Two Days of Innovation
TOL, with funding from IREX, will hold Azerbaijan’s first Social Innovation Camp on 18-19 September. Over those two days, developers, designers, and social innovators will compete in teams to build web-based tools for solving social problems. The results should be a clutch of social startups complete with their own working software, community platforms, and plans for commercial development. For more information, please visit the SIC website.
Minority Coverage in Focus
With the recent events in Kyrgyzstan, the need to improve coverage of ethnic and other minorities was again thrown into stark relief. Toward that end, TOL has launched a call for applications for a distance-learning course on the subject for media professionals and bloggers from Central Asia. For more information or to apply, go to: http://training.tol.org.
Transitions Online (www.tol.org) often showcases the work produced through our grant programs. Some of the highlights from July include the following stories:
1 July 2010
TOL slide show: On Baku’s outskirts, one of the most polluted places on earth, residents live with the legacy of oil.
By Abbas Atilay
6 July 2010
Silence Makes Babies
Adolescent mothers and bleak lives are the toll of one Bulgarian Romani community’s taboo against sex education.
By Michael J. Jordan and Ognyan Isaev
7 July 2010
The High Cost of Talaq
Divorce is on the rise in Tajikistan, and many women are paying the price.
By Faromarz Olamafruz, Botur Kosimi, and Mahina Mehrdod
9 July 2010
Russia starts high-speed rail service between its two capitals, at a terrible price.
By Tamara Panchenko
14 July 2010
Happy Days in Terrible Times
The memoirs of Pippi Longstocking’s translator sell like hot cakes and break new ground in Russian writing about the Stalin era.
By Ostap Karmodi
29 July 2010
Pulling Up the Roots
For Georgia’s few remaining Roma, traditional music goes out of fashion.
By Eka Chitanava and Temo Bardzimashvili
Back to School in Liberia
More than half of Liberia’s schools were damaged during the country’s civil war, and since then, many still suffer from neglect. In one of TOL’s first forays out of our “traditional” region, former TOL managing editor Timothy Spence, now a media consultant, led a training program sponsored by the Open Society Institute’s Education Support Program. In the process, Liberian journalists Ora Garway and Nat Bayjay took an in-depth look at education in their West African country.
TOL’s Expanding Board
TOL’s advisory board welcomed aboard four new members this summer: Jiri Pehe (director of New York University in Prague), Miklos Haraszti (most recently, OSCE representative on freedom of the media), Eva Varga (enterprise development director at NESsT Europe), and David Marek (a partner at ARX Equity Partnersin Prague). The board met in late July for a successful semi-annual meeting and provided invaluable input on TOL’s strategic plan for the next year.
Transitions had the unusual distinction of being singled out for its work in Azerbaijan in a recent USAID request for applications. The call, issued in July for a large-scale new media project, included an overview of the current new media situation: “The Internet is currently one of the most unrestricted informational spaces in Azerbaijan. Intellectuals, frustrated journalists and young people… are comparing, posting and sharing information through a variety of alternative communication systems. They are also introducing their peers to new ideas through these systems. Transitions Online (TOL), a Prague-based freedom of expression advocacy organization, is holding well-attended Caucasus-wide “bar camps” (digital technology conferences) where participants share information, advice and technological know-how.” The call also later highlighted “the network of young on-line activists” that had been attending TOL events, who are “dedicated to sharing and expanding knowledge about the Internet and would likely jump at the opportunity to do the same in their own communities.” We appreciate the recognition, with much of the credit to our team in Azerbaijan, led by lead trainer Emin Huseynzade.