This week Mobile Community Zimbabwe (MCZ) announced the graduation date for the second year’s students, totalling 76 participants. Small World News, in partnership with Free Press Unlimited, helped launch the MCZ project in 2013. Since then, MCZ has trained 122 Zimbabwean citizen journalists and activists.

Mobile Community Zimbabwe is a project that gives ambitious young Zimbabweans a voice and a platform to share and exchange information through mobile phones, video and social media. Using the StoryMaker app on Android-enabled smart phones, the MCZ project equips young Zimbabweans from across the country with skills to use their devices to tell compelling stories about themselves and their communities.

"Mobile Storytelling is poised for growth in Zimbabwe as more people and media organizations are appreciating the power of mobile telephone story production,” says Privilege Musvanhiri, lead trainer of Mobile Community Zimbabwe.

This week Mobile Community Zimbabwe highlighted Witness Taverwisa’s video about Jiri, a local recycler in the Nguboyenja community:

During the 2014-2015 training year, MCZ, overseen by Her Zimbabwe, partnered with two training institutions in Zimbabwe: the National University of Science and Technology and Midlands State University to train university students. Additionally, a partnership with Alpha Media Holdings led the AMH Voices project to publish MCZ videos at NewsDay Zimbabwe.  Universities are especially excited about StoryMaker, “The universities have embraced the use of mobile for storytelling and are now adapting the trainings into their curriculums,” said Privilege.

This year Mobile Community Zimbabwe stepped up its social media campaigning and interactions online. On their Facebook page, MCZ posts photos of the day from stories and different events in Zimbabwe covered by participants. On Twitter the MCZ team have been championing the #MCZinAction hashtag, providing a way for their audience to keep track of their work and participants’ engaging stories.

One recent participant, Mbongeni Ncube, has started a blog to journal his experience and videos made as part of the program. One of his first videos profiles workers in Cowdry Park, an “underdeveloped neighborhood,” who break rocks with hand tools to make a living. [embed this video: 

The program has served to create a great camaraderie among participants.“MCZ has generated friendly competition among the citizen journalists, with each vying to produce the best video, audio or picture story everyday,”  says Natasha Msonza, MCZ coordinator at Her Zimbabwe. “A project structured in this way has resulted in a stronger, more committed network that advances the democratic participation and active citizenship of marginalized peoples and communities.”

At Small World News we are very excited to see Mobile Community Zimbabwe grow and thrive. Welook forward to the graduation. Good luck to all MCZ participants in your upcoming video competition!

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