Archive for December, 2008

YETAM Senegal almost set

Not really working, since I’m on vacation, but almost done with the translations for the YETAM Senegal videos. Just about 5 more to go. They are finishing up 2 of the videos with scenes from school when school starts, and there are 2 more to upload to dotsub, about 4 to translate, and we’re done with the first set. After dotsub, then I just upload the translations to the closed caption program on YouTube so now you can watch them in French and English. We still need to upload some of the videos to YouTube, but Ayla’s going to get that done starting Jan 5. Photo: Alex, me, Mike at Laguna Beach on Wednesday.


The website creation is also moving. AK the web company is building it with a bunch of the recommendations that people gave during the SM4SC workshop and other ideas we had awhile ago.

I’m in Los Angeles still and we’re off today to visit UCLA and USC, my favorite Mexican restaurant, La Barca, and Griffith Park. I’m going to meet up with my college roommate while the kids and my brothers go to the zoo. Then we’re meeting some extended family — the kids’ only cousins, whom we haven’t seen for about 10 years. Should be a good day!

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Whew. It’s 5.25 a.m. and I am just about off the the airport to go to Los Angeles with my kids to see my 2 brothers who live there, the one who doesn’t, and the parents. We have tons of snow here so I got to enjoy 3 days of it and now can escape it to warmer climates. It should be fun! Just kinda hoping it rains on Christmas as my mom wants to spend it at Disneyland, and I’m not too keen on that. Christmas is commercial enough without spending it at the mecca of commercialism! (Sorry mom if you still read this!) But yeah, if we go it will still be good since my family is great…

I spent the weekend subtitling the Senegal films so there are several up on YouTube now. The rest I’m either missing translations or the actual video files, but I think Ayla (our intern) and I will resolve that after Jan 5. The films are quite good, so I’ll be happy to finally see them up on the website when it’s ready.

Last week I cleared through my last emails and only have 5 in my inbox! I had to update the Nokia proposal and budget and get going on some of the prep work for next year so we can get started on time. It should be a good year and I’m excited about it.

Over vacation I am determined to figure out my new YETAM mobile phone. After the SM4SC workshop, I decided I needed to become a real mobile user and stop just using the phone for texting and calls. So I purchased the N-82 that we had in the project budget and plan to figure it all out over the break. I figured out the camera already, how to access my gmail and get Twitter updates, but can’t get into Yahoo. And there is all kinds of software linked to my laptop and ‘home network’ that I need to figure out so I can pass photos, music, etc back and forth. It should be fun to master….

Nicolaas just sent me my first YouTube music video by email to the phone, so it’s looking promising….

Happy Holidays and here’s to a fun-filled New Year full of new and exciting projects!

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Only 2 days left and I will take my first real vacation since over a year ago. Strangely enough this is a real challenge for me. I’ve become such a work and laptop addict that the idea of not working for 2 weeks is pretty stressful. I need it though to come back fresh and relaxed for what will be another packed year.

Mika and I worked on the workshop follow up yesterday morning and we are thinking that instead of doing a long workshop report, we could make the whole report a blog. We will go back and post a day-by-day summary of it with links to the presentations and where hopefully people can comment. Then we can use the blog as a follow up and sharing/discussion tool as people more forward with their ideas and implementation. Hopefully we can develop some readership within Plan for the blog and it can become a platform for active (and interactive) sharing and learning. Of course we’ll make traditional report too for those that may want it…

Since the workshop, just in the 3 days this week, we’ve seen a lot of stuff happening within Plan. I think the week really motivated people. A few people started their own blogs. We’ve been getting the personal action plans back from participants saying how they will incorporate social media/new technology/mobiles into their work plans this year. I also shared the idea of using Frontline/ Ushahidi for humanitarian organizations with a few people inside Plan in terms of how we could be more organized after a disaster.

In the US office, I heard that the health advisor is looking into incorporating mobile applications into a new group of proposals on child survival.

