Category Archives: Proposal Discussions

Choose a name for the Global Voices Journal + join the team!

Hi, dear GVers,
As some of you already know, Elisa and I won one of the innovation grants to create a gratis open access journal for scientific articles about citizen media. You can see more details about the project here.
We’re writing today because we’d like the community’s input on two things: first, we don’t have a name for the journal yet, so we thought we could crowdsource the process and count on everyone’s creativity to come up with a name that represents this new area in the work we do as a community. You can enter your suggestions here and vote for the best name:
The author of the winning suggestion will receive a surprise GV prize 🙂 Suggestions can be added until 31 January and voting will go on until one week later, until 7 February!
The second thing is that we’re looking for people to fill the following positions (with a symbolic pay):

Editorial Assistant – an Editorial Assistant can take responsibility for handling queries, processing manuscripts through peer review (e.g. the Chief Editor might indicate reviewers, while the Editorial Assistant sends the request to the reviewer and later the manuscript).

Managing Editor – typically a Managing Editor handles the same types of work as an Editorial Assistant, but is often involved in higher level decisions together with the Chief Editor, and might even be involved in the Journal finances or other aspects of administration.

Production Editor – manages the production process. Requires solid IT skills.

Layout Editor – the Layout Editor is responsible for structuring the original manuscript, including figures and tables, into an article, activating necessary links and preparing the manuscript in the various formats it will be published in.

Typesetter – a typesetter is an external partner that can handle layout editing and production of the manuscript in the appropriate formats. Typesetters can also provide copyediting and are often able to provide some distribution to third parties, such as Communication and Mass Media Complete.

Marketer – someone on the team should take responsibility for engaging in outreach to make others aware of the Journal. This might be a role that several or all members of the team share.

The journal is biannual, which means the workload is neither frequent nor overwhelming and everyone can collaborate with as much time as they find possible right now.
We appreciate your participation! This is a project that belongs to all of us 🙂
Elisa and Débora

GV in Your Community – August Update

The “GV in Your Community” innovation grant is underway with some exciting news. As you may recall, the project calls for six in-person meet-ups and six virtual Hangouts as a way to build stronger ties with our readers, microgrant applicants, and others that might be interested in meeting our community.

Earlier this year, we announced the initiative on the GV Community list, and received an outpouring of interest from GVers eager to take part. Some offered to host a meet-up, develop the program/agenda, or help out any way that they could.

The first step was to decide where the six in-person meet-ups will take place. There were several factors that were given high priority in making this selection.

1.) Strong GV Presence – We decided that it would be best that each site should have a team of two primary coordinators responsible for the organizing and logistics of the meet-up, as a way to share responsibility. We also searched for GVers that may have attended at least one GV Summit in the past, since it would demonstrated that he or she is active in the community and can convey the benefits of getting to know one another in a physical setting. While there will be two primary coordinators at each site, other GVers in that location may also want to get involve in some capacity.

2.) Demonstrated Need – As mentioned in the original Innovation Grant proposal, we want to address the fact that we have received nearly 2700 microgrant applications over the past three years. Unfortunately, we have only been able to fund 16 during that period. So to also help determine where the first six meet-ups would be held, we took a look at the number of applicants from each region and country. However, it will not be a requirement for attendance that he/she applied for a RV microgrant, but they will be given high priority.

3.) Geographic and Linguistic Diversity – Balance among the regions and in various languages

So considering a combination of these factors, we are pleased to announce the six confirmed sites and their coordinating team:

    Kampala, Uganda: Maureen Agena and Rosebell Kagumire
    Phnom Penh, Cambodia: Sopheap Chak and Ramana Sorn
    Skopje, Macedonia: Elena Ignatova and Filip Stojanovski
    Kirachi, Pakistan: Sana Saleem and Faisal Kapadia
    Cairo, Egypt: Mohamed El Gohary and Tarek Amr
    Maputo, Mozambique: Sara Moreira and @Verdade

These six meet-ups will take place between September and November. Watch for further details about exact dates. You may notice that Latin America is not listed on the first six sites. Part of that reason is because of Rising Voices’ earlier activities with the Conectándonos events in Bolivia, Ecuador, and Perú. Other cities/countries were considered a higher priority for this first round.

