“Only trust can generate trust and make us grow in our common mission”| Dr. Nataša Govekar to SIGNIS delegates
Every year, SIGNIS screens project applications on media training, equipment and production for a subsidy from the Pontifical Society of the Propagation of Faith (PSPF). In 2020, we launched the signisprojectapplication.net online portal, successfully switching from a paper-based to a fully digital application process and making it easier for applicants from all over the world to submit their projects.
One of the recipients of PSPF’s grants was the Diocese of Mawlamyine in Myanmar to train 33 young people in basic media ethics and communication capacity building. The program's primary goal is to train young Catholic men and women from Mawlamyine Diocese, drawn from diverse backgrounds such as graduates, farmers, and catechists. These individuals, regardless of gender, are to be equipped with excellent communication skills and a passion for community leadership. This will enable them to serve the Church and society effectively in the diocese and Myanmar.
The Mawlamyine Diocese boasts a community of 27 priests, 40 religious sisters, and 56 Catechists, spread across 11 parishes. The diocese envisions a bright future where young individuals receive pastoral awareness training through social media, helping them become active contributors to the nation's development. However, recent times have witnessed Myanmar shifting towards a negative path, presenting new challenges to the project.
The Office of Social Communication and Radio Veritas Asia Karen office within the Diocese work hand in hand to disseminate information and engage the local parishes and people. The project involves training 33 young people who will act as volunteers in the parishes, spreading awareness about the power of media.
Social media platforms have given teenagers an instant means to connect, share their lives, and maintain relationships. These platforms are described by teenagers as crucial tools for fostering connections, creativity, and global awareness. The project aspires to raise awareness among young people about the responsible use of media and its potential to foster knowledge and respond to societal needs, so that they can become crucial in assisting parish pastors in delivering media awareness and communication activities within the Diocese.
Even though the project encountered several challenges, including difficulties in securing suitable training locations and time due to COVID-19 restrictions and the prevailing political situation, they managed to conduct the training from March 29 to 31, 2022, at Myeik Parish, where they were able to safely gather participants.
The importance of supporting projects like this cannot be overstated. These initiatives empower local Churches and most importantly local youth to broaden their channels of evangelization and communication, thereby strengthening communities in their faith through the media.