I am working hard on proposals for this calendar year and all that goes along with that… budget, action plan, program planning, etc. Plus we are trying our hardest to get the website up and running. Let’s see what I can get accomplished in 2 days still!

Much to be done, but all fulfilling!

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Ha. Clare set her alarm for 4.00 a.m. so she could wake up and see me at the time she was born exactly 12 years ago. What a sweetie. Gotta get cleaning for her birthday party today…

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Wow what a week. My head is spinning from all the discussions and possibilities from our workshop in Kenya. So it’s 3 a.m. and I’m back home, and here I am again at the computer. My New Year’s resolution is to work less, but it’s not New Year’s yet… and I’m still on Kenya time, so fell asleep at 6 and woke up at 1.30. So why not grab my coffee and get going. Photo: one of the ‘take aways’ on the last day.

I have a zillion ideas and things to think about. How to support the different people and offices present at our workshop to build in more social media and technology to improve our programs and reach/impact.
The last couple days were amazing, with presentations by/about youth and how they are using blogging, mobiles and other technology for health and learning. We talked about citizen journalism and thought about how to apply it to our programs and communications. And there was a LOT of discussion about how organizations need to open up to embrace new kinds of media or they will become irrelevant.
One key thought (originally stated by Ken Banks from FrontlineSMS.com and then taken up by everyone) was that it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission. That people should just do it, just try things, instead of asking for permission to innovate and be creative.
We learned from one participant how blue tooth was used during the Kenya election crisis to get information out to the public… and at the airport on the way home heard about arrests of activists in Nairobi and increasing media censorship.
We talked about how organizations need to modernize and open up new ways to engage the public in their work based on concepts of social media. We used SMS to send messages and talked through specific ways we could use Frontline SMS (http://www.frontlinesms.org/) to make it easier for children to get birth certificates and access their rights at citizens. Imagine instead of having to trek miles to the district capital if mobiles could help communicate and ease that process. We looked at specific existing projects and thought about how to use SMS and other social media to improve them.
We presented and discussed the YETAM project, and heard things like “every country should do this” and got great feedback for making the project more relevant and to increase its impact from the local level upwards. I had a lot of time to brainstorm with Mimi (the link between YETAM and Nokia via Plan Finland) for once about the project and to start working out the action plan for next year. Photo: Me and Mimi

We heard so many opinions from everyone, and the French translation and bi-lingual nature of the workshop meant that we heard from everyone there, whereas often those who speak French keep quiet since English is the ‘official working language’. Photo: PapaSidy and Bedo.

Our external experts stayed with us the whole week and added so much to the conversation.
Really an amazing time. We tracked the workshop on a collective blog (http://sm4sc.maneno.org/eng/) so people could practice, and posted photos on Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/whiteafrican/sets/72157610896848364/.
Now Mika and I will do the report. We asked people to state a few concrete ways they will follow up on the workshop and then our job along with the different offices involved is to support their work and help address any challenges or obstacles that come up. Photo: the fearless Mika!
(And we had a “Bush Dinner” with a fire and music the last night”)
So our work is cut out for us next year…. and it’s about 90% sure that I’ll get to extend my secondment for another year to focus on YETAM’s next countries and SM4SC follow up.

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I’m back from Brazil and in Kenya now for the Social Change for Social Media workshop. There are about 25 of us here and the first day was really really good. I learned tons of stuff from everyone here. It’s about 6:00 and most everyone is still here in the workshop room, doing email and stuff. We are going into “Bar Chats” in a few minutes – where people can just suggest topics that they want to discuss and form groups to do it. Photo: Lukenya Getaway

We have tried live broadcasting some of the talks – some worked some didn’t. And we’re testing a blog on a site called Maneno. The link is http://www.maneno.org/. Under SM4SC workshop you can find it…. I couldn’t get my photos to post there so I thought I’d revert to here to put some up. Photo: Tonee from Wazimba blogging. Erik from White African/Ushahidi and Mativo and Anthony from Plan Kenya.

Will post more this week.

Photo: Erik starting his talk.

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