[IMC-Finance] report from imc-africa/World Social Forum-Nairobi project

Jay jay at fundamentalchange.net
Mon May 7 14:25:10 PDT 2007

Hi imc-finance,

In January 2007, dozens of international 
Indymedia actitivists, including several members 
of the Kenya IMC, came together in Nairobi, 
Kenya, to participate in an international IMC 
convergence and radio station "barnraising" to 
coincide with the World Social Forum.   Planning 
and fundraising for the convergence took place 
throughout the summer and autumn of 2006, when 
Indymedia organizers from several continents 
communicated face-to-face and via e-mail, IRC and 
conference call to coordinate the project.  In 
November, 2006, imc-finance awarded the 
imc-africa working group $4250 to put toward 
radio equipment and other needs for the 
convergence.  Here is the initial proposal 

The IMC/WSF Nairobi convergence came and went 
with a number of successes, some difficult 
lessons learned and the hope that in some way 
what happened there helped advance the 
independent media-making movement in Africa.  Some successes include:

-- the on-site building of an on-air low power FM 
radio station, broadcasting for [???] days from 
inside the World Social Forum conference 
site.  Participants in the convergence from 
countries such as Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, 
the US, Germany, etc [help me list the countries 
participants came from] worked together to 
phsyically build the station and create original 
programming while it was on the air.  According 
to a January 24, 2007, report from Danielle 
Chynoweth of the Urbana IMC 
"About 20 African citizen-journalists ­ most of 
them producing audio for the first time ­ have 
created hours of interviews about the issues of 
housing, HIV/AIDS policies, gay and lesbian 
rights, human rights, youth issues, and the importance of independent media."

-- Printing and distribution of 5,000 copies of a 
newspaper about goings-on at the World Social 
Forum in English and Kiswahili, written by 
indpendent journalists from several countries, 
mainly from Africa.  [can someone help me find a 
link to this on-line?  Also, were all the 
journalists African?  From which countries?]

-- connections made with local low-powered radio 
projects in Nairobi, such as Koch FM (
http://kochfm.blogspot.com/) and the Pro-Active 
Youth Group, which has is planning to open a radio station,
Ungem FM, in a recycled shipping container.

-- building of a long-term low-powered radio 
station at Kenya's Maseno University.

-- Working with the Kenya IMC to share skills 
that will be able to advance their organizing, as 
well as learning lessons from the Kenya IMC and 
other African independent journalists that will 
help advance independent media oragnizing outside of Africa.

-- Connections made between international 
independent media media makers, many discussions 
and informal skill shares about Indymedia and 
independent media-making within an African context.

-- the Prometheus Radio Project distributed at 
least 10 low-wattage radio transmitters (two 40 
watt and the rest 1 and 1/4 watt) to indepenent 
media activists from South Africa, Zimbabwe, 
Uganda, Somalia, Kenya and Nigeria.

-- Organizers were able to raise approximately 
$24,000 to support this project, including the 
$4250 from imc-finance, about $15,000 from 
Umverteilen to support travel of delegates, 
$1,900 from the X Minus Y foundation to support 
radio supplies and other essentials, 
approximately $2000 from the Urbana IMC and about 
$1250 from local IMCs and individuals around the 
world.  IMC-Finance's money went specifically 
toward radio station supplies and 
directly-related materials.  The organizers did 
not spend all of imc-finance's money, and have 
therefore returned $1842 to imc-finance.  An 
extensive accounting spreadsheet for the project is available upon request.

Some lessons learned and items for further growth and discussion include:

-- The impenetrable Kenyan and World Social Forum 
bureaucracies resulted in a number of IMC 
activists from around Africa not being able to 
receive visas to travel to Nairobi for the convergence.

-- There was little to no successful work done on 
planning the IMC skill shares and the "indymedia" 
part of the convergence (as opposed to the the 
"barnraising" part of the project, which the 
Prometheus Radio Project primarily 
coordinated).  There was a general breakdown of 
process, especially in formal consensus.

-- Many difficult lessons learned, and in the 
process of being learned, about the 
race/economic/cultural differences between Africa 
and the US/Europe/Australia, many difficult 
discussions about race-class privilege were had 
and still need to happen, many hard lessons were 
learned about the realities of organizing across vast cultural divides.

Many thanks go to imc-finance for its continued 
support imc-africa!  If you're curious to see 
some of the faces behind the convergence, 
Philadelphia-based photographer JJ Tiziou 
(http://www.jjtiziou.net)  put together a video 
of his many photographs of the project: 


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