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Digitally “Mapping” the African World with Visual Media

OBJECTIVE: To empower citizen photographers, writers, filmmakers and sound recordists to utilize emerging information communications technologies (ICT) to construct digital maps having links to sight and sound “portraits” of the contemporary and historical socio-political landscapes of cities, villages, cultures and peoples of African descent worldwide.

GEOafrica began in 2009 during President Barack Obama’s inauguration celebrations in his father’s home village. Students at the Senator Barack Obama Secondary School in Kogelo, Kenya were given several days of training in journalism, writing, photography and reporting by OnLine Africa. We provided the school and Kogelo Village elders with their first cameras and computers so they can continue to generate unique views of their worlds. Many have learned how to effectively document their environments as their contribution to a larger project that is developing the first internally produced visual and aural histories of African villages that have global connections. The Obama School is now linked to a campus of 3 high schools in Michigan as well as schools in Jamaica, Egypt, Sudan, Brazil and Palestine.

Our proposed Digital Roots Project can assist Diaspora citizens who want to trace their historical origins to African villages and share that experience with others over the Internet and TV. Despite DNA analysis that helps discover one's roots, it is financially and tactically impossible for many persons to journey "home" to meet their distant relatives. So we provide a no-cost virtual solution for armchair family travelers.

In 2012 we enlarged our series of ICE projects (Interactive Cultural Explorations) that feature online conversations, training and micro-media production activities for engaging social studies and photography students at sites in Africa, Europe and the Middle East. In 2014, we will expand to China and Brazil.

We recently announced the first of our storytelling, photography and digital design competitions as solutions to our escalating need for more quality stories about life in various parts of Africa and the Diaspora. Prizes will include cash and digital micro-media production equipment.

Check the African World Explorer (AWE) network pages often for further details.

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