"Youth Zones" is a film and poetry initiative that documents the voices of young people in 5 countries around the world affected by conflict and natural disaster. It is a project created by filmmaker Lisa Russell in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Women's Refugee Commission (formerly the Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children).
The focus of the project is on allowing young people to speak for themselves. The film only showcases youth voices and has no experts or adults talking on behalf of youth. As educators, health care workers, artists, peace activists and others, ranging from ages 15-25, the young people in the film speak of the challenges they face - in terms of accessing services and overcoming the burdens that fall on their shoulders in times of crisis - and they illustrate how, when given the support and resources they need, youth can rise above such challenges to build healthier lives and societies.
Along with spoken word poet Luke Nephew and youth activist Chernor Bah, Ms. Russell travelled to Colombia, Lebanon, Liberia, Northern Uganda, and New Orleans (United States) to facilitate discussions and conduct creative writing and poetry workshops with youth who are struggling and trying to cultivate resilience in the face of emergencies. What resulted was a film profiling youth who work as educators, peace activists, healthcare assistants, and drama mentors in an effort to rehabilitate their communities after emergencies. The 25-minute film can be viewed on the Youth Zones website, where visitors may also learn more about the issues by downloading fact sheets and may also find out how to host their own screening. It will be accompanied by a new media website and advocacy packets that will be distributed to donors, policymakers, student activists, and others.
Youth, Conflict, Emergency.
According to organisers, in conflicts and natural disasters around the world, young people are faced with numerous challenges and difficulties. For instance, schools, family, community and health centres have often broken down, leaving them with little, if any, support. Access to basic sexual and reproductive health services, including information on sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV/AIDS, is often impossible. "Yet in the midst of these great difficulties, young people raise their younger siblings, form youth groups and organizations, put food on the table for their families, conduct peer education activities, contribute to peace movements, galvanize their communities and contribute in numerous other ways to positive changes."
Emails from Lisa Russell to The Communication Initiative on September 8 2009 and January 27 2011; and Youth Zones website, February 2 2011.
Launched in January 2009 by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), this 2.5-year project explores the relationship between the growth in use of information and communications technologi
In a multifaceted approach to the intersection between ICT use and violence against women (VAW) and girls, APC is working to empower women and girls through skills, knowledge, advocacy, and community-building along the following lines:
- administering small grants for interventions aimed at stopping VAW through the use of ICTs;
- localising the Take Back the Tech! campaign [see "Related Summaries", below] in the 12 selected countries;
- organising Feminist Tech Exchanges - using this online platform, "FTX" - to build the capacity of women's right activists and marginalised women and girls, including survivors of violence;
- catalysing policy advocacy processes to integrate women's rights perspectives in ICT policies in national contexts; and
- working to increase women's involvement and leadership in ICT policy spaces that have an impact on women's rights.
Women's participation is paramount. Survivors of domestic and sexual violence will participate directly in training activities. Namely, in partnership with women's rights organisations, APC is reaching out to vulnerable women (especially economically poor, rural, and migrant women) through workshops designed to build their capacity to use technology for awareness-raising and educational rights-based campaigns. In addition, APC is reaching out to adolescent girls and girls' networks in participating countries through training, digital story telling workshops, and activities being undertaken as part of the Take Back the Tech! campaign. Finally, APC is providing training on safe practices for internet and telecommunications use to women and women's organisations working in conflict situations. APC notes that, as the exchanges continue to happen in the 12 participating countries, the FTX site referenced above will offer a repository of methodology and materials for training in ICT from a feminist perspective.
Organisers are engaged in research and dissemination of information about each of the participating countries in order to illustrate different challenges and opportunities for how ICTs impact on VAW, either in worsening the problem - for example, through the use of ICTs in trafficking - or in providing a space where women can collaborate and network against violence. In a series of papers - the abstracts, and eventually, full versions of which may be found here - APC finds that, in all 12 countries, the themes of privacy, freedom of expression, and the enforcement of legislation "form a sobering backdrop to some startling and innovative ways in which women are using technology to advance their rights and empower women."
Women, Technology, Rights.
Research conducted as part of this project - summarised here - has led to findings such as the gap between legislation and the ability to implement laws on VAW, which is found to be inadequate to deal with the violence that women face. This gap is "particularly stark in South Africa. The country has one of the most progressive constitutions in the world, but a woman is killed every six hours - the highest rate of femicide anywhere in the world. Even in legislation, there are tensions between the guarantees of freedom of expression and the perceived need to protect women and children from pornography, and between privacy and the right to information. Likewise, in Uganda, despite a national gender policy and ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), almost a quarter of women report that their first sexual encounter was forced. As with many countries, there is little information available on the intersection between VAW and ICTs. Nonetheless, anecdotal evidence shows that mobile phones are both enabling greater control and monitoring of women by their partners as well as providing women with new spaces to forestall domestic violence."
Supported by the Dutch government's MDG3 Fund.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) (Campese, Greiber, and Oviedo), Center for International Forestry Research (Sunderland)
This document examines the links between the realisation of human rights and the conservation of natural resources and biodiversity.
Pambazuka News 443: Links & Resources, Issue 24, July 2009; and email from Jessica Campese to The Communication Initiative on March 17 2010.
University of Texas at El Paso (Singhal), and Ohio University (Greiner)
This document analyses performance activism as a form of communication and engagement.
The website of Arvind Singhal on July 13 2009; and email from Arvind Singhal to The Communication Initiative on November 14 2009.
In recognition of the fact that an educated media corps is empowered to raise awareness of climate change, organisers developed a series of seminars for government officials, politicians, and journalists. Designed to maximise the sharing of accurate environmental information ahead of the COP15 summit, the seminars were held in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Peru, and Venezuela.
The journalism training focused on giving stories about the climate a news element, so they are no longer confined to the specialist press. As part of the strategy of highlighting climate change information to governmental authorities, the BBC WST welcomed Peru's Minister for Environment to the seminar within that country, while in Colombia and Bolivia the British Ambassador opened the event. The project is also engaged in more direct advocacy through work with government ministries in the six countries.
The seminars were followed by interviews with local media. According to the Project Manager, "A phone-in for listeners to Colombian National Public Radio lasted for three hours and generated a lot of interest. As well as asking questions listeners were telling us about their experiences. Many people knew that things had changed but didn't realise that this was a result of climate change. For example, cases of malaria and dengue fever on Colombia's tropical islands doubled between the 1970s and 1990s. Local people knew about the increase but not that it was caused by changing rain patterns and increasing temperatures..."
To support this process, modules on reporting climate change have been prepared for the BBC WST's online journalism training resource, iLearn.
More than 15,000 environment ministers, officials, diplomats, campaigners, journalists, and heads of state are expected to attend COP15, representing the 192 countries that have signed the UN climate change convention. Participants will work toward a successor to the Kyoto protocol.
University of Bradford
This 66-page Institute of Development Studies (IDS) Working Paper (#274) explores civil society participation in two contexts of chronic violence.
Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)
From the Executive Summary: "....As part of the response to HIV and homophobia, four mass media campaigns were carried out between 2002 and 2005 in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico.
Pan American Health Organization website, February 2 2011.