The rains down in Africa

Keith July 11th, 2009

I have been following the “TOTO challenge” for a while now.  ActionAid Australia is sending Australian bloggers to remote parts of the world. Why? To help give poverty a voice:

Using blogs, Twitter, Facebook and more, the outreach blogger will travel to one of ActionAid’s program countries to help locals harness the power of social media to secure their human rights. You don’t need to be a blogging expert, you just need to have an open mind and be passionate about fighting the root causes of poverty. Social injustice and poverty are easy to ignore when hidden from view. Your mission will be to help bring attention to the scandal of poverty.”

The bloggers will spend one to two weeks in a remote community, blogging their experiences, and – importantly – training locals to use tools such as Twitter and blogs to shine a light on social injustice and human rights abuses.

One blogger has already been there to check out how the program will proceed. Read about Stilgherrian’s experiences on his blog.  Read some further discussion on how challenging this really is on Laurel Papworth’s blog – particularly read some of today’s comments (11 July).

Some very worthy people are now nominating themselves to be outpost bloggers. I have also put my hand up. My nomination text is as follows:

Most nominees here are far more worthy of this than I am – seriously. However, if you still need any more candidates, consider my hat to be in the ring.

I blog (and tweet – @kdelarue), and I have taught people about blogging.  I have been writing my own web sites for 10 years.

I absorb other cultures by eating in Lebanese restaurants in Sydney Rd, Coburg, and go to difficult, remote places by walking around Little India when I go to Singapore to speak at conferences.

The most adventurous thing I have done is to travel 5,000 km by motorcycle from Melbourne to Karratha, WA, in 6 days (29 years ago).

I enjoy writing and talking, researching and teaching. I have been known to get passionate about injustice, and I support Oxfam and others from the comfort of my armchair.

I am not fazed by having to set up my own technology under difficult circumstances, and am quite used to helping others to get things working as needed.

Work-wise, I only need approval from myself to make the time available to go.

Does any of this qualify me to help out with this project? Probably nothing like as much as others here, but drop me a line if you run out of the really suitable people, and I’ll be there.

One thing I didn’t think to include here – I also seriously believe in the power of social media to break down walls, open up communication, and build a new era of transparency and trust!

Oh, and why “TOTO”? It stands for The Overseas Training Operation (although it may be easily confused with a certain rock band formed in 1977, or a small dog in Kansas).

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