We are at the midway point in theVoices of Our Future training program and our 2013 class has already produced a thoughtful and inspiring body of work. The 31 Correspondents, representing 27 different countries, are creating a network of support by listening, brainstorming, challenging, and boldly tackling urgent international issues. Through our citizen journalism and digital empowerment training curriculum and monthly writing assignments, the Voices of Our Future Program is equipping women leaders with skills to lift the voices of the women in their communities.
"More than ever before, I now know what is possible when women are afforded an opportunity and allowed to speak out freely... I just want to keep speaking until I see the desired change!"–Greengirl, 2013 Voices of Our Future Correspondent, Nigeria
The program provides one-on-one support through relationships established between Correspondentsand their Editorial and Vision Mentors. These mentors get to know the Correspondents on a personal and professional level over the course the five-month program.
"The idea that our simple exchanges of communication are helping to create concrete, positive changes in communities around the globe inspires those of us in the program to keep striving to realize those visions of which the correspondents write and speak." –Tara Celentano, Voices of Our Future Editorial Mentor, United States of America
We are witnessing how the collaboration of over ninety women from all over the world can manifest into a community of shared learning and support.
“My mentors literally changed my life.” –Shahd Majeed, 2013 Voices of Our Future Correspondent, Iraq
One way World Pulse cultivates Correspondents' leadership is by identifying conferences they can attend to build their networks.
What effect does a program have after it ends? We have watched the successes of our Correspondents continue to build after they complete the program.
We are overjoyed to be part of their journey and movement to change the paradigm! We are excited to see what this year’s Correspondents will accomplish.
2013 Voices of Our Future
Over 600 women applied from 101 countries for the fourth year of our citizen journalism and digital empowerment training program. The resilience, determination, intelligence, and passion exhibited by the applicants this year is truly inspirational.
Amidst a phenomenal pool of applicants, 31 women from 27 countries stood out—each one demonstrating exceptional leadership and vision with great potential to drive change. These grassroots women leaders are the voices of our future. Join us in welcoming the our newest Correspondents!
“Gaining skills in citizen journalism made me more empowered to make my voice heard. I now feel the importance of the role I play by sharing the stories of my country with the whole world through World Pulse.” —Mirette Bahgat, 2012 Voices of Our Future Correspondent, Egypt
Over the next five months, these 31 women will receive training to help them actualize and vocalize their visions for change. They will gain skills in conducting interviews, writing and producing profiles, op-eds, and multimedia packages. They will also learn how to use social media as citizen journalists, streamline their online experience, and use mobile phones to support their social change work.
Get to know these voices. Throughout the coming months they will be bringing first hand news and perspectives from regions as diverse as the United States, Democratic Republic of Congo, and the island nation of the Maldives—while focusing on opportunities to lift their communities.
“The support that I got from my fellow Correspondent sisters increased my self-confidence a hundred times over…I have become more empowered as a leader.” —Rahel Weldeab, 2012 Voices of Our Future Correspondent, Eritrea
The 2013 Correspondents will navigate the training curriculum with their fellow Correspondents and World Pulse online community members by their sides, and the support of a growing network of Voices of Our Future alumni.
“I became a better writer with help from my Editorial Mentor. Most important was the confidence gained in my ability to communicate on critical issues and embrace my own writer's voice.” —Juliette Maughan, 2012 Voices of Our Future Correspondent, Barbados
To ensure success on this journey, each woman will also be paired with a personal Vision Mentor and Editorial Mentor. This year we considered nearly 150 mentor applications from women from all over the globe. These women are professional life coaches, mentors, journalists, authors, and bloggers. They are generously donating nearly 3,000 hours of their time and expertise to make this program a reality. The lasting relationships forged in the program benefit Correspondents and mentors alike. We have brought aboard our team 92 Mentors!
