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'A minute for my rights' youth video project in Argentina

© 'A minute for my rights'
Youth work in teams to film their video as part of the 'A minute for my rights' youth media project in Argentina.

By Erga Sonnenberg

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina, 1 April 2009 – Young people have discovered an important medium for promoting children's rights in Argentina. Since 2005, 'A minute for my rights' (Un minuto por mis derechos) has brought creative children together to make one-minute films.

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Over 2,000 young people aged 12 to 21 from various backgrounds have participated in the project over the past four years. Most live in impoverished areas of the country and have limited opportunities for creative expression.

During one recent five-month period, a group of participants learned technical and visual skills, and then used them to create and produce a series of one-minute videos. In the process, they engaged in dialogue with their peers, reflected on their rights and thought critically through the creative process.

Working it out together

Most of the teens had no prior filmmaking experience. Teamwork was essential to their success, as all the videos were produced through group collaboration. The workshops offered not only technical support but also guidance on addressing difficult and emotional subjects. All the participants were encouraged to share what was on their minds.

© 'A minute for my rights'
'A minute for my rights' participant Lorena Maizares at work on her video project.

"There was a part that was tough.... We absolutely needed to get the shot, and thanks to everybody we did it, and it was great," explained Mariana, a participant from Salta.

Diverse youth, diverse topics

Participation in the project is open. Many young people discover the programme in school or through local organizations. Some don't attend school, in which case the project can be instrumental in helping them resume their education.

The topics of the videos are as diverse as the regions in which the participants live. Among the issues addressed are free speech, identity, sexuality, domestic violence, discrimination and exclusion, as well as youth cultural expression and the environment.

"Violence towards children and adolescents is an area of concern that affects the lives of many young people," said Nadia, 18, a participant from San Martín de los Andes. She hopes the government will do something about the violence – and that making videos will draw attention to the problem and encourage public discussion.

Reaching a wide audience

Intended to promote children's rights throughout Argentina, the short films are being widely disseminated. Videos reach the public through national and local TV channels, cultural centres, schools and seminars, and even on the Buenos Aires Metro.

There are special screenings at film festivals in Argentina and around the world. Each October, the videos are premiered at the Ibero American Festival of Short Films as part of the 'Young Images in Cultural Diversity' (Imágenes Jóvenes en la Diversidad Cultural) programme.

Such distribution exposes a large public audience to youth perspectives on important social issues.

OneMinutesJr initiative

The project grew out of the global OneMinutesJr initiative, launched in 2002 by the European Cultural Foundation, the One Minutes Foundation and UNICEF. In Argentina, the project focused on children's rights because its organizers saw a need for wider public knowledge and discussion of this issue.

As the project begins its fifth year, even more young people will share their thoughts and creativity, continuing to pursue the greater goal of raising awareness by raising their voices.




Watch three examples of 'A minute for my rights' youth videos from Argentina:

'El Niño Producto'
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'El Grito'
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'Si Se Ve Más Allá'
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Voices of Youth

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