Next Round of Microgrant Funding and Donating to Global Voices

Dear All,

Please consider this week's newsletter a pre-announcement to next Tuesday's official public announcement of our next round of funding. Five microgrants of up to $5,000 will be made available to individuals and organizations from under-represented communities who want to use new media tools to join in the online global conversation. Unlike our previous round of funding, which was specifically focused on health-related projects, this round of grants applies to all projects that use new media to empower under-represented communities. We will begin accepting applications (both via email and on the wiki) on Tuesday, December 23. The deadline will be Sunday, January 18.

We have found that these grants are often used most effectively when existing organizations and social groups use the money specifically to develop a new communication strategy using participatory media tools like blogs, podcasts, and online video. For example, a dedicated librarian in rural Malaysia might apply for a grant to purchase digital video cameras for her users to record videos about their community and upload them to their blogs.

Grantees are expected to host regular workshops to train participants how to start and maintain a weblog, upload and share digital photographs, and produce basic videos. Grantees are also required to post regular project evaluations and updates to the Rising Voices website.

In fact, there is no better way to think of great project idea than reading through the latest updates from our current grantee projects:

FOKO: Growing Strong As A Connected Community

With the help of FOKO bloggers many participants at the ‘Madagascar barcamp’ and the ‘E-Bit youth day ICT event’ learned about digital literacy and citizen media. FOKO bloggers are now taking charge of the outreach activities with a inspired community feeling and FOKO is soon spreading to more parts of Madagascar.

Online Filmmakers Offer New Glimpses of Iran

Despite several unforeseen hurdles, Iran Inside Out has launched an impressive website and published two videos by Iranian filmmakers showing Tehran’s underground heavy metal scene and reflecting on the prospects of peace for the country’s youngest generation.

A Campaign for Suso

A project nine months in the making, the bloggers from HiperBarrio are organizing a festive event this Saturday to raise funds in order to finish their all-volunteer construction of a new house for Manuel Salvador, formerly known as “Suso Mugre”.

Serbian Web Journalism School: Creating Future Trends in Journalism

Ljubisa Bojic and the Serbian Journalist Association are providing training to experienced and novice journalists in New Media and Social Web in an web journalism school in Belgrade, Serbia. The idea is that these journalists will learn to use new technologies like blog, photo and video blogging, podcasts etc. and apply them in their everyday work creating future trends in Serbian journalism. Rising Voices has provided micro-grant to support the outreach work from the second round of workshops.

We had planned on publicly announcing the next round of funding this week, but it has already been a very busy week on Global Voices as we've begun our first annual donation drive. Global Voices needs your financial support in order to remain independent, free and sustainable. Please consider giving a donation to declare your commitment to helping amplify stories, images and videos from ordinary people around the global who use the internet to communicate with their fellow world citizens!

Keep the world talking—donate to Global Voices!

Have a great weekend!



Newsletter: Transcript and Summary from AIDS Chat

Hi All,

Thanks to those of you who participated in last week's live chat to commemorate World AIDS Day and to think deeply about how citizen media can be used most effectively to supplement mainstream media's coverage of AIDS and to empower HIV-positive individuals. You can download an edited version of the transcript from the Google Group page.

Key Points

Collins from the REPACTED project in Nakuru, which uses street theater to spread awareness about reproductive health, said that “blogging has contributed to the information sharing with the rest of the world and offering a free media for the community to tell their stories without going to the mainstream media which is very expensive for a common person.” But Solana, Global Voices’ Managing Editor, pointed out that she was able to find few HIV-positive bloggers in Sub-Saharan Africa when putting together GV's global map of positive bloggers. Some argued that this is because HIV status is so stigmatized and taboo throughout most of the world, but others say the real problem is a lack of training and outreach programs to individuals living with AIDS.

There were also mixed feelings about whether HIV-related citizen media projects should edit the posts of their participants in order to verify the factual information related to AIDS or if it should be up to the bloggers themselves and their readers to make up for their own mind what is trustworthy information. Eric felt, for example, that if “someone is posting on their blog they contracted HIV via touch, and then this information is read publicly via the blog, we have the duty as professionals to step in and clear up the incorrect information.” Others felt, however, that editing blog posts is against the open spirit of the web and that concerned readers should leave comments pointing out what they believe is misinformation. A consensus emerged that factual information should be monitored and edited, but that opinions should never be edited or discouraged.


Once again it was agreed upon by all involved in the chat that the Blogging Positively group should continue their work on a guide which explains some case studies and some issues around blogging publicly as an HIV-positive individual. Solana pointed out that it's crucial to involve HIV-positive bloggers in the process and learn from their experiences and ideas. Samuel Senfuka added that citizen media is much more than just blogging, and that tools like Twitter, Facebook, forums, and online photo- and video-sharing sites should also be considered and included in the guide. Patrick Karanja felt that one of the main objectives of the Blogging Positively project should be to spread more awareness that one can live long and healthy after being diagnosed with HIV. “Most of the information around is on prevention (which is very important)” he wrote, “but alone does little to eradicate stigma.” Lastly, several participants echoed that sections on anonymity and using SMS are important components.

Daudi suggested that a follow-up chat be scheduled for Monday February 9. We will confirm the date sometime over the next month.

Next Steps

  • If you are interested in participating in the creation and editing of the Blogging Positively guide to encourage HIV-positive individuals to start blogging, please sign up for our Blogging Positively mailing list.
  • If you know of any HIV positive bloggers who are not listed on our Google Map mashup, please email with their blog address and location.
  • Please mark your calendar for February 9th if you would like to participate in the follow-up chat. At that time we hope to have more progress on the AIDS-related Rising Voices projects and to have at least a draft of the Blogging Positively guide.
  • Please keep your eyes on the Rising Voices website to stay informed about how groups are using citizen media to promote dialogue about HIV and AIDS.
  • Finally, please write a post on your own blog about this conversation and about how citizen media can be used to help tackle one of the greatest challenges of our generation.

Thanks all! This coming Friday the newsletter will return to its original format with an exciting announcement about about our next round of microgrant funding. 🙂

Take good care,