Project #11284

Building Youth Media Capacity

by Taking IT Global

In July of 2013 Malala Yousafzai presented her renowned speech at the UN Youth Takeover in which she stated:

We realize the importance of light when we see darkness. We realize the importance of our voice when we are silenced. We believe in the power and the strength of our words. Today is the day of every woman, every boy, and every girl who have raised their voice for their rights. Let us pick up our books and our pens, they are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world.

UN statistics show that approximately 62 million girls are currently out of school and out of all of the world’s illiterate population, two-thirds are women. While many civil society organizations are currently working to tackle this issue, there is a firm belief that new and innovative methods are needed to help address some of these challenges. One of these ways is through the power of art and creativity. As Forest Whitaker, actor and UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace, recently stated, “the arts have the power to destroy gender stereotypes and biases that make all of us less free”. 



Understanding the importance of harnessing art and creativity to help tackle social issues, TakingITGlobal partnered with Adobe to promote the #withMalala Challenge as a part of their new Project 1324 initiative. The #withMalala Challenge is a global digital art project encouraging young people to speak out about why every girl should have the right to an education. The challenge has given youth from Pakistan, to Ghana, to the USA the opportunity to produce pieces of artwork that speak to their perspective on the issue. .

To celebrate the power of youth voice and promote the importance of art and creativity in bringing awareness to the global issue of girls’ access to education, I along with two young media makers, Gabriela de Carvalho from Mexico and Maymunah Stroud from the USA, attended the first-ever Youth Forum at the 60th session of the Commission on the Status of Women.



At the Youth Forum, young people from all over the world came together to learn, discuss, and commit to action on issues surrounding women and girls’ rights. Of course, one of these very pressing issues is that of girls’ access to education.

During the Forum, TakingITGlobal and Adobe held the #withMalala workshop which was developed as a tool for learning about everyone’s right to a quality education and about developing a dedication to ensuring human rights are respected around the globe through the power of media.



Facilitated with the help of the two Adobe Program Alumni, both young women were able to stress the value in using media through their own experience. With the creation of a project aimed at challenging negative depictions of women in the media by Gabriela, and a documentary emphasizing the power of education in allowing girls to reach their dreams by Maymunah, both facilitators were able to showcase how media and creativity can be used as a positive tool for social change.

At the end of the workshop, participants were encouraged to create a poster or visual representation of a result they would like to see come out of CSW. In such a short time, many of the participants were able to clearly depict through their visual representations, a change that they would like to see happen and it made for an incredible discussion.


This is the power of creativity. 


Gabriela was also invited to speak at the City University of New York as a part of a panel discussion on the new Security Council Resolution 2250. During the panel she emphasized the importance of media and youth voice in contributing to the peacebuilding process. Through sharing her experience as a young media maker, Gabriela stressed that youth media can be used as a powerful tool for creating change.

In her talk she mentioned her experience working with another youth media maker in Kenya who has created a project that addresses the issue of youth radicalization through the provision of deeper media skills and information literacy. Through utilizing the power of the media, both youth believe we can draw people together to promote conflict management and resolution, and to encourage people to change their attitudes and behaviours.



It is also not just the end product that helps bring awareness to issues such as the ones we discussed at CSW, engaging in the creative process also helps build connections amongst communities and community members-- bringing people together and giving them a space to exchange and collaborate on new and innovative ideas.

Gabriela and Maymunah’s closest connection came from sharing their creations. It sparked conversations which allowed them to recognize that the issues women are facing in reaching gender parity are not just local, they are global.

In this way, I can say for sure that a picture is not worth a thousand words… it is worth much more than that. I sincerely believe that one photo can become an instrument through which we can change the world-- even if just one person at a time.



For the past six years, TakingITGlobal has partnered with the Adobe Foundation to make a positive impact on the lives of youth around the world through the Adobe Youth Voices Program. To celebrate the success of the program and to offer our gratitude to partners, educators and students, TIG coordinators have spent the past few months travelling around the world to host Partner Appreciation Events and thank those that have made the AYV program such a success. 

In December 2015, our coordinator, Tala Nabulsi, travelled to Cairo, Egypt to host an Appreciation event for some of TakingITGlobal's most successful partners in the Middle East Region. Since 2008, TIG has partnered with 5 Cairo organizations to reach hundreds of youth throughout the city.  


The trip to Cairo included a visit organized by our partner “TMA Development, Training and Consulting”, to an Academic institute, where we organized a workshop for 100 students. The session started with showing a few videos produced from the AYV program and then explaining more about the history of the program. During the second part of the workshop, we selected 2 games from TakingITGlobal's “ A Window to the World” Card Deck, where the students introduced themselves (name, college year and type of Art they like) and described the image in the card they had. A few students were asked to sing or act based on the talent they wanted to share with the group. In the next game the participants were divided into groups to discuss the issues that the cards addressed and ways they suggest for facing them. Each group was asked to present the results of their discussions. At the end of the workshop we took several group photos and a plaque was presented to our TIG coordinator. 


