Tim Berners-Lee may have envisioned the revolutionary read/write Web, but the culture of Internet participation to read and write online has not been a global privilege, and the groups who have been precluded are among some of the most marginalized. Global Fund for Children, one of our 2008 DML Competition winners, has been closing that participation gap one girl at a time through their video storytelling knowledge exchanges.
Monica Grover, Manager of Digital Media Projects at GFC, wrote with updates about the video storytelling workshops and toolkit development training they initiated. While reading through some of the blogs Monica shared, I came across this quote:
"...When we speak for the girls, we tend to focus on or highlight their deficits. When they speak for themselves, they provide a complete picture, demonstrating their needs, interests, strength, potential, and power at once, and in more compelling ways than we can."
That quote sums up many of the DML Competition projects, particularly Women Aloud Videoblogging, VozMob, Hypercities, Youth Action Radio (Mobile Action Lab), and Out the Window. When we think about the read/write Web, it's easy to overlook barriers to entry, not just access and basic digital literacy, but cultural issues. For example, one of GFC's workshops involved girls from northern Nigeria who, for cultural reasons, could not visit Internet cafes unless escorted by men. But when those girls master the tools and techniques, they tell a far more compelling story about themselves and their lives that would otherwise be unknown. When digital media helps make that happen, it just doesn't get more interesting than that for me.
Here is a brief update about the workshop GFC conducted in 2009, as well as an update on what they've been working on in 2010:
"Our video-storytelling/toolkit development project allowed us to bring together partners from India and Nigeria to share ideas about how to create a video-storytelling toolkit focused on empowering young girls. The objective of the workshop was to jointly discuss the regional toolkits for Projecting Girl Power: Using Video and Film to Tell Our Stories (www.projectinggirlpower.org) and finalize the content of the video-storytelling toolkits. Click here to view blogs and videos: http://www.globalfundforchildren.org/index.php/Our-Work/Projecting-Girl-Power-Brain-Trust-Toolkit-Development-Workshop.html"
"In 2010, we formed a partnership with the Adobe Foundation and Adobe Youth Voices (AYV), a program that empowers youth to share their voices and express their understanding of the world by employing various technologies, including digital art, video, and animation. This project allows GFC to extend its work around bringing partners throughout the world together to learn new digital media technologies and to communicate with one another through online forums. Building on previous initiatives, GFC continues to expand its role in digital media capacity building for our grantee partners throughout the world and support young people in acquiring technology skills relevant in the 21st century. Educators from 15 of our grantee partner sites take part in an 8-week online course and are able to use the forums to communicate with one another across the globe. http://mim.io/db646 "
Global Fund for Children: http://www.globalfundforchildren.org
Countdown to the 2010 DML Competition Showcase features Where Are They Now? updates on the 2008, 2009, and 2010 winners. The 2010 DML Competition winners will showcase their projects at the Designing Learning Futures DML Conference on March 4, 2011 in Long Beach, California.
Visit our DML Countdown page to view more updates from featured projects.