Draft document developed at the UNESCO/UNAOC Global Forum for Partnership on MIL (GFPMIL) conference in Abuja, Nigeria, June 26-29, 2013, setting up the African Chapter of the Global Alliance for Partnership on Media and Information Literacy.
1. Background & Introduction
(i) The Global Alliance for Partnership on MIL (GAPMIL) is a joint initiative of UNESCO, and other key stakeholders. It is envisaged as a permanent mechanism that seeks to globally reposition Media and Information Literacy (MIL) around the core objective of articulating key strategic partnerships to drive MIL development and impact globally
(ii) Drawing upon over 40 years of experience in MIL, UNESCO is seeking to establish more enduring partnerships that are necessary to amplify the impact of MIL.
(iii) GAPMIL will work with regional and country level chapters to represent the organisation and coordinate activities in their country or region.
(iv) In many parts of the world, MIL provides a strong platform for people to contribute to social, political, and economic development, give expression to cultural and religious pluralism, learn about the issues in other environments that are different from their own, and promote democratic process. Africa cannot afford to isolate itself from these lofty goals. Even though media and information literacy, has been a subject of considerable discourse in other places for some time, it is a new area of engagement in Africa.
(v) Media and information literacy has the potential to become a powerful and positive force in Africa’s difficult transition to peace, democracy, and development. It has the ability to reach across the continent’s many cultures and help bridge its economic, social, technological and political gap.
(vi) Seeing that the great majority of the African population is under 35 years and with the development in ICT, young people have a lot of opportunities and avenues to express their views and disseminate information and materials about issues that affect them. Today’s global media and information literacy environment offers great opportunity to inspire active civic participation and engagement.
(vii) What is needed on the continent is to facilitate and motivate access to this huge platform and new cultural and political communication tool, to promote greater awareness and understanding of the political processes and to expose issues and facts that will excite young people and help them make informed decisions and contribute to the development of the continent.
(viii) A Pan African MIL Alliance can especially offer opportunities for young people to overcome apathy and ignorance; to appreciate conflicts and their impact; and to be agents of change.
(ix) The growing democratization process in Africa calls for a platform to mobilize citizens at the grassroots, promote educational development and hold leadership at all levels accountable. MIL is that platform.
2. Name for the African Chapter of the GAPMIL
The Pan-African Alliance on Media and Information Literacy (PAMIL) shall be an alliance among the different organizations and individuals that are working on Media and Information Literacy across the continent. It is an Independent Pan-African institution.
PAMIL has been created to promote and strengthen partnership in Africa on MIL. It shall among other things:
a) Be a clearing house for children, youths, teachers, researchers, parents, media and information literacy professionals and initiatives across Africa;
b) Enable the African MIL community to speak with one voice on diverse issues
c) Build an effective Pan-African alliance that will have legitimacy to engage with political leaders and other Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) on the continent.
d) Address the particular challenges faced by the continent in the following areas:
3.1 Governance and citizenship,
3.2 Education, teaching and learning;
3.3 Linguistic diversity and intercultural dialogue;
3.4 Youths, women, children, disabled, marginalised and other vulnerable groups;
3.5 Health and wellness;
3.6 Business, industry, employment and economic development;
3.7 Agriculture, farming, wildlife protection, forestry and natural resources conservation.
The African Chapter of the GAPMIL has to enable the MIL community speak as one voice on certain critical matters, particularly relating to policies; and further deepen the strategy for MIL in an African context by providing a common platform for MIL related networks and associations.
The African Chapter of the GAPMIL has particular challenges to respond to:
- There are no national policies and strategies that specifically address media/information literacy.
- There are very few programmes that teach MIL skills to young people.
- Public libraries are not equipped with MIL materials; staff have no training on MIL.
- Lack of institutional support for agencies, programmes and initiatives that enhance MIL.
PAMIL is an independent, non-governmental, multi stakeholder entity with the following structure:
PAMIL shall welcome any organizations and institutions working on MIL at local, national and regional levels.
A provisional secretariat (with representatives of the various regions of Africa) will be set up for one year. This provisional secretariat shall be hosted by Nigeria. The secretariat will be led by the steering committee comprising the interim chair, secretary, the president of African Library Association and coordinators representing the sub-regional groupings in Africa.
Chido Onumah (Nigeria) – interim chair
Beruk Abraha (Ethiopia) – secretary
Dr. Victoria Okojie (Nigeria) – member (Chair, Africa Section of International Federation of Library Institutions and Associations (IFLA)
North Africa – Dr Samy Tayie of the Faculty of Mass Communication, University of Cairo (to help locate a contact person in North Africa)
West Africa – (The Gambia) Fanta Sidibeh
East Africa – (Uganda) Marjorie Kyomuhendo
Central Africa – (Cameroun) Bayomo Assala
Southern Africa – (Zimbabwe) Blessing Jona
The steering committee’s main task will be to lead the provisional secretariat in:
1) The mapping of MIL organisations in each country/sub region (to be carried out by sub-regional coordinators)
2) Preparing a continent-wide conference to be held one year from now, bringing together the various stakeholders and partners on MIL in Africa.
3) Working in partnership with local and sub-regional UNESCO offices as well ministries of education, promote MIL by embarking on formal public presentation of the UNESCO MIL Curriculum for Teachers in various countries on the continent.
4) Set up a website for the organisation
It is believed that PAMIL will be officially launched before June 2014. The launch will lead to the creation of the permanent structure and election of those to run the affairs of the organisation.