World Pulse Launches Voices of Our Future
A new online network of women citizen journalists from remote regions across the globe.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 21, 2009—Portland, Oregon — World Pulse, a media organization that covers global issues through the eyes of women, has received over 500 applications from 100 countries for a new program that will train grassroots women leaders from unheard regions on how to use new media to change their lives and uplift their communities.
After a month-long web 2.0 application process, on May 1st up to 30 leading voices will be selected to become a part of World Pulse’s new interactive grassroots correspondents network, called “Voices of Our Future”.
The new correspondents will receive rigorous training from a series of experts in web 2.0, storytelling, and citizen journalism, including how to perform rapid-response reporting via cell phone and how to write Op-Ed stories. Each correspondent will also be matched with a personal empowerment coach, have writings published in World Pulse magazines, and receive a stipend to offset communications costs associated with use of internet cafes and transportation from remote areas.
Priority will be given to women speaking out on the frontiers of social change from some of the most unheard regions in the world. In a twist to traditional competitions, candidates are encouraged to support each other via feedback and problem-solving during the application process.
In the fall of 2009, an international panel of media luminaries, including journalist Mariane Pearl and acclaimed Kenyan blogger Ory Okolloh, will award three of the most high-voltage correspondents an all-expenses-paid speaking tour to the US to influence international opinion and action.
Obisakin Christianah Busayo, a rape counselor from Nigeria says: “I have no doubt in my heart that we are going to shake the whole world through this program. This is our chance for the world to see us as people who can work together in unity and that if we are given the chance we can make things happen. I am ready for this journey and I know we will succeed as we speak with one voice.”
Applicants are currently using World Pulse’s online community newswire, called PulseWire, to tell their stories and collaborate. A fast-growing interactive site with over 2,000 members from 130 countries, PulseWire provides a supportive online space for women and their organizations to share their underreported stories from the field and collaborate to inspire movements and solve global challenges.
Already women are reporting that their lives have changed through the use of the site. “PulseWire has created a hope I cannot describe,” says Leah Auma Okeyo, a HIV+ leader who heard of PulseWire via word of mouth in her impoverished Kenyan town in 2007. Today Okeyo has become a true citizen journalist with a robust network of contacts, a donated laptop, proficiency in the use of Skype, and speaking engagements and scholarships lined up—all a result of her networking on the PulseWire. “I have so many dreams, and now I am going to do them all,” she exclaims.
In addition, microfinance leader Chingwell Mutombu from the Congo met a funder through PulseWire and is today expanding her programs to thousands of women. Educators in Kenya are matching illiterate women with virtual pen pals across the globe to teach them writing skills, and US and Canadian women are finding international volunteer opportunities.
World Pulse editors say they are receiving breaking stories of arrests in Bolivia, violence in Sudan, and protests in Ireland. In addition, unprecedented dialogues are taking place surrounding the conflict zone of Kashmir, between Kashmiri, Pakistani, and Indian women. World Pulse editors follow the newswire closely and will soon begin to channel breaking stories through World Pulse web and print magazine as well as wider international news outlets.