“I am proud to say that I am a World Pulse Vision Mentor—it's now on my resume that I am mentoring a young Kurdish woman from Syria. This seems to be my connection, however small, with one of the most agonizing present-day conflicts, and my chance to provide support to someone who is determined to make a positive difference for her people….” —Sarah Whitten-Grigsby, 2012 Vision Mentor
This program would not be possible without the contribution, entrepreneurial spirit and generosity of our program partners The Global Press Institute, Op-Ed Project, Ellen Wingard, and Frank Smyth.
“There can be no full freedom of the press until women have an equal voice in the news-gathering and news dissemination processes” IWMF Global Report on the Status of Women in the News Media
There is not a single nation in the world where women have an equal voice. Across the globe, the challenges facing grassroots women leaders - such as gender-based violence, lack of education, inadequate health care, and political oppression - are compounded by societies and leadership that do not value the role of women in building solutions. Women comprise 51% of the world's population yet currently worldwide women hold only 17% of Parliamentarian seats, 15% of corporate "C-level" positions, 1% of media editors, and 20% of non-profit leadership.
We are at a remarkable place in history where new media has the potential to provide extraordinary opportunities for women to access, actively engage with, and drive global conversations. Women are taking to the streets in Yemen, Libya, and the Ivory Coast protesting injustice, political corruption and violence in their communities. But do they have the skills and knowledge to participate in regional and global conversations reshaping their future? Will their voices be heard, their protests addressed, their solutions implemented?
This year Voices of Our Future is preparing to launch its fourth annual citizen journalism and digital empowerment program three short months. This year our application process is right on track to expose over 600 women to the basic principles of new media and women's empowerment through our month-long online application process. Once applications are completed, thirty women who demonstrate solutions-oriented writing and strong leadership skills are selected as Correspondents.
We are one again working with program partners (Global Press Institute and Op-Ed Project), Our staff trained the thirty Correspondents on the principals of practicing ethical citizen journalism. The learning in our online classroom are divided into four modules which focus on: conducting an interview and writing a profile; writing about a timely issue which affects their community and is related to larger global concerns; writing an op-ed; and writing a feature-length article which ties together the skills they’ve learned in the previous modules. Each learning module has an associated writing assignment, which Correspondents posted to our online community at World Pulse.
Social and digital media concepts and opportunities are integrated within each learning module. Correspondents were taught how to: pitch stories online and offline; use blogging, Twitter, and Facebook; create podcasts; use mobile phones to access the internet; and how to use these new tools to amplify their voices.
The training provided during the Voices of Our Future program is strengthening and lifting
“World Pulse has helped me realize the potential of my voice. I have always known that I was born to write and to speak, but through World Pulse, and through seeing what impact my writing has had on women of different colours, creeds and countries, I am more convinced than ever that I can and will make a difference” 2010 Correspondent, Fungai Machirori, Zimbabwe
In three years, Voices of Our Future has exceeded expectations:
We are excited for our fourth year and our continued impact globally.
Since our last report in September, we are proud to report that we have completed the World Pulse LIVE Tour and have deepened our work on the holistic integration of our programs to ensure stronger Voices of Our Future 2013 program and launch.
World Pulse LIVE
Our third annual World Pulse LIVE tour was our most successful yet! Hummingbird from Syria, Neema Namadamu from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Stella Paul from India spoke in front of engaged audience in New York, Portland, OR, Washington DC, and Atlanta, and delivered their personal stories and passionate visions for empowering women by harnessing the power of technology. Some of the successes include:
Program Integration 2012-2013
The key benefits of our 2012-2013 integration initiative are:
Digital Action Campaigns
Successes to date include:
In 2013, our next campaign focusing on girls’ empowerment will launch just after the Voices of Our Future application process, giving our applicants as well as correspondents more opportunities to stay engaged. Additionally, we are considering gearing one of the application questions towards the girls’ empowerment theme so that we can generate additional content for the campaign and further our programs integration.
Deepening Alumni Engagement
Community Leadership Program
The Community Leadership Program is a tool to incentivize community participation and self-management, recognize leaders and empower them with the training and trusted roles to activate, manage, curate, and grow our online community of grassroots women leaders worldwide. In the first phase of this program, we identified and launched two key roles: Vocal Contributors, who are online community members who lead in maintaining high levels of engagement and activity; and Welcome Committee volunteers, who are community members who welcome each and every new member and make them feel at home when they join.
