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The impact of the World Social Forum (WSF) on the people of Kibera: “People think it is quite a failure” (radio file – transcript at end of article)
Several IMC members are traveling to Narobi, Kenya this month to support an Indymedia convergence during the seventh annual World Social Forum which runs January 20-25th. Media activists from Africa and around the world will be reporting in the World Social Forum, providing hands-on media production workshops, building two low-power radio stations in Kenya, and creating dialogue and cooperative production across borders.
Other IMC members are not traveling to Narobi but are staying at home to support the network by attempting to widen the discussion with the Global Listening Nodes project: a proposal to Syndicate content from different nodes in social centers and other alternative media outlets during the WSF and combine it with content from Nairobi also. A kind of global collaboration on both virtual and physical. Basically getting more social centres and other spaces to open up during WSF as local nodes around planet for people to go to to firstly listen to stuff live from kenya, but also maybe where they could have 2 way systems: being able to participate in forum without physically being there.
But the journey of the WSF has not been without its criticisms. Some claim that the Charter of Principles, which form the core of the WSF process, are not always adhered to with the result of alternative fora being created, as happened for the 2004 European Social Fora in London. Worse still is frustration with the entire social forum process, as happened at the 2002 Argentinian Social Forum because “Radical perspectives were not included within the forum’s debate.” But this year old and new African IMC´istas are working hard to attempt to take the WSF story to the next stage, and for that they are looking for ever more solidarity and collaboration.
WSF links : WSF official page | indymedia WSF page | WSF on wikipedia | Kenya Indymedia | Livre radio wiki | Global Listening Nodes | WSF 2007 in internatinal news : IPS | Ciranda | Lama | Demokrasia-Kenya-blog | Znet
Past IMC WSF coverage : 2006: Venezuela | Bamako, Mali | Pakistan (Znet) : 2005: Porto Alegre, Brazil : 2004 : Mumbai, India : 2003 : Porto Alegre, Brasil : 2002 : Porto Alegre, Brazil : 2001: Porto Alegre, Brazil
How you can help : Tune in: ((radiolivre)) (((imc))) International Radio Show | inform your community | make a listening node | contribute views to IMC-Kenya | Publicise locally | get local radio station to restream | donate cash to the project | tell us what else needs to be done
The World Social Forum is an annual gathering of participants in social movements for global justice, timed to coincide with the World_Economic_Forum.
The World Economic Forum is a meeting of business and political leaders in Davos, Switzerland, which is converted into a military security zone during the meeting, making demonstrations and coverage by Independent Media nearly impossible. Participants at the World Economic Forum are overwhelming European or American and male; non-governmental organizations such as Friends of the Earth and Public Citizen have been excluded from meetings after raising concerns, and Greenpeace withdrew after finding the group uncooperative on issues such as climate change.
The World Social Forum is held in the southern hemisphere each year and largely made up of participants in social movements in response to the poverty, inequality, war, sexism, and state suppression generated by policies pushed by participants of the World Economic Forum, the World Trade Organization, and other forces of global capital.
Rallying around the call of “Another World Is Possible,” the World Social Forum has placed social justice, gender equality, peace, and defense of the environment on the agenda of the world’s peoples. World Social Forums have collectively expanded the democratic spaces of those seeking concrete, progressive alternatives to imperialist globalization.
Regional Social Forums meet throughout the year to support this work. Everyone is invited to the US Social Forum, June 27 through July 1, 2007 in Atlanta Georgia and the Midwest Social Forum. Our local School for Designing a Society will be traveling to the US Social Forum this year.
There have also been various other local Social Forums, European level, national level
Historically Indymedia has had a close relationship with the World Social Forum (WSF), as the Indymedia network of volunteer-run Independent Media Centers grew out of the same movement against neo-liberalism and for global justice that led to the WSF. The Indymedia network now includes over 170 Independent Media Centers on every continent but Antarctica. The Indymedia network has helped spread the world from the WSF from 2002 onwards, ensuring that an Independent Media Center is available at each WSF to allow diverse voices from the Forum to be heard.
This World Social Forum IMC will be focused on not only on reporting on the WSF, but on skill-sharing and solidarity between Indymedia and global justice activists. There will be workshops on web distribution of stories, audio production, radio station building, print publishing, silk screening, and consensus based decision-making. Another goal is to consolidate the energy of local activists in Kenya to resume and energize the formation of a permanent IMC in Kenya.
