Tag Archives: The Guardian

And it was all going so well…

18 Aug

Adobe Audition and I are not on speaking terms. Numbers 1 all the way up to 5.

Today I, we, encountered our first technical problems- just after I’d had a real life documentary beginning starting to make shape on the monitor. It seems I have two uncooperative and totally incompatible versions of Audition, one at home and one at university. Which unfortunately means I have a choice to make: edit at home, or in the rather restricted summer opening hours at uni. Due to other commitments, it looks like the former has won. University time then can be spent editing the video for the website and recording voice over pieces and dubbed actors.

With only a couple of weeks left, this is quite concerning. Especially as it means re-doing what I thought I’d got done and dusted today. But I’m still determined to use all my fantastic interviewees and their interesting stories as well and as effectively as possible. So, less of a problem, more a stumbling block. -Let’s face it, up until now everything had been running suspiciously smoothly.

In other news, I had a great start to the week inLondon and then moving west to Bath. I conducted my last lot of interviews, and enjoyed some really interesting, in-depth chats about mobile technologies and ICT in Africain general. I was also absolutely delighted to see some of the material I gathered published on the Guardian’s Development website, on behalf of Send A Cow. A favour I was delighted to exchange for the access they kindly gave me to their projects and the farmers they are working with in both countries I visited. I’m no photographer, but it was a real boost seeing them up there! (Hawa, Hirpo, Tarike, Fadlu and Kuafa are the four wonderful farmers who spoke to me.)

Right well, the only way is up, isn’t that what they say?..

Advertisements

Inequality?

20 Jun
My last blog post makes access to online and the availability of social media sound as if we’re all on an equal footing, we’re all involved in this big global discussion. But perhaps that’s not quite the case.
 
I was inspired by a tweet from Guardian Development today. They were also live tweeting from Africa Gathering in London today. They tweeted
 
“We must act to ensure digital access & literacy doesn’t become a new source of inequality @claremelamed#aglondon
 
Are mobile phones considered a luxury? Or a practical tool? Or can they be both? In the UK they are widely regarded as a tool I suppose. But this does not strip the iPhone of it’s allure.
 
Whilst I was in Ethiopia last year, I noticed that many people who owned a mobile phone, had more than one. My host mother had three. Why, was unbeknown to me. But she enjoyed having three mobile phones. Three more than some people that she knew I suspect. Is this inequality?
 
What about the huge regional disparities between the frequency of mobile connections?
 
Or do these inequalities just mean nothing in the grand scheme of things? The M-Ubuntu Project has brought mobile phones into the classroom in two South African schools.
 
Whilst in Kenya I hope to meet the thinkers behind M-Farm They have created a system which uses SMS to allow farmers to access accurate market prices whilst selling their crops. Mobile phones for good? ICT4D? I hope to find out.
 
I wonder whether mobile phones may be a complication and a solution to the problem of inequality. Or maybe this is just progress and development and continuity towards the future.
 

Connecting Ethiopia

17 Apr

http://www.ethiotube.net/nvlab/player/player.swf?config=http://www.ethiotube.net/nvlab/econfig.php?key=745740d4e8c771e011e1

Ethiotube: Linking Ethiopian farming communities to export markets

Connections are being made between producers in Africa and the international market all over the continent. So it’s probably not suprising that things are moving fast in Ethiopia too, like the video shows. Forging these connections is important when 85% of Ethiopians rely on small scale, ‘back yard’ style agriculture for their income.

It’s especially significant considering the other side of agriculture in the country. Something that that Guardian article you can read by clicking on the link above talks about. Agriculture is also big business in Ethiopia. The government have sold huge swathes of land to national and foreign investors looking to grow food cheaply. Berhanu Kebede (Ethiopia’s ambassador to the UK) writes…

“The key is to achieve balance. Commercial farms tend to become hubs that link smallholders to value chains and help spread knowledge and best practice to other farms. So the debate is not about big versus small. We will continue to support commercially viable small farms, which offer increased food supplies, jobs and incomes in both the farm and non-farm economy. This will help Ethiopia achieve wider economic development and prosperity.”

In Ethiopia, mobile technology and agirculture have yet to collide in a big way. I hope to keep looking at the reasons behind this. But you can certainly see from the video that there’s great potential for their use in developing agriculture in the country.

Which leads me to me and an update on my research. I’m currently eagerly searching for ICT4D projects in Ethiopia, and also concentrating on discerning what exactly the situation is there now in regards to NGOs administering support. Still coming across fascinating projects every day via Twitter and a host of new followee’s. Just a shame they’re not in Ethiopia!

Apologies for the video being a little bit melodramatic. Nice to see some shots of Addis Ababa though..which actually, while I’m at it, is not an ancient city like the video sort-of suggests. Addis Ababa is little over one hundred years old. The name itself means ‘New Flower’ in Amharic

…Not that I wish to be pedantic!

Let’s do this…

31 Mar

Blog post number 1.

This is where you can keep tabs on my preparations as I begin to plan my trip and my documentary. It’s all very exciting. I’m also aiming to start putting together a bit of background on my project. It’s a fascinating area and it’s getting its fair share of media attention. So keep checking back to see how I’m getting on.

Getting the website up and running has been a bit of a milestone. I’ll be making changes as the weeks go on, so slowly but surely things will come together.

I’m eager to get lots of really interesting projects on board for the radio documentary, so I’m currently sending lots of emails. More information soon, but it’s all beginning to sound pretty exciting.

Oh and I’m really pleased to say that I’ve been awarded funding for my documentary by One World Media Take a look at the link, the other students’ projects all sound brilliant, a very eclectic mix.

So, whilst I beaver away, watch this space.

In the meantime, my colleague Rebecca Novell is heading to India to make a documentary soon. Take a look at her website.

And for more on African agriculture, watch John Vidal’s report from the Gambella province in Ethiopia for the Guardian. Farming is changing in Ethiopia, as it is all over Africa. The big changes are boosting national productivity, but they’re bypassing, and even marginalising local people.