“I am Africa. This is My Story…”: Power of Peace Network supports digital storytelling contest

An African continent-wide digital storytelling contest on YouTube, entitled “I am Africa. This is My Story…”, was launched on 1 March 2011 by Chrysalis Campaign, Inc. (USA) and ZAA-ICT, a Southern Africa Telecentre Network supported by UNESCO’s Power of Peace Network (PPN). The contest calls on African native youth, between the ages of 14 and 35, to team up with press, schools, cyber cafes, NGOs, missions and youth agencies to produce three-minute YouTube digital stories.

The youth StoryTellers will receive free multimedia Internet training on how to produce digital stories on YouTube. Training will be available online and through African cyber cafes, schools and NGOs. The stories must be encouraging and show how African youth are improving their lives in positive ways: through education, microeconomics apprenticeships and simply hard work. There will also be a music video award for a three-minute YouTube with original or cultural music.

Individuals and organizations that help young StoryTellers will be called CyberGuides and will also receive free media training. CyberGuides are sought to loan video equipment (e.g. cell phones that can record movies) or to donate Internet time and technical resources. Cyber cafes that donate Internet time will be able to display CyberGuide certificates and posters in their stores, stating that they are training centres for the contest. 

“I am Africa. This is my story…” merges the oldest traditions of the human race with the global reach of the Internet. Storytelling is still the greatest teacher that unites us as one people. Armed with this contest’s social network, Facebook and Twitter communities, African youth can bypass the commercial media and finally tell the truth of their innovation, determination and reasons for us to invest in their future. 

This initiative is unique because it encourages all countries, tribes and organizations to work together or to compete in a friendly way. Local towns or schools and small NGOs can have their own contest or awareness campaigns. 
Free storytelling training material is available for the press. It is expected that African media professionals will take this material into local schools and encourage young StoryTellers to enter the contest. Local news stations and newspapers can even give out their own local awards for achievements. Online blogs and news can link to this material. 

Part of this free contest is free membership to an African Ning social community. The YouTube stories will be featured and voted on through a YouTube Channel. 
To enter the contest, please go to: http://i-am-the-story.ning.com/, where you will find free online training and links to free video editing tools. Organizations that help youth with YouTube stories will be able to use these stories for their own websites. Voting starts on 1 May 2011 and ends on 1 August 2011. 

Queries about the contest can be sent to Richard C. Close.

More information about the Power of Peace Network is available at:www.thepowerofpeacenetwork.com

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