Mondoblog supports and empowers Francophone Africa bloggers
Mondoblog, one of the most popular blogging platforms in Francophone Africa, is the perfect illustration of the digital turn that Africa is currently experiencing.
Run by Atelier des Médias through RFI, thousands of bloggers in West and Central Africa use the platform to spread news from their communities. Needless to say, the African Mondoblog community is very strong – and is growing by the day. The Africans blogging on Mondoblog are connected and talented. They truly want to mobilize their respective communities. Of course, simply sitting down at a computer and writing for an hour every day is nothing to be taken for granted. Blogging takes the right combination of inspiration, availability, and means. Internet access, transport, electricity, and quiet all are hard to come by in many locales.
From April 6-14, 2013, the 2nd annual Mondoblog training took place in Dakar, Senegal. However, this was no ordinary meetup. The team of Atelier des Médias chose 52 winners from the online community for ten days of in-person training. Thirty-seven of these Mondoblogueurs are located in Africa. In Dakar, the group learned journalism techniques and Web 2.0 tools: writing, research, verification of information, publishing, social networking – the list goes on.
A great (and fun!) summary/visualization of the week can be found on a Strikingly page created by one of the organizers. From it, we find stats on the 52 bloggers:
- Sixteen participants were female; thirty-six were male.
- 85% were from Africa; 15% from Europe
- Represented were 37 African bloggers from Tunisia, Mauritania, Mali, Senegal, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Chad, Central African Republic, Cameroon, Congo, and Madagascar
- Average age: 28 years
- 64% see their blogging activities as journalism
- 8 bloggers run their blogs from abroad
- Most Mondoblogueurs of African origin have an advanced university degree
- Many of the bloggers are employed as journalists, teachers, community managers, or developers
Also, an online survey conducted in May 2013 found that 78% of African Mondoblogueurs own a laptop, 50% own a camera, and 45% own a smartphone. Fewer than 10% own a tablet.
The entire list of winners can be found at Dakar.Mondoblog.org.
The tech gap between French speaking countries and English speaking countries is formidable, but initiatives like Mondoblog Dakar 2013 are bringing new voices to the forefront.
Note: There were no restrictions on participation in the annual competition. However, by the operation of the platform, the selection phase implies two things for candidates: they can read and write and are sufficiently equipped to keep a blog. In essence, the bloggers brought together for this event embody the rising African middle class.