Our goal has been to promote these current roles to our Correspondents, develop Phase II with an eye towards incorporating more alumni, and promote all roles to our class of 2013. Currently:
We are currently developing Phase II of the Community Leadership Model, and are imagining two potential new roles: Regional Ambassadors who will activate and welcome members from their region as well as convene in-person meet-ups; and Hub Page Curators, who take the lead on highlighting topic specific content, share resources and lead engagement.
Increasing Visibility of Correspondents Stories
We are pleased to announce that our Editorial Team has just finished designing a new strategy which we believe will take our content to new heights, engage our community, synch up with Voices of Our Future content, and increase the number of women’s voices being heard on key issues in media at and key forums. Moving forward into 2013, our Editorial team will employ some or all of the below activities:
Our Editorial team is already seeing the results of our new strategy:
Launch of Voices of Our Future 2013
We are excited to launch our 2013 program in March and start recruiting our new class of women leaders, vision mentors and midwives, and listeners.
Thank you for your continued support in our work!
This fall, three amazing women representing the energy and power of the World Pulse community will come to the US for the first time to lift their voices. These grassroots leaders will reveal how they are using the power of new media and technology to change lives and create solutions on the front lines of today’s most pressing issues.
Hummingbird, Stella Paul, and Neema Namadamu were selected to represent the 2012 Correspondents and our larger online community at the World Pulse Live media and speaking tour events this September and October. These three women will be traveling with the World Pulse team to New York, NY, Portland, OR, Washington, D.C, and Atlanta, GA to share their experiences with you.
Meet the Correspondents
A VOICE FOR CHANGE IN THE MIDDLE EAST Hummingbird, Syria "It is never too late to stop the damage. Together we can save the children of Syria."
As her country sinks into deepening violence and family members disappear, Hummingbird has broken through fear to find her voice. A member of Syria's Kurdish minority, she calls for an end to the horrors of a war where children are massacred in the streets by government forces. Her dream is to use digital media to transform Syria by unleashing women's concealed aspirations and wisdom to awaken the world to alternate paths to the nightmare unfolding across her country.
EXPERTISE: Human Rights, Digital Media, Women’s Economic Empowerment, Ethnic Minority RightsA VOICE FOR THE RISING POWER OF WOMEN IN INDIA
Stella Paul, India"The women of India are a rising army of change makers, taking microloans to buy cell phones and start businesses, and fighting displacement, corruption, and environmental degradation."
Growing up in impoverished Northeast India, Stella barely survived as an unwanted girl child. Now, braving kidnappings and threats, she is telling the stories of marginalized women to a world audience and training women to find their voices and tell their own stories. For her, community-based media and citizen journalism are transformational keys to ending women's inequality.
EXPERTISE: Climate Change, Food Security, Sustainable Development, Rural Empowerment, Conflict, Appropriate Technology, and Innovation
A VOICE FOR REVOLUTION IN THE WORLD'S WORST PLACE TO BE A WOMAN
Neema Namadamu, DR Congo“I don’t want to make a little noise—I want to change the paradigm!”
Afflicted by polio since the age of two, Neema grew up in the Eastern Congo, a region ravaged by an epidemic of sexual violence and war. Today she is an outspoken, tech-savvy woman mobilizing and empowering scores of women, including women with disabilities, to change the future of her nation. A determined visionary, she is also pushing to establish a national communication network to better connect rural Congolese people to the world.
EXPERTISE: Disabled Rights, Environmental Protection, Peace Building in Conflict, Indigenous Rights, Internet Communications Technology
Our Correspondents will be speaking to diverse audiences around the country, including at the Clinton Global Intiative, Mercy Corps, Intel, and the US Department of State. Additionally, they will be interviewed on CNN’s iReport. For complete details please visit the link below.
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