AFRICMIL & UNESCO hold MIL workshop for youth-led organisations in Nigeria #MILyouthng

As part of efforts to promote media & information literacy and build the capacity of membership-based, youth-led organisations in Nigeria, UNESCO supported the holding of a two-day workshop for membership-based, youth-led organisations in the north-central zone of Nigeria.

The workshop aimed to encourage youth leaders to become critical, thoughtful, informed, engaged and empowered citizens. It provided space for informal learning and creativity and stimulated networking, debate and discussion.

For the select youth and their organisations, the workshop sought to help them appreciate information and media messages and how they could integrate MIL in the design and implementation of activities in different areas of youth engagement: (democracy, environment, religion, sports, education, literacy, gender, human rights, inter-cultural dialogue, etc.).

The youth MIL workshop was held on the sideline of the 2nd Pan-African Media & Information Literacy Conference which took place seven years after the first one in 2008 and supported by UNESCO, DW Akademie, GAPMIL and the Pan-African Alliance on MIL (PAMIL).

The two-day workshop which held from Dec-3-4, 2015 had in attendance thirty youth from fifteen youth organisations and four teachers from four secondary schools in the north-central zone of Nigeria. The organisations were selected after a thorough vetting processes to assess their capacity and commitment to implement the outcome of the workshop.

The workshop explored such topics as:

  • Respectful communication in a digital environment
  • Communication and information as a challenge – in a digital or non-digital environment
  • Media and information literacy (MIL): An introduction
  • Evaluating and using information and media content
  • Engaging with media and using new technology and information for social action
  • Using MIL to promote gender representation in youth activities
  • Developing strategies and action plans on how youth organisations can apply MIL policy and guidelines to their respective organisations and mandate
  • Commitment from participants and youth organisations to be involved in UNESCO Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)

The workshop materials were based on selected modules of UNESCO Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). Before the workshop, AFRICMIL distributed a basic draft model guideline on how youth organisations can integrate MIL in their activities.

This guideline was distributed before the workshop for participants to study and make their input. AFRICMIL developed a form through which participants would share their thoughts of implementation strategies.

During the workshop, there were discussions around the guidelines and facilitators worked with participants to guide them on how to integrate the guidelines into their activities.

At the end of the group discussions, participants developed action plans on how to implement the MIL guidelines in their mandate.

Outcomes

During the workshop, participants were divided into three working groups to examine and deliberate on the different aspects of the workshop agenda. Participants came up with the following ideas:

  1. What is MIL?
  • Ability to access, critically analyze and create information through the media and other information sources.
  1. Who is MIL literate?
  • One who can access, interpret, comprehend and distribute media content
  • Someone that can interpret media messages, whether traditional or new
  • Someone who creates and shares messages or questions media content
  1. Why is MIL important?
  • It provides platform to build networks and empower citizens with the right information and knowledge
  • Decentralization of learning
  • Can expand the frontiers of knowledge and create awareness
  • It guides in making informed decisions
  • It helps to communicate and promote different perspectives
  1. How can we promote MIL?
  • Pushing it to school curriculum (life skills)
  • Creating national policies and guidelines
  • Networking and creating partnerships with relevant stakeholders, including decision/policy makers
  • Effective use of the youth organisations and other relevant institutions
  • Sensitizing the public and creating awareness (through social/media platforms)
  • Working with networks and community engagement

How to use MIL to promote gender representation in youth organisation

  • Through MIL women and girls can be trained, given voice and opportunities to serve
  • MIL can help ensure that stereotyping is avoided and gender sensitivity is promoted
  • Through MIL, youth organisations can engage in public advocacy for gender equity
  • MIL can help ensure that staff recruitment is gender sensitive
  • MIL can help build positive representation of women in and outside the workplace
  • MIL can help build self-esteem for girls in youth organisations
  • MIL can promote constructive debate on gender, ethnic, cultural and social equality in youth organisations

Why is MIL important for youth organisation?

  • It helps to effectively access information and communicate decisions appropriately
  • It can be a window to the world on what youth organization are doing and thinking
  • MIL can make feedback easier and efficient and help youth and their organisations meet the needs of their target group
  • We live a mediated world where information and knowledge is power
  • MIL skills can help build the capacity of youth and their organisations to improve their mandate
  • MIL can help youth and their organisations keep up to date with happenings around them and develop the capacity to respond appropriately
  • Provides checks and balance about information sharing
  • PR tool for youth organisations

How to integrate MIL in the activities of youth organisations

  • Conduct in-house training for members of their organisations on MIL
  • Plug into the existing MIL platforms to learn more about MIL and join the advocacy to promote MIL across the country
  • Develop in-house manual or briefing on MIL for staff
  • Organise events centred on using MIL to promote mandate of organisation
  • Link organisations to groups (media, libraries, museums, archives) and agencies around the country working on MIL
  • Designate a “special” MIL liaison officer for organisation
  • Specify a timeline and tasks to meet MIL integration objectives
  • Staff commitment to undertake UNESCO MOOC whenever it is available

Next steps and recommendations

Participants developed a hash tag (#MILyouthng) which will act as a platform to disseminate information from the conference and also to aggregate other materials about MIL and youth in Nigeria.

With the input of participants, the workshop was able to finalize the guideline on integrating MIL in the activities of youth organisations which is available at: www.africmil.org/unescoyouthmil

Participants made the following recommendations as a way forward:

  • Exchange contacts, email addresses to get regular updates on MIL information and activities around the world
  • Have the workshop in other zones of Nigeria to connect other youth and their organisations
  • Launch association of youth organisations applying MIL in their daily activities
  • Hold an annual event in which youth and their organisations can showcase how they are using MIL to promote their mandate
  • Identify key social media activists and find ways to get their buy-in to the campaign
  • Develop a WhatsApp group for daily messages of issues around MIL
  • Keep up to date on global MIL movement by keying into the activities of GAPMIL, PAMIL, etc
  • Develop MIL advocacy toolkit for use by youth organisations
  • Apply the principles of MIL in all that we do and not wait for the government to lead the process
  • Conduct a survey of youth organisations using MIL and how they are using it
  • Conduct online survey to access the level of knowledge of MIL for youth and their organisations

Launch of MIL University Network of Nigeria (MILUNN)

The youth MIL workshop anchored by the African Centre for Media & Information Literacy (AFRICMIL) provided an opportunity to launch the MIL University Network of Nigeria (MILUNN).

Underpinning the Network is the need to give impetus to research that can inform policies and programmes to promote MIL and Intercultural Dialogue in Nigeria.

The following Universities – members of MIL University Network of Nigeria (MILUNN) participated in the 2nd Pan-African Media & Information Literary Conference/MIL Youth Workshop.

  • University of Calabar
  • Lagos State University
  • Nnamdi Azikiwe University
  • University of Jos
  • Ahmadu Bello University

All participating universities expressed their interest to join the UNESCO/UNAOC-MILID Network. The launch of MILUNN enlarges the UNESCO/UNAOC-MILID Network.

The universities committed to carry out the UNESCO/UNAOC-MILID policies and programmes summarized under the following broad areas:

  • Research: Including contributing to the development of the joint UNESCO/UNAOC International Clearinghouse on MIL and preparation of related publications;
  • MILID and Education: help to diffuse MILID at all levels of the formal education system and to advocate for the same in related media production practices;
  • Participation: promote actions aimed at encouraging citizen participation and at involving different stakeholders, such as community-based MIL projects and youth-media initiatives.
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