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We’re At It Again

This time we’ve done it, we lost the thread and picked it back up again between knots, loops and thread on the point of breaking. We’ve strummed it like our own guitar. We’ve reach almost three months in Guatemala and there’s no more time to spend in transition. It’s the critical election season in Guatemala and so our latest project is:

¡Vozz! Youth Cover the Guatemalan Election

VOZZ kids

Fifteen years after Guatemala’s Peace Accords ended 36 years of civil war, many young Guatemalans continue to be marginalized from political life. While 70 percent of the population is 30 years of age and younger, voter turnout statistics reveal that few young people register and exercise their right to vote, the online magazine Albedrio reports. Political parties, in an effort to capture this untapped resource, have led strong campaigns on youth marketing issues. However, many young candidates and members of youth organizations say this does not translate into real and effective participation. Youth are interested in participating in political life, but most parties are not willing to give them space as they do not have the financial resources to fund a campaign. Moreover, there are high rates of voter abstention and limited representation by women and indigenous people in democratic institutions.

VOZZ will be a citizen journalism training project in which young Guatemalan citizen reporters aged 16-24 years old – the ages of the highest abstention rates in more than 40 percent of the population – learn the fundamentals of journalism and reporting in Spanish and Kaqchikel. The project will be launched in Guatemala as a test pilot to coincide with the 2011 presidential election.

Vozz, a name created by youth in Guatemala City’s crime-ridden Zone 1 to capture the spirit of having a voice or voz to their stories, will create opportunities for youth to be trained by local reporters and seasoned election trainers, to share their stories from their municipalities, and to distribute those stories under a Creative Commons License on http://www.vozz.com.gt.

Nadia Sussman and Kara Andrade will work with a core group of young reporters (2 youth from 20 municipalities) to first hold a two-day “bootcamp” in Guatemala City to train them on the fundamentals of journalism, election reporting and multimedia tools for reporting. We will ensure diverse coverage of stories concerning the election from rural, indigenous areas where very little reporting is done and from a youth perspective that is very seldom heard. Guatemalan youth will be trained as citizen reporters to produce this body of multimedia stories before, during and after the 2011 Guatemalan presidential elections and will travel to their communities, as needed, to help them with the reporting and production.

We are fundraising from other sources for the total $5500 budget for the project, but the $3000 raised on Spot.Us would go towards:

Student Travel (42 students X $40 each roundtrip with meals from their rural communities): $1,680

Nadia Sussman Travel from New York: $500

Meals: $820

Total: $3,000

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