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Linking “Barefoot Journalists” with Key
Stakeholders to Help Resolve Land Issues

One significant obstacle to the sustainable evolution of our planet is the way that people manage land.  This situation is not new.  What is new is the potential to use communication and social networking technology to give voice to community experiences concerning land issues. The other condition that has changed is that the international community of professional practice around land tenure and use—professional associations, NGOs, researchers, geographic information systems experts, and educators--is now much larger and more accessible than ever before.

A communications gap exists, however, between local communities and the professionals committed to their positive evolution. The Building Bridges program helps overcome this gap.

Terra’s Building Bridges (BB) program is developing a set of activities in partnership with Community Support Organizations (CSOs) and Community Based Organizations (CBOs) to define, test, evaluate and extend a methodology to strengthen linkages between communities and key stakeholder organizations. 

The first pillar of the BB  program is the training of  “barefoot” journalists who are members of communities to produce broadcast quality video stories concerned with land issues and other community achievements and needs.  Bridges aims to assure authentic and accurate community representation and significant involvement in all of the phases of the message production process. 

As the number of community based journalists grows, their organization into a network to support their work becomes necessary.  The initial ideas for a Community-Based Journalism Network can be found at the website: www.cbjn.org

The second pillar in BB is the identification of potential subscribers for the communication clips who work in key stakeholder organizations relevant to the development of communities, including governmental agencies, regional and national NGOs, the local and national press and academic institutions, and extending to international development organizations, press, academic institutions, and international NGOs. 

These two pillars are being connected via social media (e.g., YouTube, Twitter, Blogs, etc), traditional media, workshops, conferences and publications.

Terra has helped the Rural Organization for Mutual Aid (ORAM) launch BB in Zambézia Province, Mozambique.   By mid 2010 there are four “barefoot journalist” working in Zambézia.  By the end of 2010 the goal is for there to be 20 such journalists.   BB is about to begin with other partners in India, Georgia, Peru and Afghanistan as funding becomes available.  An international journalist advisory committee and the International Land Coalition are providing guidance.  We expect other community oriented organizations to join BB soon.

The Building Bridges program is currently being piloted and self-funded by Terra Institute.  Funding sources are being contacted throughout the world to help support this effort. 

If you or your organization is interested in providing program support or if you require more information please contact David Stanfield at Terra Institute:  jdstanfi@terrainstitute.org or +(608) 767-3449



Community-Based Journalism
Training in Mozambique

“Land and Community”
Produced by Nelito Magaia

“Land Delimitation”
Produced by Jorge Figueiredo

“Agriculture and Community”
Produced by Silona Pedro

“Health and Community”
Produced by Eduardo Boffete