The Launch of Rising Voices Amazonia Microgrants


Are you a community working for, from, or in the Amazon and have an idea of how participatory media can help tell your story? Do you need funding and support for it to become a reality? Do you want to be part of a network that helps bridge the digital participation gap in the Amazon?

If you answer “yes” to all three questions, then we invite you to take part in the 2014 Rising Voices Amazonia Project.


amazonthumbRising Voices, the outreach arm of Global Voices Online, supports people in sharing knowledge and skills about citizen media for digital storytelling and citizen participation. Since 2007, we have supported 45 small-scale citizen media projects with funding and mentoring and welcomed them to the Global Voices community.

These projects have helped local leaders introduce new and underrepresented voices to the global digital conversation, shining a light on issues that are important to their own communities.

Beginning in June 2014, with support from Avina Americas, Fundación Avina, and the Skoll Foundation, Rising Voices will launch a microgrant and network-building project focusing on supporting new voices using citizen media from communities in the Amazon Region.

Deforestation, infrastructure projects with little to no prior consultation, and threats to unique cultural ways of life are just some of the challenges facing Amazon communities across South America. While the Amazon, a region that spans nine South American countries, has provided rich subject matter to academics, researchers, and traditional journalists, these important issues are also increasingly appearing in online citizen media and on social media. Yet, there are many more stories that are worth telling about and by the very communities that face these realities.

We believe that through the use of citizen media tools, mentoring, and networking opportunities that these voices can help empower citizens to tell their own stories.


We will be awarding up to six micro-grants up to USD $3,500 to projects with a strong and clear idea for how to utilize participatory media tools to tell the story of issues important to them. These funds may be used to start a small-scale project that includes an important training component designed to include the local community in the creation of this digital content. New grantees will join the Rising Voices network and will be featured prominently on Global Voices.

Rising Voices seeks proposals that share our mission of using online participatory media as a tool for self-empowerment, understanding between people, and social change.

We are looking for projects that:

1. Actively engage members of the local community. We are especially looking to support leaders who themselves belong to these Amazonian communities and know how and why citizen media could benefit community members. If the applicant is not a member of the community, local residents or community members must be a part of developing and implementing the project.

2. Provide training, mentoring and leadership. We want project leaders who are eager to share their knowledge and skills with others. Through hands-on training in citizen media production and storytelling techniques, participants will feel equipped and confident to take full advantage of the tools. Ongoing support is essential in the formation of a productive digital storytelling community.

3. Tell digital stories about issues important to the Amazonian community. After participants take part in training workshops they are ready to share their voices with the world. We are looking for stories that give insight to the community, their challenges or successes, told from a uniquely personal perspective.

4. Use free and widely available citizen media tools and social media platforms. This may include blogs, microblogs like Twitter, free software like Audacity for editing audio, SoundCloud, Audioboo, or Radioteca. Video sites like YouTube and Vimeo, or mapping with OpenStreetMaps. You might also consider using social networking sites like Facebook to distribute your content.

We encourage you to be creative and ambitious, yet realistic in your proposals. See the Frequently Asked Questions for additional information.

To apply, please visit the “Submit a Proposal” page in Spanish or Portugese, where you will find short questions that will help you outline your project plan. We encourage concise answers (with specific character limits) to help you organize your thoughts into what matters most.


We encourage you to share your applications publicly on our online platform. Our hope is that communities working near each other, or on similar issues, can connect and collaborate. Following the open call for proposals, we will work to help facilitate connections and provide other resource-sharing between communities from the same geographic region or that share similar challenges and contexts.

If you are not able to share your application openly for security reasons, you have the option to submit privately.


The competition will follow the following timeline process:

Open for Applications: Friday, June 13, 2014

Applicants submit their initial proposal via the online platform in Spanish or Portuguese. However, if you wish to submit the proposal in another language of the region, please contact us in advance and we will every possible arrangement to accept proposals in other regional languages. Once the proposal has been published online, we invite applicants to share their proposal with their networks, to solicit comments and receive input from others.

Please make sure to read the Frequently Asked Questions about the application process.

All proposals will be reviewed by a committee of individuals from the Global Voices community, and from Avina.

Application deadline: Friday, July 18, 2014 at 23:59 GMT

Winners will be announced: September 1, 2014 (subject to change based on the number of proposals to be reviewed).

Please feel free to ask questions by leaving a comment or by sending an email through our Contact Form.

Good luck!


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