The next day we organized the Partner Appreciation event at a youth NGO “Knowledge for All Foundation” recommended by our partner “ Dreamers of Tomorrow” Association. The venue is an ancient house that has been restored and offered as a meeting place for NGOs. The outdoor space gave a unique atmosphere for the event, especially with the nice cool weather. We had a few printed artworks showcased around the meeting area so guests could view and appreciate them. The event started with a welcome note to the guests, then we showed a video about the AYV program and another produced by one of the program participants. 




Adobe videoTala

Our guest speaker was Heba Elshatoury, a distinguished student who is a recipient of the Adobe Creativity Scholarship. Heba shared her success story and mentioned how the AYV program played a big role in building her personal skills and gave examples of projects she has implemented. 



Following Heba’s presentation, each partner organization and educator shared their own accomplishments and personal experiences with the program. The event was also a good opportunity for our guests to learn more about the program and ways of continuing to run self sustaining youth media programs in the future. During the coffee break one of the educators shared his musical talent by playing on the flute and another performed a rap song during his presentation. 


We ended the event by giving out Partner Appreciation Plaques to all partners and certificates to educators and youth participants. Each partner organization also received their own ‘A Window to the World’ Card Deck. 

KazemHeritageAlwan wa Awtar

Thank you!

A big thank you to all partners, educators and students who participated in TakingITGlobal's Youth Media Programs in Egypt. Your dedication and commitment played a big role in the success of the program by fostering creativity and dialogue among thousands of youth in Egypt!

The Youth Media Team at TakingITGlobal would like to extend sincerest thanks for your generosity in supporting young change makers around the world to creatively express themselves using digital media. Here is an update of what our inspiring youth projects are working on and how their work is being appreciated and exhibited around the world: 

Over the past 6 years, TakingITGlobal has been collaborating with passionate partners worldwide to bring resources, training and support to creatively engage and empower youth. Through the use of digital tools, youth are able to have their voices heard on the issues that matter the most to them. None of this work would be possible without the dedication and hard work of our global partners. As a result, TakingITGlobal has launched a series of Appreciation Events around the world to thank these partners and to celebrate youth creativity. Our most recent events took place in Buenos Aires, Argentina! 

Fundación ph15

Our first stop was at Fundación ph15, an organization that works with youth in marginalized communities using art, particularly photography, as a tool for social change. Through Fundación ph15, TakingITGlobal’s Youth Media program reached marginalized and underserved youth such as those from Villa 15, a community referred to as a slum and known as “la Ciudad Oculta” or “the Hidden City.”

Fundacion ph15

The Youth Media program at Fundación ph15 used digital media as a medium to bring hidden issues to the forefront of the community. An impactful example of this was their “Intervention in the Neighbourhood” exhibition in Villa Lugano, where they used photography to begin discussions on stereotyping and social isolation of certain groups of people.

Our site visit took us to the headquarters of Fundación ph15. The organization received a Plaque of Appreciation to recognize their efforts and the impact they have had on youth.



Our next stop took us to EcoEducarte which ran their youth media program at various sites over the years. For this Appreciation Event, one of the most enthusiastic and impactful sites was chosen to host the event. The community selected for the celebration was Laferrère, a marginalized and underserved community on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. Similar to the youth in the programs run by Fundación ph15, the youth do not have access to the technology required to create digital media without the program organizer who brought the resources, including a laptop with software and cameras for youth to photograph and take videos for their projects

This celebration took place in a large cement-walled enclosure with no roof. Despite the challenges that this posed during the implementation of their media programming, the youth persevered. In cold weather, they would huddle together as they came up with ideas for their videos. For many of them, this was the first time that they used cameras for photographs and videos. They were very excited to be able to participate in this type of program


The youth who participated in the program as well as some community members attended the screening of the videos that were created during throughout the year. This was followed by the presentation of certificates to the youth participants, the presentation of the Plaque of Appreciation to EcoEducarte, and refreshments accompanied by conversation.

The themes of the videos created at this site reflected the social issues that youth faced in their daily lives including environmental pollution, violence against women, domestic violence, drug addiction, discrimination, and violence at school. This program gave youth the opportunity to have a safe space to discuss these issues. They expressed their gratitude at being able to create digital media that demonstrated what was happening in their community and could be shared with other communities worldwide.


Thank You!

A special thank you the team at Fundación ph15 and EcoEducarte for empowering marginalized youth to express themselves through digital media. Our celebrations here are to extend our sincerest gratitude to all of the educators and participants from these sites for their participation and dedication to youth media making. We recognize the meaningful work that is being done on the ground and we are honoured to be a part of the process where the voices of youth, who often feel that they are invisible, are heard

The Youth Media Team at TakingITGlobal would like to extend sincerest thanks for your generosity in supporting young change makers around the world to creatively express themselves using digital media. Here is an update of what our inspiring youth projects are working on and how their work is being appreciated and exhibited around the world: 

This summer TakingITGlobal hosted its very first youth media exhibition in Rio de Janeiro, to showcase and celebrate the work created by youth from around Rio and Brazil. On June 23rd 2015 the youth participants and educators of TakingITGlobal’s partner sites in Rio were invited to exhibit their projects and check out what their colleagues created throughout the semester. Family and friends of the youth artists were also invited to share in the celebration.


