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Featured Blogger: Nat Nyuan-Bayjay

Nat Bayjay, Ceasefire Liberia's Blog Manager disembarking UN helicopter in  Voinjama

Nat Bayjay, Ceasefire Liberia's Blog Manager disembarking UN helicopter in Voinjama

As Blog Manager, Nat Nyuan-Bayjay has his finger on the pulse of the bloggers of the citizen media project Ceasefire Liberia. He is convinced that the work of these bloggers is helping shine a light on some of the social, political, and development problems that Liberia's young population are facing. In addition to recruiting new bloggers for the project, Nat is responsible for making sure that the Ceasefire Liberia blog remains updated with new postings from the bloggers in Liberia and in the diaspora.

The role is a natural fit for Nat, a married father of 3 daughters and who hails from Buchanan, the 2nd largest seaport city. He had been working as a journalist and continues to work for the organization FrontPageAfrica. It was through his blogs, Natlyn's Blog and Entertainment Lib that he was contacted by Ruthie Ackerman, the project's founder to be a part of Ceasefire Liberia. In an interview with Rising Voices, Nat spoke about how he has evolved with the project after agreeing to be a part of it:

since then, we’ve moved beyond mere friends but partners who have decided to get Ceasefire Liberia’s dream across of bridging the gap between the Liberian community in Liberia and the rest of the Diaspora. Its mission is to create a dialogue between Liberians who remained in the country during and after the war and those who fled the war.

Being a bridge is one of the most important duties as Ceasefire's Blog Manager. Not only does he support and encourage the bloggers, but he also makes sure that they have everything they need in terms of logistics. The result: Ceasefire Liberia's blog has an active and diverse selection of blog topics ranging from education to elections to soccer.

liberiatrc_-22Even though some of the subject matter written by Ceasefire bloggers focus on some of the ongoing problems of the country, Nat highlights the recent posting about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission reports, and how it will help determine “the country's next path in its recovery drive for the next years to come.” Ceasefire blogger Leroy M. Sonpon, III writes about the importance of the report:

The Country Director for Action Aid Liberia, Ernest Gaie, is warning the Government of Liberia, as well as its international partners, of the re-occurrence of another war, if the recommendations of the final unedited reports of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) are quashed.

Mr. Gaie, in a poignant tone, stressed that the TRC recommendations are indispensable to the path of national healing, and if overturned, will destroy the hope of the many victims and survivors of the civil war.

Nat also contributes to the site, and Ackerman points to his recent stories about the riots that took place in Voinjama between the Mandingo tribe and the Lorma tribe, which she considers as “his best work.” In addition to a photo essay about the aftermath of violence, Nat gave a personal face to the victims of the riots. Ackerman said how his writing is helping these victims:

His stories received a lot of attention from readers and one reader who also runs an organization is attempting to get help for a victim of the violence who still has a bullet in his head from the riots”

summit-badges-200Because of his work with the Ceasefire Liberia project, he is one of the invited guests to represent the Rising Voices projects at the Global Voices Summit in Santiago, Chile on May 6 & 7 and speak about their work.

He mentions that he is looking forward to the networking opportunities and the chance to tell firsthand about the work that Ceasefire Liberia is doing, as well as its hopes for future activities. One of these planned activities include the start of a local anti-violence campaign for youth, who will play a crucial role in the country's future. Nat also articulated about his plans to help “transform” the country.

My dream is to introduce what I call “Transformative Journalism” in Liberia—an idea that will encourage journalistic works that will help transform our war ravaged nation. I also dream to introduce an anti-violence campaign that deter youths from seeing violence as the remedy to problems.

Attendees of the Global Voices Summit can see for themselves and meet Nat to learn about his commitment to informing the world. Ackerman finishes by saying:

Nat's work changes lives in Liberia and beyond and is a constant reminder to me of why citizen media is important.

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