Youths Urged To Embrace Citizen Journalism As An Advocacy Tool
Youths in Zimbabwe should embrace digital skills to report and advocate issues affecting them in their communities, Wadzanai Community Development Trust (WCDT) has said.
By Sharon Chikwanha
Wadzanai Community Development Trust (WCDT) is a community based organization located in Chinamhora communal area, northwest of Goromonzi District in Mashonaland East Province of Zimbabwe. The organisation was established as cooperate in the late 80’s, when a group of women came together to start income generating projects. Its has since evolved over the years into an association. The organisations core business is to uplift women’s socio-economic status through the promotion of women to actively take leading roles in development issues. Since the women do not live on their own island, the organization has adopted a holistic approach to also include other social groups like men, youths, and community leaders.
Wadzanai Trust held a two day training workshop with more than 60 young people on digital literacy, storytelling for advocacy. The workshop was facilited by Joseph Munda a digital media expert from Gender Media Connect. This digital training workshop was an eye opener for many of the young people. "I now know that even without professional training I am able to use modern technology to create media," Emma Chamisa commented
They young people where being taught on how to use their phones as a tool to create content to advocate for issues that young people are facing in their communities. “I have learnt that being an advocator doesn't mean being violent but building relationship and get support from the community to address issues we face. "Said Raphel Mukwati
" Personally I have gain so much knowledge that I can use my phone to make a positive change.Professionally, as a future social work, I have a role of an advocator of issues that are disturbing the community development and nation at large."Raphel added
WCDT reiterated that youths should address the gap in the mainstream media through citizen journalism by focusing on socio economic developmental issues.
“Citizen journalism entails that anyone who has a cellphone can start reporting events across digital world. " Wadzanai committee member Mr Takavadii said.
The organisations added that youths should participate in disseminating information to advance the wellbeing of their societies
“Anyone can be a citizen journalist as long as they have internet connection or a smartphone, said Rosemary Musonza
Some of the youths who attended the workshop could not hide their joy.
"We have been motivated, I cannot believe I'm also a community journalist, said a participant only identified as Allan Huni.
Local community development is empowered by modern way of reporting. Not all essential information in our community have been reported and it's not journalists' s fault they also need us to help them report some of these events. "Said Allan Gambaira
Mainstream media in Zimbabwe often does not cover key communities issues resulting in digital media becoming an alternative source of news. Social media is there for us to address our challenges and showcase our developments. Citizen journalism enables individuals to participate in disseminating information to advocate their concerns to relevent stakeholders. “So I have gained so much and its now my duty to educate more people on youth advocacy using our phones, said Tariro Mhondorohuma.