljubisa and his team will now encourage their students to share their new skills with marginalized Serbian communities including the blind and orphaned youth.

In Bolivia the Voces Bolivianas bloggers engaged in some serious citizen journalism as they documented the tens of thousands of peasants, miners, coca-growers, and other supporters of the government of Evo Morales who gathered in La Paz last month.

We also recently heard from one of our newest health-focused citizen media projects in Kiev, Ukraine. In a post translated from Russian by Veronica Khokhlova, Rising Voices grantee Pavel Kutsev describes his experience educating Ukrainian police officers about the objectives and methods of harm reduction centers.

We have seen an increase in the amount of collaboration across Rising Voices projects. The Voces Bolivianas project, for example, has introduced the young women bloggers from Nari Jibon to its Aymara-speaking readers. Similarly, the Foko bloggers in Madagascar have introduced the “Blogging Since Infancy” project, which is training Uruguayan children how to blog from their XO laptops that were distributed throughout the country by the government. And newly trained bloggers from various projects based in Colombia, Kenya, and Bolivia weighed in on Barack Obama's victory in the recent US elections.

There is a lot more to look forward to in the coming week as our Health Editor, Juhie Bhatia, publishes a two-part introduction to the AIDS Rights Congo project based in and around Brazzaville. We will also see some of the first videos published by the Iran Inside Out project, which is teaching video-blogging to up-and-coming filmmakers based in Iran.

Don't forget to check out the website for recently published videos, project updates, photographs, and links to resources and funding opportunities for citizen media training projects, including USAID's Development 2.0 Challenge.

All the best and have a great weekend,