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Telling our stories: UNICEF supports Digital Storytelling for young people

UNICEF South Africa/2018/Chopra
© UNICEF South Africa/2018/Chopra
Participants at the UNICEF Digital Story-telling workshop at the Cradle of Humankind, outside Johannesburg.

By Diya Chopra

Johannesburg, 4 – 9 September 2018 - “We all have access to apps on our smartphones but we are all not aware of how we can use these apps to tell young peoples’ stories” explains South African Youth Reporter Bongani Dlamini at a UNICEF-organised Digital Storytelling Training.

Filmmaking is often considered a daunting process and is associated with expensive equipment. However, with effective apps being built on mobile phones and a growing culture of capturing social issues on smartphones and sharing short films on social media, millennials are finding innovative and accessible platforms to reach large audiences. In light of its commitment to youth engagement, UNICEF believes that educating future generations on social issues will not only help raise awareness about social issues but will also contribute to practical and creative solutions. Over 6 days, they learnt the art of storytelling through practical and theoretical lessons on the filmmaking with British documentary film-maker Kate Middleton provided the training.

With this in mind, UNICEF hosted twenty youth reporters from east and southern Africa who were given the opportunity to learn sustainable and accessible ways to digitally report issues affecting their communities through film. Aged between 16 and 20, Youth Reporters were chosen based on their involvement in their communities and active digital profiles and came from Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa. They were joined by UNICEF staff from the region as well.

UNICEF South Africa/2018/Chopra
© UNICEF South Africa/2018/Chopra
Participants at the UNICEF Digital Story-telling workshop at the Cradle of Humankind, outside Johannesburg.

UNICEF looks forward to continue working with these Youth Reporters and envisages them using the skills they learnt at the workshop to not only train others in their community but to make films that they are passionate about. In collaboration with UNICEF, each youth reporter has been tasked with producing a film, by the end of 2018, about a social issue in their community. By giving youth the skills to produce engaging digital stories, UNICEF hopes to build youth-led content that can be used during engagements with key stakeholders including policy makers, donors as well as other young people to help bring solutions to issues that affect youth today.

Each country office is expected to support their chosen youth reporter and provide guidance throughout the process. Chaperones present at the training are also expected to help youth organize training workshops so youth reporters can pass on these skills to other young people in their communities.

Bongani Dlamini plans to combine his previous experiences as an active member of his school’s GEM-BEM club (an initiative that UNICEF helped establish) and the skills he has learned during this workshop to go into schools and document social issues around violence youth face in schools but also, he adds, “to celebrate and capture the amazing initiatives that young people are designing and leading to address issues that affect our lives”.

 

 

 

 

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