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Zambia: Bloggers Form Zambian Bloggers Network

Zambia bloggers have formed a network called the Zambian Bloggers Network with the help of HIVOS. Announcing the formation of the network on The Zambian website, Brenda Zulu wrote:

Zambian Bloggers with the help of HIVOS are setting up a BLOG Ring for the Zambian Blogosphere to help in the generation of local content. We hope to work virtually and also meet in person during the monthly meetings to network on many issues. We hope to generate funds through micro payments, doing some relevant jobs to content creation and management and also through adverts. We still welcome grants, any donations and sponsorships to cover a lot of costs including high internet costs.

Zambian Bloggers hope to redress some of the inequities in the traditional media by leveraging the power of citizens’ media. We believe in freedom of expression and hope to focus our attention on the most interesting issues around Zambia by linking to social media, blogs, photos, podcasts, video and other forms of grassroots citizens’ media.

It is hoped that with the BLOG RING, Zambian Bloggers Network can grow to be consistent in it’s news coverage and regular in blogging and also become visible to Zambians and the world over. To critically reflect on the Zambian society issues, the bloggers hope to enlarge spaces of expression. It is hoped that bloggers may receive appropriate training in all forms of blogging and web 2.0 applications.

The network's description on its website reads:

Brenda Zulu – Zambian journalist and blogger. Photo courtesy: Brenda Zulu.

This is a community of Zambian Bloggers who are to bring reports from blogs and citizen media, with emphasis on voices that are not ordinarily heard in mainstream media.

We hope this space will enlarge spaces of expression for bloggers to critically reflect on the Zambian society.

The platform hopes to provide bloggers with capacity building in WEB 2.0 applications and introduction to new media.

Florence Gichoya was one of the participants at the network´s first meeting in Lusaka. She wrote:

Most of the bloggers are journalists interested in new media, they blog about health, politics, gender, environment etc. There are also two photo bloggers and a cartoonist.

What I gathered from the meeting was that there is a gap in Zambia in areas of podcasting and video blogging.
The rate of blogging in Zambia has also been very low. And the main objective for the network is to strengthen the Zambian blogosphere. Brenda emphasises that as bloggers “we are stronger together”. There are many voices that are not heard in the mainstream media therefore the bloggers give those issue a voice.
During the strategy meeting members decided to create a blog ring and blog collectively on contentious issues for instance, gender based violence, homosexuality, abortion and early marriages. They also agreed to have more online interactions on blogs, dgroup and other social networks.

The network plans to start mentoring and training programs:

What’s the future?
The future projects that they came up with were: They plan to have more mentorship programs for the upcoming bloggers. Also training on new media is imperative for every blogger in order to ensure more readers access their articles. Impart skills on how to make money through blogging. Training on web page designing and create general awareness on blogging. Creation of more Zambian content and to set the agenda for Zambia on issues affecting the citizens e.g. water, road safety, HIV and AIDS and gender development.

Writing about the state of Zambian blogosphere in 2010, Zambian Economist observed:

A strange thing has happened in the Zambian blogosphere. Rather than grow, it appears to have shrunk in recent times. In the early days of this blog we saw all kinds of other Zambian blogs popping up. Today very few Zambians blogs are update or maintained. Many people discovered that starting a blog is quick and easy. Few realise how difficult it is to maintain one. This incidentally is not a Zambian phenomenon. Today, millions of blog start-ups still exist on the web, but much of the blogosphere is beginning to look like a graveyard. Huge gaps in posts posted and the phrases “Sorry I haven’t posted lately” is the first line of many a front-page post.

The state of Zambian blogosphere looked promising in 2007:

The Zambian blogsphere is growing. Two years ago one would struggle to find a regularly updated blog covering any meaningful issues. I am happy to report that is now changing. New blogs are being created at pace faster than I can count. And the good news is that what were personal entries are now being transformed into meaningful blogs that seek to encourage dialogue and trading of ideas.

On 12 July, 2012 Global Voices published an interview between Soneka Kamuhuza and Brenda Zulu about the state of Zambian blogosphere. When asked about the current attitude towards blogging in Zambia, Brenda noted:

Well there is a number of Zambian bloggers but most of them live in the Diaspora. Many Zambians living in the Diaspora blog frequently than Zambians living at home. This is also associated with issue of access to the internet for Zambians at home. Many Zambians can now access internet on their mobile phone where they can mostly do micro-blogging. Otherwise, some even connect their mobile phones to their computers if they would like to do some blogging. Others access the internet from internet cafes, libraries, use mobile dongles, rabbits, wifi, etc. Internet access in Zambia is not cheap even with the coming of optic fibre networks. As one moves away from the city to rural areas access to the internet doubles while losing mobile networks.

Zambians living at home are not prolific bloggers. There are many Zambian blogs online but most of them are dead blogs as they are not updated frequently. Many Zambians are good at micro-blogging and the use of Facebook. Zambians use Facebook more than any other social media platform. Very few Zambians are on Twitter and among the few that have Twitter accounts very few use their accounts. Many claim that they don’t know how to use Twitter.

