Stories of Queer Africa

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Stories of Queer Africa

Kenya
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Budget: 
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

None on Record works with community members as citizen journalist to document the experiences of QLGBT Africans.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

3. LGBT organizing has been happening on the African continent for decades. As more visibility has been afforded the community violence targeting LGBT people has risen. The recent murder of David Kato in Uganda is an example of this. Media has played a large part in inciting violence against these communities—many LGBT people have been outed in newspapers and radio programs. LGBT people have not been able to control how their image has been distributed through a skewed media that often inflames homophobic rhetoric. None on Record works to change that. None on Record began as an oral history project that collected the testimonies of LGBT Africans took on the role of training LGBT activist to document their own stories and create media to counteract the mainstream media’s message.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

None on Record (NOR) is a global production company that produces media about Africans that identify as queer, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (QLGBT). NOR is working to end violence, discrimination, isolation and hate crimes against Africans that identify as QLGBT on the African Continent and in the Diaspora by putting media-making tools in the hands of community members, teaching media literacy and supporting the production of sound and video documentary making in African countries. NOR works with satellite teams comprised of QLGBT Africans to produce and distribute work through outlets like BBC, CBC, NPR, NBPC and online media sites as well as human rights organizations, community-based organizations and local/ community radio stations throughout the world. NOR emphasizes working with community members who act as citizen journalist and interviewers to document the lives of QLGBT people in their region. Each region targets an area of interest for their documentary work. For example, the North American region is currently focused on asylum seekers in North America. The Southern Africa region creates media about the treatment of QLGBT immigrants in South Africa. NOR emphasizes documentary storytelling and cultivates journalism and research skills in its members. We have satellite programs in Johannesburg,Toronto, Canada and in Nairobi which will soon become our home base. NOR has created an archive of QLGBT African experiences to support the struggle for equitable treatment in African countries and bring the stories of QLGBT people into major media outlets.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

NOR is solely focused on media as a tool for social justice and activism. Many organizations that are working to organize the African LGBT community are not using media to further their aims. Most are using the combination of direct service, community organizing and legal recourse to fight injustice. NOR fills the need for media that is often lacking from community campaigns, from radio shows, from web-distribution and platforms that reach a local and international audience. NOR can do this because we focus solely on media production as our goal to support African LGBT equity. Where campaigns and organizations work solely on women’s/ girls issues, transgender issues, or gay men’s issues, NOR works with all populations facing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Because we are a multi-gender, multi-issue organization we have a diverse work force and can bring several issues to the forefront in one centralized location (web) and get information into the public discourse. None on Record not only creates advocacy and visibility but also creates opportunities for participants to develop skills in digital media and journalism. NOR will work with community members to take part in our workshops, record interviews and work as citizen journalist to produce media about community issues. We will also have teams that work on media advocacy and distribution—getting radio pieces on the air and into the public discourse.
Sustainability

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Because most organizations focused on QLGBT issues are direct service based, an organization like NOR exists to produce issue focused media and journalism about LGBT Africans. I have met and interviewed with several of the leading African LGBT media organization based on the African Continent as well as in the United States and Canada and have assessed that an organization that is specifically focused on digital media on a global scale does not yet exist, nor is there an organization that serves as a digital communication hub. We have worked with community-based organizations in Canada, South Africa and the United States to record interviews, do workshops and presentations to assess what media needs are needed and can be met in different regions. Our constituency is a global one and because there is no media organization working specifically in this capacity located on the African Continent or in the Diaspora we are uniquely positioned to influence this area of media making.
About You
Organization:
None on Record: Stories of Queer Africa
About You
First Name

Selly

Last Name

Thiam

Twitter URL

Twitter.com/noneonrecord

About Your Organization
Organization Name

None on Record: Stories of Queer Africa

Organization Country

, NY

Country where this project is creating social impact

, NA

How long has your organization been operating?

1‐5 years

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Innovation
Select the stage that best applies to your solution

Growth (your pilot is up and running, and starting to expand)

How long have you been in operation?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Social Impact
FOUNDING STORY: We want to hear about your “Aha!” moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution’s potential to change the world.

In 2004, Fanny Ann Eddy a prominent QLGBT activist was murdered in the offices of the Sierra Leone Lesbian and Gay Association (which she founded) in Free Town, Sierra Leone. Her death meant the silencing of one of the few “out” QLGBT activists in West Africa as well as the end of the organization she founded. Her murder was testament to the realities of living as QLGBT in parts of Africa and illuminated the courage she had in order to organize.Her murder had a profound impact on me. I wanted to know what were the realities for LGBT Africans on the Continent. A year after her murder, I began interviewing Africans who identify as QLGBT. I traveled with a mini disc recorder holding interviews at homes, community centers, wherever people were interested.I learned that people felt outside of their cultures and had few around them that identified as African (or QLGBT). And secondly that people were afraid of what was happening to African LGBT people. I knew these stories would transform listeners. That is when I learned that a story is the shortest distance between two people. I decided to focus not only on North America but travel to Africa to collect stories there.

