By Noah Lusaka and Bob Aston
As an additional way of aiding knowledge sharing between its grantees working in Laikipia County, UNDP’s Global Environment Fund (GEF) Small Grants Programme (SGP) has facilitated the training and capacity building of the grantees in citizen journalism by ALIN. The training took place at a Nyahururu Hotel between July 22 and 24, 2014.
In many instances and despite our now having become a knowledge society, most development organizations including governments that are involved in community development activities, rarely share knowledge emanating from their work. As a result many projects are implemented in isolation resulting in duplication of effort and inefficient utilisation of scarce resources.
To enhance experience sharing among project implementers, there are numerous new tools that can be used including: websites, blogs, wikis and popular social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, You Tube and WhatsApp.
Some 18 participants were trained on various ways of documenting their projects’ activities and how to use social media tools for dissemination. Specific topics covered included: news writing, creative writing, feature writing, photography, interviewing, online journalism (blogging) and media law and ethics. The grantees will use the acquired skills to articulate their community project experiences for wider sharing.
The trainees were very excited to learn about blogging and majority picked it as the most interesting part of the training. Learning about photography as well as conducting interviews also elicited a lot of interest.
Ms. Teresa Ndirangu, an employee of Kenya Organic Agriculture Network (KOAN) who had attended the training said that she had been empowered by learning how to blog. She went ahead to create a blog: http://kenyaorgagricnet.blogspot.com that her organization will be using to disseminate information to the public.
“It will now be easier to document and disseminate what we are doing to the general public through the blog. I think blogging is a very powerful tool of enabling the society to receive relevant information from organizations,” she observed.
The development of information and communication technologies has led to the emergence of Citizen Journalism, also referred to as “Participatory Journalism.” Citizens are now playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating news and information. ALIN has taken the forefront in enabling communities that would not otherwise have the skills to gain them and therefore be better able to remain engaged in discussion of issues pertinent to their livelihoods using the online space.