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First they will spend two days with local and international experts from the UK and New Zealand who have mastered scripting, shooting and editing quality films using their cell phones.
It’s all part of the ongoing EU-funded Valuing Voices project known officially as Digital Dialogue and Citizens’ Stories (Alternative forms of story-telling to advance rights and freedoms)
The Grand Pacific Hotel has sponsored the launch and the two-day workshop which will culminate in a competition for the participants and others to see who can make the most compelling short films.
The project is delivered by the British Council and Save the Children (Fiji) and has actively involved mainstream media, human rights advocates, MIDA and arts groups.
In welcoming guests to the launch, Deputy EU Ambassador Corrado Pampaloni said: In a global society, an inter-dependent world, these links are vital for the prosperity and security of every local community. Just as citizen engagement and discussion in issues is vital to healthy democracy.
And in a world dominated by social media, access to the skills and know-how to use social media effectively, and for good, are also extremely important if we want our collective decision making to be representative of all groups.
Modern technology including the internet, cell-phones, cameras and voice recorders means virtually anyone can help shape the world by sharing their opinions and perspectives, with anyone who will watch or listen. The secret is finding a way through all the noise – so that people will WANT to watch or listen!
The resumes of this stellar group of international trainers who will lead the workshop leads me to believe that our young people will be well served on that front this weekend.
British Council director Ingrid Leary said: This type of training brings a whole new dimension to freedom of expression enabling previously silent voices to be heard – and making citizenship a truly active experience for anyone who wishes to participate. It is well established that diversity in society generates creativity and innovation – and that those societies which celebrate diversity reap the rewards of greater prosperity and security.
More than half the 837,000 Fijian population are aged under 25, and one-third are below 14. Research has shown a gap between what these young people talk about amongst themselves, and what surfaces through to the mainstream. Research also shows a lack of participation by Fiji’s youth in formal political processes, and this is likely due to a lack of confidence in the value of their own voice, their own participation.
The project will contribute to an environment in which freedom of expression is freely practised by Fiji society, bringing the country closer to meeting its international commitments, as well as, furthering its on-going democratic achievements.