Global Girl Media (GGM) is a non-profit organisation whose mission is to nurture the voice and visions of girls and young women in under-served communities and developing nations, training them as citizen broadcast journalists to speak out about the issues that affect them most. In a mainstream media world where their experiences may pass under the radar, GGM equips 16- to 23-year-old girls with cameras so that they may raise their voices and make themselves heard.
In countries and communities affected by war, disease, and poverty, GGM uses information and communication technology (ICT) to empower girls who for many reasons have been unable to take part in the new media revolution. The educational organisation empowers girls to create media about themselves and communicate about the issues that affect them most by linking them with seasoned filmmakers, by providing media training and equipment, and by showcasing girl-created content in a news and information web network. Specifically, GGM focuses on 3 major areas:
- Media workshops and training: During 10-day intensive workshops where teams of girls receive media literacy training, learn documentary and storytelling techniques, and become acquainted with the nuts and bolts of video making. Working with international partners, GGM will provide 4 workshops per year, and follow up with ongoing support. (Pilot projects are in development in South Africa, Kenya, India, and Palestine).
- An interactive website and social networking platform that leverages new internet technologies for sharing user-generated content, including streaming video, to give girls a platform for expressing their opinions and for creating a global community. Girls can watch videos, add comments, and interact with young filmmakers in other countries. They can explore and investigate different subjects, such as water purification and nutrition, AIDS prevention, and relationships/dating. The site is designed with the awareness that, in many places throughout the world, cellphones are more easily accessible to girls than computers; video, photos, and text sent from cellphones can, according to GGM, be posted with ease.
- New media distribution that puts video made by girls into the hands of educators and onto television, cable, other websites, and on new-media platforms (e.g., video billboards, video kiosks, light emitting diode (LED) installations, cellphones, and iPods).
Since GGM’s launch during the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, GGM reporters from bureaus in Soweto, South Africa, Los Angeles, California, and Rabat, Morocco, have produced approximately 125 video features using traditional camera/sound, 85 mobile journalism pieces on iPod touch, and 180 blog reports that found distribution through multimedia platforms including web, television broadcast, cell phones, radio, and social media.
GGM South Africa (GGMSA) Soweto trained 10 HIV-positive reporters in a project funded by the United States (US) Mission to South Africa and The US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). A documentary featuring their work, Our World/ My Voice: A GGMSA Report, was screened at the US Consulate in Johannesburg and neighbouring high schools during the week of World AIDS Day. Reports from GGMSA’s 2010 FIFA World Cup coverage were distributed and showcased on global distribution platforms including BBC Radio, CBC, ESPN, Internews, and 30 web properties. Interviewees included Dr. Jill Biden and Hugh Massekela. US Olympic soccer champion Julie Foudy served as GGM’s global spokesperson and mentor. See below for a video by a GGMSA reporter. GGMSA’s HIV+ reporting team has been invited as working press to cover the International World AIDS 2012 Conference in Washington, D.C., US. In addition, Our World My Voice has been accepted to be screened at the Youth Cultural Olympiad (World Event Young Artists 2012) in England in September, 2012.
GGM ran a training programme in Morocco, working in conjunction with L'Institut Spécialisé du Cinéma et de l'Audiovisuel (ISCA), a private film and television school, in partnership with the US Embassy during the summer of 2011, travelling to four cities: Tetouan, Safi, Marrakesh, and Rabat, and training 40 young women, ages 18-22. Their video reports then focused on the Moroccan 2011 national elections. GGM Morocco organised and reported on a mass protest rally against the Government Penal Code that allows rapists to marry the young women they raped - an issue brought to focus by the suicide of a 16-year-old who was reportedly forced to marry in the circumstances created by the judiciary following this code. See below for a video by a GGM reporter.
GGM believes that "girls have a lot to say and when they can communicate about their lives, they can be agents of change. If girls in the US [United States] can connect with girls in South Africa or Morocco, they can share information that will improve all of their lives and communities....GGM fosters confidence and self-esteem among participants so they can make a difference and contribute to change around the world. By reaching young women all over the world through television stations, news bureaus, web portals, media feeds and other outlets including high school and university classrooms our impact can be both local and global."
Email from Carlene S. Wasserman to Soul Beat Africa on December 27 2009; 2009; emails from Amie Williams to The Communication Initiative on May 24 2010 and March 28 2012; GGM website; GGM networking site on February 19 2010; and email from Therese Steiner on March 28 2012. Image credit: Amie Williams