Zambian Bloggers Network can also be found on Facebook.

7 comments

  • Networking amongst bloggers would really help in promoting the new media, more so, when the subjects are themselves the promoters.

    I wish the Zambian Bloggers Network success!

  • It is a good platform for Zambian bloggers. There is a lot to learn from one another in the network.

  •  I am a blogger from Tanzania i would like to form Tanznia bloggers network can you assist? http://www.squidoo.com/mshauricharles

  • ALFRED NGOMA

    hello im ALFRED NGOMA FROM TANZANIA WE ARE DEALING WITH CLEARING &FORWARDING PLS CONTACT US FOR ANY REQUIREMENTS +255713490461

  • This something I also long to see in my country Nigeria. thanks for the enlightenment: http://www.scarletnews.com

  • Derrick Sinjela

    Kabanshi’s Free HIV Zambia dream

    By Derrick Sinjela reporting for Rainbownews Zambia

    COMMUNITY Development Mother and Child Health Minister (CDMCH)
    Emerine Kabanshi says concerted efforts will result in transforming Zambia into
    an HIV free nation through male circumcision interventions.

    Describing Zambia’s national Male Circumcision Programme as
    a success African story, Kabanshi expressed optimism that Zambia had the
    potential of reaching the target of an HIV free country worth emulating.

    In a speech reach by CDMCH Minister Dorothy Kazunga, during
    a Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) Media Briefing at Radisson Blue
    Hotel in Lusaka, Kabanshi described the
    circumcision of 800, 000 males since 2007 as reason for her optimism in Zambia
    effectively curbing new HIV infection by 2025.

    “I am proud to announce that Zambia’s National male circumcision
    Programme is on of the most successful in Africa. We have circumcised over 800,
    000 males since 2007. Through this service our boys and men have accessed HIV testing
    and counseling and other HIV prevention services. My ministry will continue to
    provide VMMC in integration with other reproductive services. For instance,
    women who accompany their spouses for VMMC can also be accorded an opportunity
    to be screened for cancer of the cervix. With this collaborative effort, I am
    confident that Zambia has the potential to achieve her goal as an HIV free
    nation,” Kabanshi said.

    In addition to complementing HIV and AIDS interventions
    through medical male circumcision, Kabanshi reiterated the need to dispel myths
    and misconceptions that male circumcision does not prevent pregnancy, cause
    impotence or eradicate erectile dysfunction, cure a man who is HIV positive and
    offer 100 per cent protection against HIV.

    Kabanshi pointed out that the media had power to impact
    positively on the lives of people through provision of health information,
    which invariably facilitated and empowered citizens to make informed health and
    sexuality decisions.

    “I prod the Zambian electronic and print media to continue
    educating citizens on the benefits, risks and limitations of male circumcision.
    Journalists and media houses must create awareness by spreading regular, clear,
    and accurate information about male circumcision and its benefits. We cannot
    continue to allow myths and misconceptions to prevent men from undergoing a
    procedure which ihas the potential to save their lives,” advised Kabanshi.

    However, stressing the need for Abstinence, Being faithful
    to sexual partners and Abstinence (ABC), Kabanshi argued that if Zambia is to
    effectively convince all men and boys to seek the VMMC service, it was
    essential to intensify preventive measures such as correct and consistent
    condom use, screening and treatment of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs )
    and sexual partners being mutually faithful.

    Kabanshi argued that Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision had
    a number of benefits which include reduction in urinary tract infections in
    infants, reduction of penile cancer, protection against STI’s, protection
    against sexual cancer and maintaining penile hygiene,” Kabanshi said.

    “Evidence from three separate studies have shown that male
    circumcision reduces a man’s chance of contracting HIV by approximately 60 per
    cent. If we reach our goal of circumcising 80 per cent HIV negative adult males
    by 2015, we will prevent about 340, 000 new infections by 2025,”Kabanshi
    observed. http://www.derricksinjela.blogspot.com =Ministry of Local Government and Housing (MLGH) Permanent Secretary (PS) Dr Chileshe Mulenga with MLGH Minister Emerine Kabanshi Government Complex in Lusaka Tuesday 20 August 2013 pix by Derrick Sinjela.

  • Soyala mwale

    We are YESHUA TECHNOLOGIES (www.yeshuatechnologies.com), a
    startup based in Lusaka, we have launched a Product called KAIROS,

    (www.shop.yeshuatechnologies.com)its
    an E-commerce Online Store like AMAZON or EBAY but based in Zambia and run
    locally, we display a Large category

    of product and potential clients are able to purchase and we
    ship anywere across Zambia With a quality of service on mind. We would
    appreciate if

    you could feature KAIROS and YESHUA TECHNOLOGIES on your
    platform.

    Best regards

    Mr Mwale

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