Archive for September, 2008

OK almost another month has gone by already since I got back from Rwanda, and I’ve been bad at blogging…. things are chugging along with YETAM. I’m still waiting on the external drive with all the materials on it from Rwanda, but Julie’s gone to Mali to start the training there, and the Senegal films are all finished now also. They need translation still though.

We have selected the YETAM website provider and they are going to start working on designing the new pages. In the meantime we finally finished the 4 virtual visits at www.planusa.org/maps so now Togo, the DR and El Salvador are up there. We’re waiting on the DVD that will be sent out to schools to be finalized — it has the 4 virtual visits that are ready along with the curricula that we developed around them. We sent a mailing out to 9000 current events teachers about the virtual visits and DVD/curriculum and got about 500 responses back – which is quite good!

I also sent an email out to people about the 4 completed ones and we had really good feedback. More and more countries want to do something similar or to post them on their home office websites, so that is cool.

On top of the YETAM project, the main things I’ve been doing are working on the Child and Adolescent Participation Commission for the World Congress against Child Sexual Exploitation happening in Brazil in November. I’m going to Brasilia next week to meet with UNICEF, ECPAT, Save the Children, etc. to plan for that, and then will go back in November to Rio for the actual Congress.

The other thing, which is really exciting, is the workshop we’ve been planning for in Kenya Dec 8-12. We’ve been thinking, dreaming, planning and now it’s all really coming together. All the funding came through, and in the past week our list of external speakers has become an amazing group of minds. We will have Ken Banks from Frontline SMS http://www.frontlinesms.com/, Daudi Were from MentalAcrobatics http://www.mentalacrobatics.com/think/, Juliana Rodich from GlobalVoicesOnline http://www.globalvoicesonline.org/ and Ushahidi http://www.ushahidi.com/, and Erik Hersman from White African http://www.whiteafrican.com/ and Ushahidi. We’re also trying to see if we can visit Google Kenya and have a speaker from there as well. There will be about 25 Plan staffers/partners and 2-4 Kenyan youth as well. So I’m really looking forward to the week. I think we are going to learn and plan so much…. really excited.

In the process, we are going to work with Ushahidi to pilot some of their technology and use it for our programs. Their platform combines SMS with mapping and they created it during the election violence in Kenya last year. There are lots of uses for it in the work that we do that we can begin to explore, and I think it will be really amazing!

Another project that is coming along is Plan’s participation in the 6th World Summit on Media for Children www http://www.wskarlstad2010.se/. I wrote a proposal outlining how the child and youth participation and protection could be managed at the Summit, and they liked it a lot. So we are in negotiations now about how we can make it happen and secure the necessary funding and human resources to do it. In the proposal, I also submitted ideas together with Media Snackers on how to build in the whole social media angle of the Summit and they liked that too. I’m going to meet with DK from Media Snackers http://www.mediasnackers.com/ in New York this Saturday on my way to Brazil to discuss more and then we’ll talk again with the chairman of the 6WSMC to see how to move it along.

So once again I think I have too much on my plate, but it’s all tasting very good.

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Being home again has been really strange. Like that feeling you get when you step off a roller coaster…..

I’m back in the office today after clearing out my inbox from home yesterday, well almost clearing it out. I have about 25 major things to deal with still sitting there, but all the smaller, easier stuff is cleared through.

My flight back was easy and on time, but getting in a cab and arriving home is always really weird for me after being away for a few weeks. Things seem so flat here. Even if there was no hot water and we ate the same starchy food for 3 weeks, I think I prefer Rwanda to Providence, Rhode Island. Maybe I was born to live somewhere outside the US? hmmm. Someday…..

I’ve been getting emails from the team there in Gatsibo and should have an update from them today or tomorrow on how things are going. They will have the community event tomorrow where the kids will show what they’ve been doing over the past week, do a debate, and talk about what will happen next (commitment to follow up).

more later when I hear back from the Rwanda team!

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