Zinester aims To give marginalized groups a voice by teaching them to make DIY magazines and using these ‘Zines’ for social impact and to provide assets for campaigns.
Zinester.org aims to give marginalized groups a voice by teaching them to make DIY magazines ‘Zines’ and use them as tools to generate social impact. Having piloted a 6 x 3 hour workshop at the Wings of Life Children’s Centre in Kibera Zinester.org is now looking for a client partner to fund a workshop that will bring together 30 at risk/marginalized members of a community to unlock the power of their story.
The workshop will train the participants as photographers, journalists and entrepreneurs in order to publish a simple, low cost, lo-fi magazine. By defining their own narrative, participants will be encouraged to present their story in public, meet with local leaders and acquire social capital through mentors. The visual and written assets they have created for their Zine will be offered to the funding partner for use in wider communications campaigns.
What is the issue, problem, or challenge?
NGO’s and development agencies often complain that they are unable to hear the voices of women and children in the communities they visit. In extreme cases girls’ rights to education are barely encouraged so there is limited scope for their ever acquiring the skills necessary to become active citizens.
Kenya where Zinester.org has chosen to launch ranks 147th on the Gender Inequality Index and low literacy rates continue to make it impossible for many to construct and convey the narratives they need to affect change.
While some NGO’s are doing excellent work to deliver the promise of the digital revolution, the skills gap is widening and the power of the big media conglomerates means that little voices seldom have any say in constructing the narratives that define them.
How will this project solve this problem?
Media houses and NGO’s need raw and original voices to remain current, relevant and authentic and Zinester’s program creates pop-up publishing houses focusing on visual storytelling to overcome the barriers posed by low literacy levels.
By partnering with established community action groups who operate out of safe spaces in slums, schools and elsewhere we provide intensive training in photography, active research, journalistic writing, public communication and zine publishing.
After capturing stories in brainstorm sessions we identify the theme which will generate most impact then invite local leaders to a meeting. Having gained the confidence to speak up participants inspire others facing similar issues to take action.
Potential Long Term Impact
The program is designed to be replicable around the world as a model for empowering marginalized groups. By the end of 2016 more than 50 of the participants will have emerged as leaders and been trained to sustain the publications they have helped to found. Boys and men in the community will have learned to respect these leaders, many of whom will be girls. Community leaders and local politicians will have recognized the importance of listening to marginalized members of the community.
Zines will include important gender and health information and sustain their print run via sponsorship deals with local and global donors. Distribution links to zine outlets in the West and a social media presence will allow donors to contribute to specific issues. Funding organisations will be able to leverage the authenticity of the participants’ stories to generate cut through in their communication campaigns.