A digital class in Senegal – Intro (part 1)

Djilor - 'skyline'

Djilor – ‘skyline’

Djilor is a small village located in Senegal, in Fatick region, 200 km away from Dakar, near the delta of Sine Saloum.
Even if we can consider 200 km as a short distance from Dakar, there is a huge gap in terms of health and daily life: here malaria is endemic the whole year and a simple diarrhea can cause a serious disease. The only hospital is in poor conditions.
In spite of these problems, telcom technology is widespread: smartphones are very common and mobiles work everywhere. If you talk to teenagers about internet, they immediately ask for a Facebook account. The only internet point is in Fimela, at a walking distance of half an hour, and wifi connection is available only in couple of touristic and expansive lodges.
Fortunately, in one of these lodges, we were able to manage our ‘digital classroom’ with some secondhand laptop donated by an European company.
After a short visit to a local festival, we spent our first day installing software, cleaning virus, resetting keyboards, translating in French, dusting down computers, testing connections … On Sunday night, everything was ready for our first class in Senegal.

… to be continued …

Djilor - main square

Djilor – main square

Setting up computers

Setting up computers


International Woman’s Day: nothing to celebrate

In these days all the Italian media are reporting about ‘crimes of passion’ in my country. In 2011, 97 (ninetyseven!) women were killed by their husbands, boyfriends, partners. How can we define a crime as a passion? Isn’t it a sort of cultural justification of power of possession?

Together with these crimes, sexual abuses are still alive and most of them are committed at home.

I was really impressed reading about an important a photography project by Grace Brown. This project is called Project Unbreakable. Grace uses photography to help heal sexual abuse survivors by photographing them with posters that hold quotes from their attackers.

Project Unbreakable

Project Unbreakable by Grace Brown

At the same time, in another part of the world … we are in Africa, but the “topic” is always the same: crimes and violence against women.

In order to create awareness, 70 climber from 30 different African countries are climbing Kilimanjaro. This initiative is part of an important campaign called Africa Unite (http://www.africaunitecampaign.org/), which aim is to enforce national laws to punish all forms of violence against women.

So … let’s start again with new ideas on International woman’s day, considering it not as a celebration, but an important opportunity to increase awareness, spread the voice, fight all forms of violence against women, all over the world.

Carnival in Gomorrah’s land, or the wish for a normal life

Scampia's carnival

Scampia's carnival parade stops along its way to send its message to citizens and invite them to join - (c) 2'012 nicoletta di tanno

I’m proud to introduce a special guest for a very special post: Nicoletta Di Tanno. She accepted to share with us her experience in Scampia, and her passion for social photography.
She is a communication specialist with more than 20 years experience in international environment, and volunteers for Shoot4change.
A child from Scampia

A child from the Scampia football school represents the school on the top of their float - (c) 2012 nicoletta di tanno

Ever since, Carnival celebrates the subversion of the ordinary. In Scampia, the neighbourhood in the outskirts of Naples described in Saviano’s best-seller ‘Gomorrah’, subverting the ordinary means that residents can occupy their territory, reclaiming their ownership.
The driving force of this carnival is the G.RI.DA.S association, meaning ‘Group for awakening from sleep’. This association, founded by a couple, Mirella and Felice Pignataro, has since decades bravely been providing a centre of social aggregation and cultural initiatives in this difficult area of Southern Italy.
For the 30th year, Scampia’s carnival proposes to schools and to the local community a parade for expressing creativity, and a day of collective re-possession of public spaces – the real Occupy Scampia! Social issues are at the heart of this carnival, denouncing inequalities and injustice as well as representing local initiatives and achievements.
In this context, different initiatives and associations, both local and from elsewhere, meet in the morning of Carnival’s Sunday in front of GRIDAS’ base, to walk the neighbourhood in parade through its streets and buildings, often off-limits on an ordinary day, using dancing, masks, protest and proposals to raise awareness among those met along the way.
This year’s theme was “Your money or your life, i.e. this is the way it goes”, around which children, citizens, boy-scouts, Roma people, musicians, relatives of convicted and many others, brought their message along with carnival floats and masks.

It was simply impossible not to be involved! The enthusiasm and commitment of all participants was overwhelming. The aspiration to live a life as much ordinary as possible, based on work, integrity and justice, shows through in every instant and in every representation. From the parade, an invitation to join was constantly addressed to the many people that from home look at the march out of their window, revealing a wish for participation that can’t be achieved.

