Announcing the 2012 International Activist BlogHer Scholarship Recipients
By Polly Pagenhart on April 13, 2012
BlogHer Original Post
Today we are thrilled to announce the four recipients of the 2012 International Activist BlogHer Scholarship!
Now in its fourth year, this award is designed to both recognize and magnify the impact of women bloggers living outside the United States who are using their blogs to raise awareness, consciousness, or funding to change their community, region, nation, or the world. The award -- which includes travel to New York, several nights' lodging, and conference registration -- brings four women to BlogHer '12 to network with attendees and expand their knowledge and resources. They'll also speak on a panel with fellow International Activist BlogHer Scholarship recipients about the challenges and rewards of doing the change work they're doing with their blogs online and in their countries. It is a win-win for us all.
The International Activist BlogHer Scholarship has its roots in a "pay it forward" story. In 2008, BlogHer won the Anita Borg Social Impact Award, which honors "an individual or team that has caused technology to have a positive impact on the lives of women and society." When Lisa, Jory, and Elisa asked community members what should be done with the $10,000 in prize money, folks loved the idea of bringing activist bloggers from developing nations to the conference to be honored and "to meet their blogging sistren." And thus was one of the annual conference's most cherished features born.
This August it will be an honor to meet, celebrate, and listen to the four recipients introduced below.
Ana's mission at Sex and Sensibilities (SAS) is to "promote awareness of positive sexuality and the intelligent discussion of sex in the context of informed choice and the value of self-love," particularly for young lower-middle class-to-middle class women, to whom fewer aid resources are directed, but who are in demonstrable need. Ana notes that the Philippines has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the Asia Pacific region; it is the only country in South East Asia with no national reproductive health law in place; sex education is not taught in schools; and in some places the sale and use of contraception is banned. In addition to the blog, SAS conducts workshops on sexual health in universities and offices, and has formed agreements with other websites and e-zines to share content and extend the reach. Ana seeks to expand the reach of SAS still further via video and other digital media.
Fungai Machirori, Zimbabwe, publisher of Fungai Neni.
[Fungai was selected for 2011, but was unable to attend the conference. We're thrilled to see her this year.] "Fungai Neni" means "think with me" in the local Shona language of Zimbabwe, and this is what publisher Fungai Machirori invites her readers to do with her. She tells this story: 'Once, after a backlash from some men, I considered toning down the voice and content of my blog -- they said that a 'real Zimbabwean woman' didn't say the things that I was saying and that I was only alienating myself from men. This was very hurtful and so I posted something about that on my Facebook wall. It was only when women wrote back telling me that what I wrote gave them courage to speak up too that I realized that I could not ever keep silent."
Maha Elsanosi, Sudan, publisher of Mimz.
Maha, a full-time biomedical engineer, engages Sudanese civil society, both locally and in the Diaspora, "in all things pertinent to Sudan... and most importantly encouraging them to break the silence and fear barrier and advocate for their fellow oppressed brothers and sisters across the Sudanese states." Through her blogging and reporting, as well as work with projects such as To Sudan With Love (which she founded), the newly launched Voices of Sudan, and the newly launching 500 Words Magazine, Maha helps provides a platform for Sudanese writers, commentators, and non-politically-affiliated individuals to voice their opinions and to connect with the international community.
Tara Livesay, Haiti, publisher of The Livesay [Haiti] Weblog.
Minnesota-born Tara Livesay has been living and working in Haiti since 2006. Her blog, to which her husband Troy is an occasional contributor, documents work they've done in Haiti with Heartline Ministries' Heartline Women's Program, which provides prenatal and midwifery support as well as a birthing center, a residential teen mother program, and more. As one of her several nominators noted, alongside her work, "she is always, always telling the story of Haiti through her blog" which "has had a huge impact on the way people understand the needs there."
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