UNESCO, LADI, Japan train youths, calls for Media and Information Literacy (MIL) integration into policies and programmes

Over 85% of youths actively engaged in the social world are either uploading or sharing information that may be harmful to society and endanger lives. Few would argue with the need to offer youth effective educational platforms to help them understand the role of information in an increasingly hypermedia age.

To this end, the UNESCO Regional Office with funding support from the Government of Japan, and through its implementing partner Light-up African Development Initiative (LADI) organized a two-day training workshop to empower 20 youth-based organizations with the necessary MIL tools and skills needed to enhance their organizational capacities, within their local, national and regional spheres of influence.

The workshop had 22 participants in total drawn from all over Nigeria where they were trained to conduct social media campaigns to engage the millennial and Generation Z categories in particular and youth organizations in general, towards the promotion of MIL in online spaces.

Dr. Olunifesi Suraj, who is also the Coordinator, UNESCO University Network on Media and Information Literacy and Inter-cultural Dialogue in Nigeria, said there was a need for integrating MIL into youth policies and programmes because it gives direction and helps to identify rules of engagement, remarking that it was paramount to educate the youths as they remain the voice to push for its establishment through their various organizations with relationships with government actors.

In his view, the Programme Support Officer of the NGO, Nwaeze Nwaeze, said; “We feel that youth Organisations can also be at the forefront in helping to build capacity of others on MIL.” Nwaeze stated that the participants are expected to carry on the workshop through step down trainings in their local communities or Organisations.

Winner of UNESCO Call for Jingles challenge in 2020, Christine Serrano was on hand to share with the participants on “Understanding the Media Space in Nigeria and how the use of Media and Information Literacy guidelines have helped navigate this space.”

In the same vein, Oluwabunmi Ajao, a participant who won a digital camera prize, in one of the activities of the project #MILCreative, said the workshop was timely, as the havoc being brought about by fake news and misinformation, are getting deeper and even more worrisome. She appreciated the organisers for the initiative and opportunity to participate in the workshop.

Another participant and winner of a television prize for the same #MILCreative entry, Precious Ajunwa who is a Project Director at Galaxy for Peace said all well-meaning Nigerians should take part in fighting misinformation and disinformation for the purpose of peaceful co-existence and social cohesion

At the end of the workshop, the NGO provided twelve Organisations seed grant to organize stepdown workshops in their different communities. All entries for the grant went through a process of evaluation from independent jury.

#MILCreative was a Call for Creative content contest organised by Light-up African Development Initiative in collaboration with UNESCO. It was conceived in developing creative-promotional contents that address fake news, misinformation and disinformation and the dangers they pose through an online competition. 51 entries were received via all social media channels which included cartoons, instructional videos, jingles, banners, flyers, poetry, spoken word and podcast.

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