Awasqa Update: Promoting Language and Communication Justice

After a long hiatus, Awasqa is on its way to a new phase. Based on its original goals of promoting language and communication justice for indigenous and afrodescendant groups in Latin America, Awasqa is going through a website redesign that will allow us to create a more collaborative process.

After many months of an exhaustive search, Awasqa has decided to partner with Common Knowledge, a not-for-profit workers cooperative in London that builds digital tools for grassroots organizers, to help us build a new collaborative website. Together with Common Knowledge, we will organize several meetings with partners across Latin America to build a website that will allow indigenous, afrodescendent, and environmental community journalists and communicators post their own news. The website will include a collaborative editorial space, a backend to have posts translated to English by professionals, and most importantly, post funding requests for their communications projects and needs to directly reach funders in economic privileged countries. We believe communications is one of the least funded areas, yet key for the success of people’s movements and civil society organizations.

We have also hired a Communications Manager from the community of indigenous communicators and artists in Ecuador, who will help us steer this process. Part of this hiring decision was to free ourselves from the heavy burden of fundraising for an NGO in the United States, which requires a budget of close to $1 million! Our immediate thought was, how many indigenous radio stations in Latin America could be built with $1 million? (The answer is over 50.) All Awasqa administrators based in the US are volunteers.

Thus, we have geared away from becoming a full-fledged nonprofit, which will significantly cut down costs, to invest grants instead on designing and maintining the website, creating a phone app to make it easier for folks to post their own news, create a volunteer collaborative editorial board, and hire professional translators to make culturally appropiate translations, with an eye on language justice.

We will keep updating you in the next couple of months!