Masks and symbols, positive and negative, coexist in the parade in a symbolic fight. At the end of the path, reaching a nearby Roma settlement, an allegoric bonfire destroys negative symbols while the positive ones are kept, and the parade is joined by the Roma community.

Being within and together the parade as a photographer was a unique experience, joyful and hopeful. One of those that heal your spirit, because they bring about solidarity and the best out of each and every one, in spite of a lieu commun that would make you think you wouldn’t find them there. A virtuous circle, where positive calls positive, and where you hope you can come back again.
Scampia's Carnival

People watching the carnival parade in Scampia from their windows -(c) 2012 nicoletta di tanno

Scampia's carnival

A child watches the carnival parade as it passes through a courtyard. He was possibly forbidden to join - (c) 2012 nicoletta di tanno

Scampia's carnival

A child from the Roma settlement joins the parade crowd with his bike - (c) 2012 nicoletta di tanno

Blogging day to free Rossella Urru


Rossella Urru #freerossella #freerossellaurru

I’m proud to join today the campaign to free Rossella Urru, the Italian woman working for the International Committee for the Development of Peoples (CISP) that was kidnapped on the 23rd of October in Raguni, Algeria, the administrative centre of the Saharawi population refugee camps.

This blogging day is part of an important campaign supported by important media such as Rai TG3, as well as bloggers and websites from all over the country.

If you’d like to be part of this campaign, don’t forget the hashtag: #freerossella #freeRossellaUrru

My social media week … how to raise awareness

I attended only few events of Social Media Week in Rome. Unfortunately.

I mean … less than the number of events I was interested in.

But  I appreciated very much “Social Media & No Profit: not only Social Marketing” conference. I’m really involved in these two topics, but I didnt’ have any direct Italian experience.

I was surprised by discovering that most of  the people that attended the conference, didn’t know the in-depth power of a social media campaign. Barcamps are an unknown practice. In communication field, social media are often used as a showcase, a window … no more.

So, that’s why this conference has represented  a great opportunity, as  we afforded important experiences as a fund-raising project, a no-profit platform and different campaigns.

Please, spend few minutes of your time watching these videos and spread the word!

Fund-raising for Haiti

Blog Action Day 2010: water!

Hi All,

it’s a honour for me attending for the third time the Blog Action Day.

This year topic is WATER.

Why water?

Because over large part of the world, people don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water. Moreover, pollution and global changes are causing a water quality degradation.

One of the Millenium Development Goals by United Nation says “Halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking-water and basic sanitation” (MDG 7, Target 7c).

There so many different issues related to this topic, as we can’t consider it solely a human beings issue.

Fortunately, the number of initiatives, programmes, projects is fastly growing up, but it is fundamental to constantly hold the attention on this issue, as water is a global issue and affects all of us.

In my opinion, ‘to hold the attention’  means to do something every day, as little changes in many people can make a big difference.

For this reason, I decided to use this post to inform you about few projects, in which everyone can be easily involved.

Join the pipe:  Have you ever thought about the power of a social network?
I was really impressed when I read about a social community of tap water drinkers. As Geraldo Vallen and Lorenzo De Vita say in their web site “At the beginning of 2009, two friends living in The Netherlands, a country constantly threatened by floods and too much water, had the dream to redistribute water in a fairer way”.

The idea was to design a original set of reusable bottles, produce it and sell it to the community,  in order to raise funds to finance water projects in Asia and Africa.

Now the community is composed by 1732 members and they sold more than 1200 bottles. And this is just the beginning of the dream …

Walk for water: In many rural areas (especially in Africa), people needs to walk more then 6 km to reach the wells. As children are often involved in this task, it becomes  impossible for them going to school.

“Walk for water” is an event created 4 years ago by a group of volunteers to raise awareness, reminding that million of people have to walk such a long way to reach this primary source of life.

Fresh water in Italy: In my country, there is a low awareness about the waste of water. People think that water is an unlimited resource. There are many pipes are in bad conditions, taps in our house are often useless opened.

Furthermore, we use to drink mineral water, even though the quality of water from waterworks is very high. It means an increasing pollution due to transportation of thousands of bottles of water (mainly plastic bottles).

In these days one of most important Italian supermarket chain (Coop) is involving its customers in a large scale campaign.

These are just few projects in which everyone can be involved in every day life.

What do you think to join at least one of them?