Specify both the depth and scale of your solution’s social impact to date

NOR’s first interview aired on NPR in the fall of 2006 and the project officially launched in the winter of 2007. NOR is currently in a growth stage. The project has established an online archive, collected over 250 interviews from all over Africa and North America and began a production that documents experiences of asylum seekers. NOR has also held “think tanks” or meetings of QLGBT Africans in New York City and Toronto. Interviews are archived at the New York Public Library as well as the GALA archives in Johannesburg.

What is your projected impact within the next 1-5 years? Is your idea replicable? If so, how?

In five years, NOR will have satellites in five African countries that are community-led and maintained (providing jobs and training) and producing interviews to be distributed on local and international media outlets.

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and mark growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
Six-Month Tasks
Task 1

A training in Nairobi that invites community members from all over East Africa to learn media and journalism media skills.

Task 2

Revamp the None on Record website to distribute more complex media like video and radio stories.

Task 3

Target sustainable funding sourced including crowd sourceing

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone
12-Month Tasks
Task 1

Three sustainable satellites--one located in Kenya, South Africa and Senegal

Task 2

Journalist work from region distributed on local and international media

Task 3

None on Record's website is a hub for information and digital media about LGBT Africa

How many people have been impacted by your project?

101 - 1,000

How many people could be impacted by your project in the next three years?

1001‐10,000

Sustainability
Explain how your company, program, service or product is structured

Non-profit

What barriers have hindered the success of your project to date? How do you plan to overcome these and other challenges as you grow your solution?

Because journalism projects have limited funding resources, raising money through foundations and government granting agencies is challenging for us but we are utilizing as many grassroots fundraising strategies that we can. If we raise fewer funds than we projected than it would mean that we would not be able to make as many documentaries for the calendar year or that we will have to find alternative methods to gather the information. We are brainstorming them currently and are always looking at ways to generate more income. If we raise fewer funds than projected our major priorities are the post-production and distribution of the interviews collected to date and small media trainings throughout East Africa.

How do you see the information-technology and media sectors shifting over the next decade? How will your solution adapt to and/or drive that changing environment?

NOR will stay abreast f changes in media distribution, the use of social networks and new tech savy ways to tell stories. We will share this information with our constituents and staff.

Failure is not always an option. If your solution fails to gain traction in the next two years, what other applications of the idea could you explore?

If NOR is unable to reach our target funding than we will work in a smaller model of operation until our goal is reached.

Expand on your selections, explaining how you will sustain funding

None on Record has been nominated for a Union Square Award, an Astraea Foundation US Fund Panel Grant, A New York Arts Council Award, CLAGGS Fellowship and a CBC Documentary Development Grant. Other funding sources that we are approaching include Atlantic Philanthropies and the Ford Foundation. We are beginning to look at funding sources that are not based in North America as well. When, None on Record has a tax status that allows for US and international funding we will be able to fund each satellite based on geographic location. Because we are building a network of private donors, we are using the grassroots model of fundraising to reach our goals.

Tell us about your partnerships

None on Record has worked with community based organizations in Kenya (Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya, Minority Women in Action and Internews), South Africa (the Gay and Lesbian Archives, Behind The Mask) and community groups in Rwanda and Senegal. We have also worked with scores of individuals by training them to document their stories.

What type of team (staff, volunteers, etc.) will ensure that you achieve the growth milestones identified in the Social Impact section?

None on Record's staff is made up of program managers in various regions--East, South and West Africa and North America.This staff conducts media and technology trainings and outreach in their region. Managers are also heavily involved in fundraising for their region. Currently None on Record has a staff of four and a committed advisory board.

Changemakers is a collaborative and supportive space. Please specify any community resources you would need to grow and sustain your initiative. Select all that apply

Investment, Human resources or talent, Marketing or media, Research or information, Collaboration or networking, Innovation or ideas, Mentorship.

Specify any resources you might offer to support other initiatives. Select all that apply

Investment, Human resources or talent, Marketing or media, Research or information, Collaboration or networking, Innovation or ideas, Mentorship.

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren’t specified within the list
Summary
Define your company, program, service or product in 1-2 short sentences

None on Record produces media about QLGBT Africans and trains community members d to document their own stories.