Thursday, February 5, 2009

Amsterdam, Voices of Africa

I left for Bamako on Feb 4th in the evening with a stopover in Amsterdam to meet with colleagues there, and also to meet with the Voices of Africa Media Foundation (VoAMF) to see about possible collaboration. The flight was easy and I got in to Amsterdam Central Station around 9 a.m., checked into the hotel Terminus, and then Klaas, Plan’s Innovations Manager, came by to meet me around 11.30. We had some coffee and went out to Harlaam to VoAMF.

There we met with Pim the founder, and Henri, the co-founder. They run a mobile reporters training program for young Africans. They give them a mobile phone and a training on how to do good, short reporting with it. Then they pay them a sum if they complete 8 reporting assignments a month. 4 are specific, and 4 are assignments where the reporters can choose their topics. They also train them on how to manage assignments from Western journalist. The main point behind the VoAMF is that Africans should be reporting on Africa rather than foreigners, and they try to build up capacity of young Africans to do just that. Their training package goes for about 6 months, with the participants sending in their stories, which are critiqued, re-edited and the published on Africa News Network. ( We are talking about various scenarios where we might partner together on some different types of training.

I had dinner with Nanneke from the Dutch Plan office. We worked together in the past on the Global Youth Engagement Framework and on Development Education. There are lots of cool links between our work both with youth and youth boards in the US and with the youth media work in W. Africa. One topic of conversation tonight, and it seems everywhere I go, is Obama and what it means that he’s been elected, and what he will do for the world.

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