More than a few of my friends have told me that they have no idea what I do for work anymore. “Wait, so you don’t translate things from Spanish to English anymore?” is how most of them put it.
So, I think I need to be more clear and more repetitive. Before May of last year I was the Latin American Regional Editor for Global Voices. That is when I would read as many blogs from Latin America as I could and then highlight what I thought were the best ones at Global Voices. In May my friend and ‘boss’ Ethan won a $250,000 grant from the Knight News Challenge to start up a new outreach initiative at Global Voices called Rising Voices which provides microgrants of $3,000 to $5,000 to groups who want to train ‘under-represented communities’ how to use the tools of citizen media like blogging, podcasting, and photo- and video-sharing. I was made director of that program and have been joyously working about 12 hours a day, 7 days a week ever since to try and help make it as sustainable and successful as possible. It’s been a lot of work, but I think that we’re getting there and that we’ll be able to fund five new projects every five months for quite a while.
Though I do have the support of my friends and colleagues at Global Voices (especially my good friend Rezwan), the administrative tasks of Rising Voices all fall on my plate, which has turned me into a productivity nazi over the past few months.
So far, Rising Voices has awarded outreach grants to ten projects, which are based in various communities in Colombia, Bolivia, Sierra Leone, India, Bangladesh, Kenya, Jamaica, Uruguay, Iran, and Madagascar. I have only visited the project in Medellin, Colombia, which is what I’ve been writing about here over the past two months. I plan on visiting the OLPC project in Uruguay in April, the Prison Diaries project in Jamaica in May and both the Neighbourhood Diaries project in Kolkata and the Nari Jibon project in Dhaka later this summer. But even without meeting most of the people involved in the projects in person, I still have grown very close and attached to them just from reading their blogs, watching their videos, and communicating via email. Here is a brief update on what some of the projects have been up to this past week alone:
First, I just published Jorge Jurado’s rap about blogging with English sub-titles.
The Nari Jibon group met with Venezuelan blogger and photographer Kira Kariakin and discussed blogging and Flickr. They also recently opened a Flickr page and produced a beautiful video about the first day of Spring in Dhaka.
And, the Prison Diaries project in Jamaica has published their first press release.
The groups are producing more content every day than we could possibly feature on the Rising Voices website, but Rezwan and I do our best to feature as much as we can.