Over the past 6 months, youth ages 13 to 18, were prompted to create digital media pieces that reflect their perspective on social issues that affect them, their communities and the city they live in. Our eleven partner sites in Brazil worked with underprivileged youth from the cities of Rio de Janeiro, Curitiba, Salvador, Fortaleza and Recife to help them strengthen skills such as critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity, by producing meaningful digital media art.

The Mangueira Samba School Committee kindly offered to host the celebration so that TakingITGlobal could run this event in a place that is meaningful to this audience! The guests were greeted at the central area of Quadra da Mangueira, where AREVAH`s artwork was showcased. This collection, created by youth from Ilha do Governador community, aimed to expose sides of Rio de Janeiro that the main media will not usually show.


 “Our kids wanted to visually show how they see the city, that there are two faces of Rio de Janeiro: one for the rich and one for the poor. We don't see that being discussed much on TV or in movies. So we wanted to show it ourselves. Some art pieces look at this issue from a more rational perspective, showing the pain that it causes for everyone living in the city, be them rich or poor, but some art pieces carry hopeful messages, such as appreciation for the popular spaces, or favelas, love for their community, and an invitation for people to unite and work together for a more beautiful, more equal, and safer Rio de Janeiro” Explained AREVAH`s AYV Educator, Angelo Oliveira.


The youth artists had a chance to introduce their work, talk about what inspired them to pick each topic, and answer questions from the audience after the screening of each project. The audience carried terrific discussions and shared their diverse points of view over the issues being discussed. It was impressive to see how the topics selected by the youth were topics that spoke to the hearts of many of those in the room. Topics that were discussed ranged from homelessness, women empowerment, abortion, public transit, the importance of art and dance for underprivileged youth, preservation of natural resources and life in the favela.


By promoting this program and this event, TakingITGlobal gave room to empower and connect youth from different underprivileged communities giving them an opportunity to explore topics they care about and communicate their perspective on these issues to an audience that understands and lives with these issues. The presence of an audience that genuinely became engaged with the art comes to show that the youth perspective is valuable and rich.


With the help of TakingITGlobal, these organizations and educators will now be able to host their own exhibitions, promote debates in their communities, and create new projects in a sustainable way, to keep empowering youth to explore and communicate the issues that they really care about. By using creativity and having a safe place to share their thoughts with educators they trust, these youth were able to create inspiring and thought instigating artwork that they can show to their communities, locally and globally!


The Youth Media Team at TakingITGlobal would like to extend sincerest thanks for your generosity in supporting young change makers around the world to creatively express themselves using digital media. Here is an update of some of our inspiring youth projects and how their work is being appreciated and exhibited around the world.

Over the past year, TakingITGlobal's Youth Media Team has been working with youth organizations around the world to  develop global partnerships through our Global Collaboration Program. The aim of the program is to partner youth from different countries to work together to create media pieces about social issues they are passionate about. The hope is that not only will youth be able to produce media together but also to learn more about each others cultures and histories and to be part of a global knowledge exchange. This year's program saw five collaborations with organizations from eight different countries. Over 200 youth participated in the program to create a total of 10 media pieces. 

Haiti and United States Partnership 

One of the more successful partnerships was between sites based in Haiti and the United States. Both youth groups were passionate about water and marine conservation and so decided to focus their project on that topic. The students sent videos to each other introducing their organizations and how they wanted to tackle the issue. The youth decided to create a Public Service Announcement that would focus on the destruction of marine life by local Haiti Fisherman. After months of collaboration and communication via email and Facebook, the students were able to complete their PSA. The Collaborative PSA is scheduled to air on local Haitian television in the next few weeks.  



Mexico and Canada Collaboration 

The collaboration between youth in Saskatoon, Canada and Mexico City, Mexico focused on the exchange of daily life experiences between the two groups. As the Canadian youth compiled their videos with the support of their educator, the youth from Mexico took a far more interesting approach choosing to use their phones and tablets to film raw snippets of their daily lives and share them directly via email. This documentation of daily life became a powerful instrument for cultural exchange between the youth in both locations as they were exposed to different cultures and the daily lives of young people in different cities.

Macedonia and Belarus Collaboration 

The theme for this collaboration was Hopes and Dreams of Young People as youth from Veles, Macedonia and Minsk, Belarus worked together to brainstorm and storyboard ideas for the project. This theme initiated many discussions amongst the youth from both organizations. Students met online for live brainstorming sessions where they were able to further develop their ideas and complete their storyboards. Through this collaboration, the sites were able to produce three posters that focused on Friendship, Music, and Travelling.  

This year's Global Collaboration Project was an exciting experience not only for the youth and organizations involved but also for the entire TakingITGlobal Youth Media Team. We would like to thank all the youth and educators involved in this year's project and we look forward to continuing to facilitate youth collaborations around the globe in the future. 


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Organization Information

Taking IT Global

Location: Toronto, Ontario - Canada
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Kareen Matushek
Toronto, Ontario Canada

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