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Help Room Proposal

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  • Andrius Kulikauskas
    The Knight News Challenge has extended their deadline by two months to December 15, 2009. I decided to resubmit my proposal from last year for a Help Room
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 16, 2009
      The Knight News Challenge has extended their deadline by two months to
      December 15, 2009. I decided to resubmit my proposal from last year for
      a "Help Room" and get feedback on how to improve my proposal. I may or
      may not have any chance to win but I would very much appreciate the
      feedback. I would also like to find related partners.

      Here is my proposal:

      and I also include it below. Thank you for your thoughts!


      Andrius Kulikauskas
      Minciu Sodas
      +370 699 30003

      Project Title: Help Room

      Requested amount from Knight News Challenge: 180000 USD
      Expected amount of time to complete project: 3 years
      Total cost of project including all sources of funding: 360000 USD

      Describe your project:

      The Minciu Sodas laboratory www.ms.lt includes an online chat room

      We wish to staff our chat room around-the-clock as a central venue to:

      * organize a worldwide culture of independent thinkers
      * live as family, to help each other, to welcome all, to care and share
      * think out loud and grow as independent thinkers
      * learn to participate in online venues such as wikis, discussion
      groups, blogs
      * help each other tutor, research, counsel, shop, learn IT, translate,
      advise, spread news, make contacts
      * support ongoing projects and personal endeavors
      * respond to emergencies.

      In three years we wish to run our chat room as a sustainable business.
      We will develop independent income streams to support:

      * 1 full-time business developer
      * 1 part-time software developer
      * 3 full-time organizers who attract participants in different time zones
      * 16 part-time chat coaches who engage and help all who come
      * 64 volunteer hosts who lead regular chats to advance team projects and
      related business proposals

      We will staff our 24-hour chat room in:

      * Africa and Europe
      * the Americas
      * Asia and Australia

      We will do outreach in the United States, Latin America, India and
      China. We will chat in English but also other languages, including
      Lithuanian, Kiswahili, Bosnian-Serbian-Croatian, Spanish and Chinese. We
      work publicly, in the Public Domain. Our chat room will be the central
      hub of a social network of 10,000 online participants who actively help
      each other to help 1,000,000 people on-the-ground.

      How will your project improve the way news and information are delivered
      to geographic communities?

      We make local news meaningful by providing immediate response.

      In 2008, Minciu Sodas was the online world's most responsive network for
      helping Kenyans during the post-election turmoil. At our chat room, we
      coordinated the flow of news from SMS and Skype and letters to wiki to
      Ushahidi and blogs and reporters. We organized response. Our chat room
      is an entryway where we greet people. We ask them what they value,
      investigate, wish to achieve? We embrace people with marginal Internet
      skills and access. We sign them up for discussion groups and our Ning
      social network. We teach them to use wikis. We help every person be
      newsworthy. We wish to help everybody who wants global response, whether
      to a personal concern or a regional emergency.

      How is your idea innovative? (new or different from what already exists)

      We are live people.

      We organize around our chat room as the center of our social networking
      world. We live in a world that is 90% business and 10% charity. Instead,
      we seek a world where 90% is helping each other for free and 10% is
      extra paid work. Our chat room is all purpose for all people. We engage
      each person as an independent thinker of universal interest. We foster a
      culture of sharing, inclusion, Public Domain, working for free alongside
      working for pay. Our culture attracts helpful thinkers in Africa and
      Eastern Europe who staff our chat room for modest stipends from sponsors
      (such as churches) and business opportunities (such as translation). Our
      chat room organizers offer global teams for emergencies and strategic

      What experience do you or your organization have to successfully develop
      this project?

      In 1998, Andrius Kulikauskas founded Minciu Sodas as an online network
      for independent thinkers. We have 150 active and 2,000 supportive
      participants. We've written 35,000 letters and 5,000 wiki pages. In
      April 2007, we finished work on My Food Story www.myfoodstory.info for
      Unamesa Association. For $24,000, our 100 workers in Kenya, Tanzania,
      Uganda, Cameroon, Nigeria, Palestine, Lithuania, Latvia, Serbia, India
      and the USA collected 2,000 food stories. Sasha Mrkailo of Serbia then
      staffed our ARSC Chat room. Andrius customized the software. We have had
      85,000 lines of chat. Pamela McLean leads a monthly chat with
      poor-bandwidth Africans and rich-bandwidth Westerners to learn from each
      other. We chat to build teams, engage groups, welcome newcomers and
      coach activists. We chat as we work online. In 2008, we organized the
      Pyramid of Peace www.pyramidofpeace.net of 100 helpers online and 100
      peacemakers on-the-ground to avert genocide in Kenya. We coordinated our
      leaders to overcome tribal anger, engage gangs and open roads for food,
      medicine, fuel and refugees. We distributed $25,000 to about 1,000
      volunteers who helped about 10,000 people directly and 100,000 people
      indirectly. We shared mobile phone credits as an emergency community
      currency. We saved lives. We can embed our organizers from East Africa
      and Eastern Europe in other time zones such as inner city Chicago, rural
      Missouri, Silicon Valley and Oaxaca, Mexico. We have a vibrant gift
      economy, an "economy of dreams".

      Please note: Our work is in the Public Domain, not any form of
      copyright, so all may share freely.
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