A. Background
As part of the Spring 2013 Dialogue Series at the Earth Insittute’s Haiti Research and Policy Program, Kimberly Green, president of the Green Family Foundation, spoke of the need to reframe our understanding of Haiti’s situation after the 2010 earthquake. The Earth Institute’s blog State of the Planet captured her views:

“In the post-earthquake period, most foundations and policy lost sight of cultural development, instead consistently presenting bleak outlooks that frame most narratives of Haiti in donor reports and the media.”

Specifically, Green focused on the need for media use amongst young Haitians to promote arts and cultural activities. The tension arises when mainstream media and donor narratives dominate the discussion of priorities, focusing on a narrow swath of services.

Again, from State of the Planet: “Despite the difficult reality facing many Haitians, Green emphasized that these areas of art and culture are usually neglected by traditional aid, policy and development programs.”

This perspective situates Haitian existence as a matter of survival and emergency, when in fact, such a view overlooks a vibrant segment of Haitian society and disrupts the quest to regain normalcy. Green emphasized that “cultural creativity also reinforces the underlying currents of development.”

Similarly, in a Global Post article from 2012, Donovan Webster writes, “To Haitians, a people who’ve long existed beneath colonial or business overseers, art has always been an escape. It’s more than a simple means of self-expression, it’s a way of claiming not only individuality but independence from the larger forces at work on Haitian life.”

In the truest sense, art represents an escape for Haitians who resist the notion that they are needy victims. Caught in a development trap that rarely asks what Haitians want to or can do about their circumstances, media production, especially through music and documentation, will enable young Haitians to produce their own means for development, and enjoy the process of that production.

Certainly, the hundreds of millions of aid dollars have helped Haiti, but not enough, and not in the rights ways. For a country where 85% of individuals use cell phones, over 10% of the population now has internet access, and where 55% of the population is under 24 years old, the greatest resource of all is the dynamism and desire of the Haitian people to move themselves forward.

Though many music fans will know Wyclef Jean as one of Haiti’s most popular musicians, the list of talented performers is much longer. With costs of technology coming down, new musicians can hone their craft and easily promote themselves through digital production. With the right skills, a laptop and some basic equipment, young Haitians can now record their own material and give themselves a shot to get on the airwaves. Radio remains the single most important medium for news, updates, entertainment and the exchange of information in Haiti, as in many developing countries. Film, too, is enjoying new interest.

While most of the aid has focused on Port-au-Prince, other areas have been neglected, but they are leading the way in social innovation. In Jacmel, the Cine Institute (“Haiti’s Only Film School”) is bringing professional film production training to aspiring Haitian filmmakers. Digital media production is spreading fast over Haiti. It is giving voice to a generation of Haitians that have seen their country moving in the wrong direction and who have something to say about it.

B. Objective: Harness multimedia and information-technology (IT) skills for youth media-producers in rural communities

Development aims at the improvement of overall living quality while recovery efforts seek to restore –incrementally– a degree of normality. Compact media-focused projects can achieve both objectives by complementing traditional schooling with extracurricular learning opportunities for youth, opening up creative outlets for their social interests through music and documentary and other multimedia productions.

C. Project Activities

This project envisions establishing six workstations each equipped with a laptop and audio-visual recording equipment (headphones, microphones, etc.). Over six months, participants will work in small teams to learn technical skills and, more importantly, project planning processes to author and produce their own media content such as music, radio stories, short videos.

A Project Coordinator will lead bi-weekly workshops, alternating between modules on technical training: equipment use and editing techniques on computers; and storycraft: how to write scripts and develop ideas. Between each training module, team members will work together to apply the Coordinator’s lessons. Once a month, a guest will deliver a lecture to provide participants with an expert’s perspective on media, show samples of high quality work and help answer questions about how to pursue their media interests. The Project Coordinator will reach out to local media experts to volunteer their time for each lecture.

By the end of the program, teams will have learned how to structure their ideas, divide up tasks and work as a cohesive unit to produce pieces that they can share with their communities and even online. The project will also help participants develop small-scale revenue-generation ideas to market their work and their newfound technical skills.

The teams will choose to focus on creative media projects in the following formats:

Music recording
Students will learn how to record sound, write songs, edit audio files and produce quality audio recordings to promote their own work. Students will pay particular attention to song structure and how to manipulate it for stylistic effect as well as the fine points of sound engineering with available equipment.

Radio storytelling
Teams will identify key questions or events based on their experiences in post-earthquake Haiti. Working in groups, participants can take turns discussing their personal narratives, refining those moments into radio stories and discussing how development solutions might help address relevant social issues.

Documentary film
Students will learn how to shoot and edit short documentary films. Instruction will help students seek interesting subjects and characters, ask investigative questions and focus on documenting the impact of development aid and the earthquake on their lives.

Cost Estimate: $25,000

D. Project Logframe and timeline:

Activities

Indicators

Means of

Verification

Assumptions

and Risks

Music Production

Workshops

i. 12 Bi-weekly instructional workshops on recording and mixing
ii. 12 Bi-weekly group work sessions – practice: perform, record, and edit
iii. 6 Monthly Instructor lead recording sessions
iv. 6 Monthly Guest lecture
v. 6 Monthly listening sessions
  1. 75% Attendance rates
  2. Group participation
  3. Project Deadlines
  4. Finished productions
  5. Web clicks
  • Low proficiency levels
  • Low attendance
  • Equipment loss

Radio Storytelling

Production Workshops

i. 12 Bi-weekly instructional workshops on storycraft and editing
ii. 12 Bi-weekly group work sessions – writing, recording, and editing
iii. 6 Monthly Instructor lead recording sessions
iv. 6 Monthly Guest lecture
v. 6 Monthly broadcasts
  1. 75% Attendance rates
  2. Group participation
  3. Project Deadlines
  4. Finished productions
  5. Web clicks
  • Low proficiency levels
  • Low attendance
  • Equipment loss

Short Film Production

Workshops

i. 12 Bi-weekly instructional workshops on film technique, storycraft, editing
ii. 12 Bi-weekly group work sessions – writing, filming, editing
iii. 6 Monthly Instructor lead recording sessions
iv. 6 Monthly Guest lecture
v. 1 Project-end screening
  1. 75% Attendance rates
  2. Group participation
  3. Project Deadlines
  4. Finished productions
  5. Web clicks
  • Low proficiency levels
  • Low attendance
  • Equipment loss





Additional Resources


Other Pages: