Youth Action Fund of Soros to mobilize youth
Several months ago “Soros-Kyrgyzstan” (OSI) opened a competition among youth of Kyrgyzstan for small grants projects aimed at educating and mobilizing their peers. As organizers say, there were more than hundred different projects applied, and more than 40 projects were approved. My project, “The Oshington Post”, is one of them 😀
The purpose of the Youth Action Fund is to identify, inspire, and support small groups of dedicated young people who can mobilize and influence large numbers of their peers to promote open society ideals. OSI created this fund as a flexible way to provide small grants and other support to encourage progressive, youth-driven initiatives that are aligned with OSI’s mission.
My project is aimed at teaching a group of local young journalists in the city of Osh, southern Kyrgyzstan, to new media and online journalism skills. The target group – young journalists – already has its own publication – a students’ newspaper called “The Oshington Post”, where student journalists write on local issues usually neglected by the mainstream media. The particular thing about it is that they write in English, as the project was founded by a US Peace Corps volunteer at the American Center at the Osh State University. The paper is very good, but there is a problem.
The problem is that their publication is on paper, or is so-called a “dead-tree” media. Moreover, the circulation of the paper is very small – about 50 copies per issues – and is distributed among students. And as the paper is in English, the audience of the publication is English-speaking people interested in the issues taking place in southern Kyrgyzstan. Given the huge interest from Western countries in the developments happening in Kyrgyzstan, it is logical to suppose that the paper “The Oshington Post” is not achieving great deal of its target group. Therefore, my project is aimed at onlinizing, if there is a such word, the work of these young journalists via giving them a webpage and a domain name http://www.oshington.kg. Thus, articles written by them will be available not only to a small group of people in Osh, but bigger audience – everyone arond the world interested in local issues of southern Kyrgyzstan often not covered by mainstream media.
A student at The Oshington Post tried to onlinize the paper, but due to the lack of knowledge in new media and online journalism, his endeavor did not succeed. Therefore, my project aims at giving series of trainings on new media, online journalism and new internet tools to young journalists at the Oshington Post. The final product of the project is a web-site http://www.oshington.kg, which will be updated by the participants of the project in average 3-4 times a week.
I will post more about the project soon. Now gotta go back to trainings. Seems the weekends gonna be long and interesting 😀