As also mentioned in the original proposal, we are approaching this as a pilot project to see what works and what does not work. That way, we can help develop a curriculum/program that may be used by other GVers who want to organize something locally and have the experience from the six teams listed above. Already there are GVers who have expressed an interest in the next round, such as Mac-Jordan from Accra.

The virtual meet-ups are still in development. As many of us have noted, the use of Google Hangout is not an exact science. So we are still experimenting and finding the best way to organize. We are happy to note that Jeremy Clarke has graciously agreed to run one of these virtual Hangouts about the use of WordPress.

Additional assistance with the virtual component of this project is especially needed.

Project Proposal: Crowdsourcing Electoral Violence Data

1. Full name
Salman Latif
2. Global Voices sections to which you contribute
GV in English
3. Publication date of your latest post or translation
Date: – 10/11/2012
4. Title of project
Crowdsourcing electoral violence data
5. Project representative (person who will sign award agreement and receive funds)
Salman Latif
6. Describe the proposed project as clearly as possible in five sentences or less
The project aims at building a system which would let people report incidents of violence at different polling stations across Pakistan during 2013 elections. This reporting will be done in real-time and the resulting map will be displayed online, while also notifying the Election Commission of Pakistan.
7. What aspect or need of Global Voices does your project address?
Global Voices essentially strives to enable a simple thing: power to people. This project sets out to do exactly the same, though within the narrower scope of 2013 elections in Pakistan.
8. How would the project further Global Voices’ mission?
It would let people have their say during 2013 elections in Pakistan, highlight the frequency of incidents of violence to an international community and in turn, lead to a better transparency.
9. What is innovative about your project?
The fact that we wish to link it with telecom services and let people report incident of violence in real-time. Currently, no such mode of crowdsourcing election data exists in Pakistan.
10. Which section of Global Voices would your project most benefit (if applicable)?
GV Advocacy
11. How would the wider GV community utilize and/or participate in your project?
The wider GV community can keep an eye on the data shelled out by the project and possibly bring it to the attention of the international community, and international observers, by highlighting it in their posts. This would assert pressure on the local authorities to not indulge in rigging.
12. List the other GV community members, if any, who will be actively working on the project. Please specify what role each person will play in the development of the project.
Annie Zaman Kumail Ahmed
13. What additional resources or expertise, if any, would you need to complete the project?
Our costs, detailed below, will be significantly trimmed if we get: Web developer, web designer, someone good with data analytics tools who can possibly help us in training the volunteers.
14. Describe the prospects for sustainability/continuation once the innovation grant funding ends
The funding is essentially required to build up a system to collect real-time data from voters and create an online portal to present it. Once the elections are over, the project will not exactly be functional, except that it could be used to create similar other crowdsourcing projects related to social issues.
15. Please specify the timeline for the project, from start to finish
Both the data-gathering mechanism and system as well as the online portal will be developed in first half of April and tested during the second half. In May, the system will be kickstarted into action as the elections draw near.
16. Provide a detailed budget of up to US$5,000 for project costs. (Please try and present as accurate a budget as possible: applicants are encouraged to submit budgets for less than the maximum amount as smaller grants allow us to fund more projects)
The budgetary details are, at best, estimates: $1500 – for PCs and the accompanying UPS, given the power scarcity in Pakistan $1000 – logistics for GV members and volunteers to travel to election sites, get feedback, interviews and discern indications of violation at different polling stations $500 – to bring together an online portal which will display the data. We’re trying to get web developer/designer folks on volunteer basis but that is proving rather difficult. $1000 – Expenses for a few training sessions we intend to do to ready the volunteers for the project before we launch it.

GV Innovation Awards – project updates and 2013 launch date!

Roughly a year ago we launched the first round of internal innovation grants, where we asked members of the GV community to submit proposals for projects or tools that enhance Global Voices’ work or mission.

As you’ll recall, project proposals by Tomomi, Bernardo, Juan and Claire were selected, by popular vote, to receive US$5,000 in funding from GV. In the end Claire decided not to go forward with her project so did not accept the grant funds. Claire would be happy to share the information she gathered as part of her preparations for “GV Goes Mobile” with anyone who’s interested in using or building upon it.

This e-mail is to update you on the current status of the three innovation grant projects and to let you know that we’ll be launching the 2013 round of innovation grants on March 1st. So now’s a good time to start mulling over ideas for projects you might want to propose.

