Sri Lankan youth embraces diversity in media training course
Eleven youths, mainly women, from the Sinhalese, Tamil, and Muslim communities of Galle, Sri Lanka, participated in a three-month course on ethnic and religious conflict resolution. The purpose of the training was to achieve practical ways to find the common good among all peoples. The course also emphasized the importance of youth being aware of the new social dynamics of the future. The course was organized by the Center for Youth and Social Development (CEYSD), which has been working with the aim of driving young people to be active change agents as they face the challenges of the world, seeking practical solutions to the challenges they come across. It was organized in collaboration with Mr. Sampath Priyadarshana, an award-winning professional photographer and cinematographer who graduated from the SIGNIS Communication Lab in 2015 and a is member of SIGNIS Talent+. CEYSD has been providing leadership courses to young people for the development of society in Sri Lanka for more than eight years and has constantly provided programs with new activities, bringing various communities to build and spread peace and harmony in Sri Lanka and around the world. This course was focused on ethnic conflict resolution, thus the participants tried to identify the issues and concerns that they can see in Sri Lankan society and across the globe. Some of the topics that were discussed were challenges such as unemployment, lack of skills and job experience in a changing job market, and the barriers to entering a desired field. The course followed by finding practical solutions to provide youth in the various communities a career that “fits their talent”. A big part of the program consisted of providing the participants with career guidance through learning media skills. A special highlight of the program was a photography and short film production course themed “voice of third eye”, followed by a film festival. During the course, the participants learned how to fully utilize visual language to capture good images in still pictures and moving images. The short film production course helped them open their hearts and minds to deliver impactful messages that touch the audience. At the conclusion of the course, the participants pledged to strive to become better youth leaders and creatively apply the learned skills by utilizing social media platforms with messages for the common good and to promote peace and reconciliation in Sri Lankan society. Article by: Mohamed Nasreen, President of the Center for Youth and Social Development (CEYSD).
SIGNIS Projects: capacity building at Kimuri Radio, Kenya
Every year, SIGNIS screens project applications on media training, equipment, and production for a subsidy from the Pontifical Society of the Propagation of the 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 Kimuri Radio, located in Embu County, Kenya. This area of over three thousand kilometers hosts a population of approximately 608.575 people – about 400.000 of them are Catholics. It is in this vibrant, populated area, that Kimuri Radio – a Catholic radio owned by the Diocese of Embu – airs. The radio was officially inaugurated on 20th September 1986 and has been airing consistently ever since. Through our portal, Kimuri Radio received a subsidy to improve its staff’s capabilities in terms of journalism, presentation, and production. Kimuri Radio’s motto is Utheri Kuri Andu Onte, which means “light for all” and refers to the vocation of the radio to be a source of education for the people of the county. And since the Diocese’s evangelization is not yet complete, communication through media is key in this process, supporting the empowerment of the citizens to realize their full potential and enabling them to lead a better life. To do so, the Kimuri Radio director, together with his staff members, went for a benchmarking trip to the best-performing Catholic Radios of the region, like Radio Waumini and Radio Jangwani. Their aim was to enhance communication within the Diocese using new media technology and promote cultural awareness, while equipping the trainees with the skills to produce Catholic radio programs and stand out in a competitive environment. “It was an awesome experience and an eye opener where we learned a lot,” said Millicent Kaari, one of the Kimuri Radio staff members who participated in the trip. She has also explained how, during this trip, they learned to be always prepared before going on air, to fulfill the evangelization mission of the Church through the radio, to work as a team, and to be open to diversities. Fr. Isaac Racho, Jangwani Radio’s managing director and trainer during the trip, urged Kimuri Radio staff to be professional in the way they cover, report news, and run programs. “We are living in an era of fake news, don’t just be the first to report what has happened, make sure you verify whatever content you receive and hear with the relevant individuals and authorities”, says Fr. Racho. Training the staff will be a continuous process. There are emerging issues that require new skills and knowledge to cover them. For instance, climate change reporting, gender and children issues, investigative reporting, and online journalism, “especially now people are hugely getting information from online platforms which are full of fake news and misleading”, affirms Fr. James Gatiti, director of Kimuri Radio. In a world with new emerging issues, it is fundamental to always acquire new skills and knowledge to cope with these problems, and thanks to PSPF’s subsidy, Radio Kimuri’s staff is on the way there.