I’m back in Sydney. I’m almost caught up on sleep. Almost. It’s time to start writing about my Project TOTO journey to Tanzania for ActionAid Australia.
I’ll split my posts into two streams:
- Brief essays like my old Unreliable Bangkok series, which I’ll call Unreliable Tanzania. They’ll be personal reflections about my experiences in Tanzania, observing not just ActionAid’s work but also the people, society and country generally — as well as recording my own state of mind. They’ll be presented in rough chronological order, but will weave together thoughts from throughout the journey — much as I did in The Poverty Web.
- There’ll also be posts reflecting on Project TOTO itself. What worked? What didn’t? And, given that ActionAid is already looking for the next outreach blogger, how can we improve things for the next participant and generate more value for ActionAid?
In between, I’ll post my photos on the Project TOTO (ActionAid) Flickr group — but don’t rush there just yet, because currently there’s only photos from the farewell party, and that gives totally the wrong impression.
Now, having explained that framework, this very first Unreliable Tanzania will break the pattern by giving you a quick rundown of my itinerary — because things changed somewhat from the initial plan.
Continue reading “Unreliable Tanzania 1: Fatigue”
Late yesterday afternoon Dar es Salaam time, we finally posted the first posts at the ActionAid Tanzania blog.
It’s been a long journey. On Monday we started with that most basic of questions: “What is a blog?” Then, when we spoke about people adding comments and the comment-moderation process, that inevitably led to further discussions about how the organisation should handle the inevitable problems of abusive commenters, or people who posted material which put the organisation at risk.
We were on the road Tuesday through Friday — and I’ll have plenty to tell you about that in due course — but when we returned to the task on Saturday there were further discussions before the first posts could appear.
How did the fact that two staff members were blogging reconcile with a communications policy that says only the Country Director can speak for the organisation? A disclaimer! What would our first bloggers write about? Introduce themselves! Should we have a formal welcome from the Country Director, given that Tanzania is a more formal country than Australia? Yes!
And there were many questions which regular users of online forums in the West would take for granted. What are “tags”? What’s the difference between “tag” used to describe a folksonomy and a “tag” in HTML? What is HTML anyway? Should I even mention the word “avatar”?
We never did get time to set up RSS readers. I’ll handle that via email. Small steps, and focus on what’s needed immediately.
Explaining social media from the very beginning to intelligent and well-educated people who had not yet encountered it was a brilliant learning experience for me too. I will have more to say.
Meanwhile, please enjoy the introductions from Country Director Rose Mushi, Abdul Kajumulo and Albert Jimwaga. I know they’d appreciate your comments and questions.