GVO Summit, Day 2, Session 1

Today started with an introduction to Rising Voices, the outreach arm of Global Voices. A quick overview:

Session 1: Web 2.0 Goes Worldwide

The participatory web has, so far, been limited to the participation of select communities. Thanks to the steady proliferation of broadband connectivity and digital literacy campaigns throughout the developing world, however, some of the most exciting uses of online tools are now taking place in locations where, merely a decade ago, internet access was rare, if available at all. This panel will gather leaders of cutting-edge Web 2.0 initiatives from Colombia, Kenya, Bolivia, and Madagascar who seek to make the global conversation more representative of the global population.

Moderator: Lova Rakotomalala

Catalina Restrepo, HiperBarrio, Colombia

work through libraries to do new media training

project has united community, helped people make friends and write about their experiences

freedom to say what you want to say — makes people happier, ability to speak out is directly related to happiness

violence has gone down, area now considered a beautiful, peaceful place

project facilitates integration of neighborhoods in MedellĂ­n — not bordering neighborhoods but very similar, have a lot in common

Collins Dennis Oduor, REPACTED, Kenya

“community theatre” instead of “street theatre” — “we don’t have streets there”

REPACTED uses magnet theatre — doesn’t perform, but trains students to tackle own issues through theatre

open mic rapping — improv, pick topics from basket

work in schools, prisons, etc.

Rising Voices allowed REPACTED to form group for HIV+ youth in prison, working with IDPs

Cristina Quisbert, Voces Bolivianas, Bolivia

Bloguivianos 2007 — Bolivian blogger meeting

multiple blog workshops

writing about indigenous ppl in Spanish, now also in English — enables her to share indigenous culture with English-speaking world

few ppl blogging about indigenous topics, few indigenous ppl blogging at all (even fewer women)

she writes about music, uploads videos

“sad moments”: technical difficulties (old equipment, slow internet, etc.); insulting e-mails/comments; some ppl think she is a man

Mialy Andriamananjara, FOKO, Madagascar

founded by 4 bloggers after TED Africa 2007

challenges: few bloggers, expensive internet, electricity issues, blogging gets bad PR — considered frivolous, something for teenagers/for ppl who want to stand out/want attention

emphasis on community in Madagascar

young, poor, sick not respected

skepticism: ppl didn’t understand why you’d blog instead of feeding the poor

networked w/UN youth club, journalism school, peace corps volunteer

slow internet — hard to upload vid/pics

150 blogs opened in 10 months, blog clubs in 3 major cities, alliance w/Ministry of Education for more digital literacy projects (but lack funding), publish some posts in English-language papers — these bloggers get stipend

have “converted” some journalists to blogging

female bloggers coordinated reading of Vagina Monologues

one blogger mobilized help for boy born with physical deformity, coordinated medical assistance

learned to encourage bloggers, respect different learning curves

competition not always good, esp. in community-oriented society like Madagascar

comments are important

have “buddy system” — pair in-country blogger with one in diaspora

future goals: set up new media center, web design workshops, help artisans get online, focus on women

Questions

what do you need? how can ppl help? how do you sustain projects and train so many ppl on such a small budget?

— REPACTED needs help training ppl in web design, computer literacy; they have camera and are using it to tape weddings/birthdays to make $$

how can other ppl from other parts of the world help amplify the voices of indigenous Bolivians?

— blogs are a solution, comments and visits help sustain bloggers

how does training work? how do you counter suspicions, address stigma surrounding blogs?

— rely on networking, friends teaching friends, a lot of support from diaspora