“Independent Media in Africa continues to be a challenge. While large parts of the populations in Africa still do not have access to democratic and independent media, they are lacking specifically access to more interactive media like the internet that enable not only to receive news but also to produce news globally. Thats why local, private and pirate radio stations or a free radio action and even small-scale newspapers form a strong force of independent media in many African countries. Devoted media activists maintain them. The WSF gives a great opportunity to continue networking between these local activists as much as discuss chances and possibilities to increase the use of the internet for networking and eventually producing more African news for within and beyond Africa,” says Fabian, one of the organizers on the ground in Narobi. And so, trying to create free software alternatives of producing low-band web radio .
Indymedia organizers are working to bring delegates from Kenya, Mauritius, Cameroon, South Africa, Uganda, Nigeria and Mali to the World Social Forum Indymedia Convergence.
Watch http://www.ucimc.org and Kenya Indymedia as the stories unfold.
Audio interview and transcript:
Radio interview with Pastor Nick Macharia, PEPKAG and Tenderfeet. Related article including audio interviews with Macharia: Macharias journey: Kibera and a story of Hope
( #GLN_Radio interview by phone, ((i)) WSF International Radio show : Barcelona, Dublin, Naorobi.
date : Monday 22 January 2007
Apologies for poor sound quality, interview done with audio recorder held to earpiece of phone in call shop in Barcelona)
((i))Africa – Ok so im on the phone here with pastor Nick Macharia who is speaking from Kibera, in Nairobi, in Kenya. The world social forum is on at the moment. Macharia can you tell us about the impact of the World Social Forum in Kibera, what people think about it, are they being listened to, are they getting a chance to tell their story to the world and can things be improved also?
Macharia – People think it is quite a failure, the impact has not been felt in the slums because one, the participation of the people in the slum has not been realised. Because apart from the organisers, they are buying some tee-shirts and taking them to the slum “Kibera for peace” and marching, there isnt much. Because people on the ground dont know even what the world social forum is for and the ideals, and again the occasion the _____________________ its very far away from the slum. If people from the slum have to participate they have to pay more than a hundred shillings 2 and 4, and they are not able to raise that money because they live below the povery line, less than dollar a day, so if you tell these people to give 2 or 3 dolars to attend that meeting, then it does not bring anything to them. Initially we thought that the best way was to take ask at a meeting where the problem is. we dont see the need of people going outside kibera to speak about the problems of Kibera and there is space and everything is there in Kibera. I think if are to make impact the organisers will see the importance of going to the people who really need these services and cutting off those people who only want to make cash out of the situation.
((i))Africa – And is there talk of some of the independant media people coming out to Kibera?
Macharia – Independant media – Yeah i recieved a telephone call from Daniela and she they told me about the kind of people who will be coming to Kibera to _________________ among the peole there and to see for themselves what we are doing there. And Im glad because _____________________________ in the afternoon, they told me we will meet here in town and go there and they are waiting to do some interviews and perhaps to give our overview over the whole thing.
((i))Africa – Aswell as the situation, what message can come from Kibera or is coming from kibera? Has Kibera something to tell the world, has it something to offer the world in terms of people working together or solidarity, or just trying to deal with situations as best you can?
Macharia – I think the message is very clear that these people feel abused. Now that we are living in times when the information is accessible to them and now they know what they need and they can be able to ___________ more clear because they are more informed than they used to be. I think the message is if people are sincere to come and help the Kibera people they should come directly to them and give land assistance directly. But when that assistance goes through other stages sometimes they feel people are using them to make ______________ as they want.
((i))Africa – In terms of the housing situation, are things getting better or worse for the people in Kibera?
Macharia – I think it is not right to even use the word house because houses are not there in the slum. You should call them ghettos or something because as far as i now from the stations of the courts? this a crown land, nobody can own a house there. They are not houses they are only some ineffectual things and these are not owned by the people who live in them,
they are owned by people who are wealthy. Because this is the only place which is near the town, many people move from rural areas, they want to come and look for greener pastures in the town, they will choose to come to Kibera where they can walk to the town to look for greener pasture and because of this you find that the issue of housing is not there becuase you can find one room with so many people living in the same room. Its quite pathethic because even toilets and other things like bathrooms and what have you, are not there.
((i))Africa – Ok, well we will do as best we can to try to get that message from Kibera out to the world and hopefully people will listen and find out more about Kibera and from that offer support more support or assistance or whatever in the future. So Macharia, thank you for your time and tell the people of Kibera that we are thinking about them and waiting to hear from them.
Macharia – Yeah, thankyou very much.