The 19 Sub-Saharan African citizen media outreach projects that were Rising Voices Microgrant finalists
Citizen media projects are often the bread and butter of progress. These endeavors often serve a single community. They don’t change national policy overnight but they solve key local issues. Given enough of these projects, every neighborhood of every village will eventually be heard.
Since 2007, Rising Voices, a project of Global Voices, has supported grassroots organizations seeking to better their communities through online communication. An annual microgrant competition provides up to five proposals with USD $2,500-4,000 to carry-out a local initiative. Goals are to bring voices from new communities and underrepresented groups. Citizen media training is a must, as is ongoing support.
This year, hundreds of people from 97 countries submitted citizen media outreach projects. Only 74 were chosen as shortlisted finalists out of the original group of 860 projects. Nineteen of those came from Africa. One – Mapping for Niger – won the competition along with four other projects.
We wish we could mention all projects submitted from Africa but the number is simply too big. Instead, we’ve listed the top 19 community initiatives with a brief synopsis of what each strives to achieve. Common themes include preserving culture and empowering neglected groups.
The list of finalists from Sub-Saharan Africa:
- Conn@cting People – will connect rural people (with no electricity neither internet access at all) from a war-displaced camp to the rest of the world
- Questioning Public Authorities Through Citizen Media – seeks to empower survivors of the 1986 Lake Nyos Gas disaster to bring their voices to the global community
- Voicing Out To Release Post Conflict Trauma – will use different media to enable victims of the recurrent inter-tribal land use resources conflicts between the villages of Oku and Mbessa in the North West Region of Cameroon to expose their never considered grievances in solving the conflict
- We know. Let the World Know Too – plans to mobilize, train and equip 25 youths with skills and materials for grassroots social media utilization for blogging in Bangem Subdivision
- Girls Community Digital Desk Project – aimed at promoting the voices of young girls born with HIV through online media
- The Maasai Woman Diary – Maasai women need to be educated on the opportunities and benefits that come with the new Kenyan system of governance
- WOES-Walking on Egg Shells – seeks to promote progressive re-integration of former prisoners in their communities by blogging their struggles to fit in
- Popular Memory – is about documenting the oral history of the country and to make it available online
- Mapping for Niger – will create a volunteer technical community by training and mobilizing Nigerien students to increase inclusive information sharing in crisis preparedness through targeted digital capacity building
- Addressing Iwerekhan Environmental Concerns – will give a voice to the marginalized Niger Delta communities and to push oil companies and government to be transparent in their dealings with them
- Crowdmapping Environmental Health – to enable the community Hospital Hills, an informal settlement in Johannesburg, to raise awareness and support to address the diverse environmental health challenges facing them
- Artists Go Public – will provide local artists with a platform to promote themselves, their work, and their creative process to a greater public
- #TweepsHelpBududa Experience – proposes a unique program to teach and encourage the youth from Bugisu who were affected by the landslides to use social media to call for social change through citizen media training workshops
- Community Reporters’ Hub & Clinic – where returnees to Acholi Subregion will gather to get free professional hands-on training on how to use digital cameras, the internet, and learn the basics of blogging
- Female Documentary Film Training on Women Advocacy and Women’s Rights – to enlighten and awaken women to acquire skills on how to support women rights activism in their society
- Right To Speak Ik – will mobilize, build capacity and create awareness for a handful of remaining Ik speakers in Uganda’s remotest region of Karamoja to use digital technologies
- Lekeni Nsose (Let Me Speak Out) – will train the disabled and those serving them in citizen journalism and give them a platform to speak out to the wider community