Stay tuned for more information on the launch, and enjoy reading the project updates below!


Cojiro, a cross-lingual curation tool (Tomomi Sasaki)

Project Description:
Our group is working on an open-source tool, “Cojiro”, designed to enable people with complementary skill sets to identify, group and convey stories in one language to a broader audience in another language. The tool is based on the idea that in order to effectively bridge language barriers, content should only be translated if there is an audience who will actually read it. To do this, Cojiro appeals to two key user groups to narrow the focus of translation: domain experts in the source language, whose knowledge of local contexts and specific areas is essential to uncovering and grouping interesting conversations, and readers in the target language, who can evaluate which of these conversations would be of interest to foreign audiences. Closing the feedback loop between these groups would make cross-lingual sharing and collaboration a much more seamless process — and, we believe, a much more interesting and exciting one. Prototype: (UN/PW: guest/brain) Software codebase:

Progress report:
Since we received the grant we’ve spent a lot of our energy on re-defining the challenges, distilling the service concept, and translating it into an intuitive web interface. The biggest challenge has been in figuring out how to balance the specific needs of the Global Voices community versus building a multilingual platform that is valuable in other contexts. Surveying digital projects with crosslingual components and exchanging opinions with other people working on multilingual projects has been exciting and informative.

At the same time, we’ve been building on the wide variety of technical skills required to build Cojiro. The prototype was great as a proof-of-concept, but being able to launch, maintain and actively develop a robust service is a whole new ballgame. Unfortunately, our most experienced developer left the project for personal reasons and this has slowed progress. We’re still a few months away from being able to test run the service with a closed group, so this is the next big goal!

I guess that in Cojiro’s case, the completion of work would be a public launch… we’re not quite there yet. It’s been uber difficult to find someone that has a) the domain knowledge and interest b) the technical skills and c) the free time, so a second round of funds might allow us to simply hire another developer outright for a few weeks/months.

Challenges/suggestions for future grant cycles:
The application and voting process was clear and fair. It might be fun to try video applications? Have people talk it out, rather than try to string together words to capture nebulous ideas. And the GV community is so big, it would be nice to put a face to a project. Also, it might be interesting to lay out specific challenges that advance GV’s mission and have people propose a hypothesis. Some of those challenges would be to nudge the GV publishing platform itself to be innovated upon. Chris and I would really like to see other tool-based projects, and that seems like one way to open up the discussion…!

I’m not sure how the other teams fared but we fell behind on our proposed schedule fairly quickly… it would have been okay to have a few project mandated milestones to report to the community. (‘Okay’, in the sense that reporting is usually a pain but it might have helped us be more disciplined.) We were a bit sad not to get any official feedback from the Summit for Cojiro or any of the other projects, after scrambling to put together a video. In hindsight, that may have influenced our communication volume.

See more Cojiro project updates at

GV Multimedia Publishing (Bernardo Parrella)

Project Description:
The main idea is to create a small, online, independent publishing platform by taking advantage of GV huge archive and its future production. We could select, re-package and disseminate our multimedia content according to topics, regions, issues, languages, media, etc. This platform could produce electronic books, dossier and specific publications in a variety of formats (pdf, html, odt, epub, mobipocket, etc.), containing a collection of the best posts/material, preceded by an ad hoc introduction or short essay(s) to provide the proper context. For example, we could create right away a “Global Voices 2011″ or an “Arab Spring Voices” ebooks including best posts on these topics already published on GV in several languages, enriching and adapting them accordingly. In time we can build a unique catalog focused on citizen and social media material to be distributed (under CC) on many occasions and in many venues — while also attracting new people interested in sharing their multimedia content (videos, pics, audio, etc.), on our platform.

Progress report:
After the launch of our dedicated website on May 30, GV Books (formerly known as GV Multimedia Publishing) published its first english ebook, “EU in crisis”, at the end of July, in three different formats (PDF, Mobipocket, ePub).

It was soon followed by Italian, Arabic, and Spanish editions, with Portuguese and French versions on their way — each of them in those three formats. “EU in Crisis” was a compilation of the 13 best posts from Spring 2011 to Summer 2012, selected from our special coverage on “Europe in
Crisis”, preceded by a general introduction.

In late December we published our second ebook, “African Voices of Hope and Change”. From a total of about 800 posts produced over the year about the Sub-Saharan Africa region, we hand-picked the 13 best posts and crafted a broader introduction. Given the larger scope of GV African coverage and issues, we decided to devote a specific ebook to the MENA region (scheduled for the end of January).

While I’m finding out how many times these files has actually been downloaded, our GV Books website received a total of almost 500 visits and plenty of positive feedback — even if currently we are not promoting this project beyond GVers and their extended social circles.

My plan is to push for more visibility and explore outside opportunities after we’ll have a few more original English titles, probably starting with the Internet Archive and similar non-profit venues.

A slower approach is also needed because the actual production process is more time-consuming and complicated than expected, given that our titles are not just plain text like most e-books around but require greater technical and editing attention (due to many links, pictures, language-specific issues, etc.).

The overall interest and involvement of many GVers at various level is very strong and we are definitely on the right path toward the creation of a broader e-catalog based on citizen media content.

GV Books Timeline:
– Award announcement on March 1st
– Agreement signed on March 28
– 1st installment ($ 2,500) received on May 15
– MailingList launch: April 15 (now 65 members)
– Website launch: May 30
– Ebook “EU in crisis” in english: Jul 24
> italian: Oct 24
> arabic: Nov 25
> spanish: Dec 13
> portuguese: final editing
> french: in translation
– Ebook “African voices…” in english: Dec. 19
> italian: in translation
> portuguese: in translation

See more project updates at and

Filming Our Posts (Juan Arellano)

Project Description:
The main idea is to create a small, online, independent publishing platform by taking advantage of GV huge archive and its future production. We could select, re-package and disseminate our multimedia content according to topics, regions, issues, languages, media, etc. This platform could produce electronic books, dossier and specific publications in a variety of formats (pdf, html, odt, epub, mobipocket, etc.), containing a collection of the best posts/material, preceded by an ad hoc introduction or short essay(s) to provide the proper context. For example, we could create right away a “Global Voices 2011″ or an “Arab Spring Voices” ebooks including best posts on these topics already published on GV in several languages, enriching and adapting them accordingly. In time we can build a unique catalog focused on citizen and social media material to be distributed (under CC) on many occasions and in many venues — while also attracting new people interested in sharing their multimedia content (videos, pics, audio, etc.), on our platform.

Progress report:
Due to some internal problems the project has had a low progress in 2012. Although we had the first video finished in july (for Summit) it was just in october that we could pay the video producer and upload the video in our own account.

A little update here:
We are now coordinating with various video producers. Some of of this coordinations come from december 2012.

Perú – A video on Lima city activists working on the historical heritage of the city. In production (The video producer is with a medical leave until this weekend, he had a surgery last days of december)
Bolivia – One video about Tipnis march in production
México – A video with Article19 on how to work on the dangers activits are because of the violence.(script on drafts)
Ecuador – We are waiting for the script to approve it. The subject will be the impact of #loxaesmas as a civic project.
Paraguay – Waiting response from one suggested producer. Also coordinating with others producers from Ecuador, and México.

A coordination session with Cati Restrepo to see the launch of the contest has been scheduled.

– (Internal challenge) The budget approval and other little administrative details took a bit more than expected and resulted in a delay in the start of the project.
– To find video independent producers has proved more complicated than expected. We found small enterprises engaged in video production and they were interested in the project but our established production budget was not enough for them.
– Captioning the videos didn’t went as fast as planned, but with the subtitlers community growing, we hope this delay will not recur again.
– The budget did not consider the banking cost of sending money to the producers, this will have to be coordinated with the administration.

Goals for the rest of the project:
– We have to work at becoming better known as project to attract more people engaged in the video production.
– Making any of the videos skip to mainstream media.
– Work with some ot he producers with the objective that some of the videos be done under a transmedia storytelling perspective.

See more project updates at

We’re pleased to announce the four winners!

Georgia said:

We’re pleased to announce that the four winners of the first round of the GV Innovation Awards are as follows:

  • GV Multimedia Publishing (Bernardo Parrella) – 3.57 points
  • GV Goes Mobile (Claire Ulrich) – 3.58 points
  • GV—Filming our posts (Juan Arellano) – 3.77 points
  • Cojiro, a cross-lingual curation tool (Tomomi Sasaki) – 3.98

Please note that according to the method used to rank projects, a lower rating average = a more favourable response.

Congratulations to the winners and a big thank you to all who submitted proposals and to the 114 GV community members who voted! We shall soon be contacting the winners to refine and discuss project plans and budgets.

Platform for cross-lingual curation

Hi everyone,

Tomomi and I and our friend Taku Nakajima have been working on a project for the last year and a half called Cojiro, which we submitted to the innovation awards last week. The project is to build a web platform for what we call “cross-lingual curation”: curating content from one language to another. We’ve actually already built a prototype (see below) which we’re currently testing — if we get the grant then it will fund the next stage of the project, which will be entirely open (for more info see the github page we just setup). Continue reading

GV Pig Latin

Well, this isn’t really an Innovative Award proposal or anything similar, it’s a semi-joke and semi-crazy idea to have just for fun. How about adding new lingua sites for artificial and language games used by kids, such as Pig Latin or Inflationary English. The good thing is that we will not need real authors to do this, we can write some script to take an English post and translate it automatically to Pig Latin or so.

Online activism tool, focus on aborigenous rights and women’s place in largely underknown cultures

Ok, to the title is actually an attempt to summarize the three ideas I had. Here we go in a more detailed fashion 🙂

1. Online activism tool.
This actually nicely joins a suggestion that Portnoy made earlier. I am not sure whether this goes into the same direction as his idea though. What I thought about is having a wiki where to create something we can dub “a political memo tool”. As I am very interested in censorship and surveillance be it online, be it biometry, etc., I was thinking of creating this political memo as a database of all deputies and representatives who deal with these questions in countries where we have little knowledge about as the MENA region, for instance. So, in the EU and the US, we know who these people are in general, but not in countries from the MENA region or Asia or the CEE.

Since it is not enough just to have these guys/gals listed, my guess is it may be very interesting to have a crowdsourced tool to collect various things such as “inaccessible website for country X”. This already exist for some EU countries (, by the French citizen initiative La Quadrature du Net). A very useful resource as Telecomix does exist as well (e.g., Blue Cabinet), but RespectMyNet is different: it really aims at gathering factual data about internet censorship. We all know this happens, especially in the aformentioned countries. It would be very useful to gather this data and try to act against. This collection is also a way of educating people: “ah the site doesn’t work, too bad” or “ah, it doesn’t work, good, it is censored, I’ll use a circumvention tool and will access it anyway”. In the former case, people just obey to censorship in a passive way. In the latter case, people just skip the bigger issue: surveillance. And I think this is a crucial thing to work on.

Continue reading


Hello everyone!

We are sort of all aware that mobiles (smartphones+tablets) are invading the world, and are/will be changing the way we pick and read news, interact, comment, crowdsource, form communities. Stats are there to prove it, especially in Africa, where one can forget about landline and broadband at home, but where 3G mobile coverage is growing better and better (sorry, have not a lot of infos on other continents, but I suppose it’s a growing trend everywhere). I’d like to stress that for many young people in Africa, a mobile phone is their first and only taste of the Internet nowadays, and of the Web 2.0 experience, along with SMSs.

With this is mind, I’d like to suggest an innovation project consisting of:   a community discussion + a task force + a pilot project to 1.vamp up our mobile version, 2. think ahead on how citizen news will be impacted by a small screen, a roaming access ( sometimes expensive). What becomes of our mission to connect people and foster conversations on mobile internet?

The questions for now are endless: how do readers search, choose and pick news with a mobile handset in their hands? How do they identify a citizen news media – versus a traditonal media?  What are the successful mobile phone social network such as Mixi (Japan) and MXit (South Africa) doing to capture so many users? Are we condemned to “the app” or is there a more democratic and universal platform? Where do comments and interaction fit in on such a small screen and with very little info about other readers/members ?  Should GV posts be tailored for mobile consuption? On the GV main site or on a sub-site, with shorter entries, that could also be distributed via bulk SMSs ? What about geolocalized translation? When will censorship pounce on mobiles? Etc.

With so many questions, and so many knowledgeable specialists in our community, all with their ear on the ground in their part of the world,  wouldn’t it be useful we create  1- a Nifty GV version for mobiles, 2 – Dive in, and test all the innovations we can pack on a pilot project, to be tested  in a few countries, where our volunteers could provide feedback as beta users?