Young Mindanawon influencers undergo training to create alternative narratives of peace
Thirty young influencers from across five regions in Mindanao gathered last August 26-30 in Hotel Koresko, Cagayan de Oro City for the 2nd OURmindaNOW Tech Camp organized by Equal Access International Philippines (EAI-PH).
With the aim of strengthening the capacity of young influencers in Mindanao to create powerful alternative narratives that promote peace, the second iteration of the Tech Camp trained leaders from various regions in the island including Northern Mindanao, South Central, CARAGADavao, Lanao, and the Zambasulta Region.
“This is the second camp under the OURmindaNOW project, and the fourth Tech Camp overall. We want to train more peace influencers here in Mindanao so we can reach even more youth and Mindanaoans through their different campaigns and community projects,” said Joel Dizon, EAI PH Program Manager.
During the 5-day training, campers underwent sessions that helped them have a deeper understanding of peace, conflict, and violent extremism, knowing Violent Extremist Organizations’ (VEO) narratives and how to creative alternative messages to counter them, and how they fit in the bigger picture of peace in Mindanao.
One of the campers from Marawi, Lanao del Sur said that a unique aspect about the Tech Camp was that it encouraged full participation of all campers to maximize their potential regardless of their religious or ethnic background.
Ahmad Bantuas quipped: “The most special thing about the camp is putting everyone in one setting in spite of coming from different tribes of Mindanao which eventually erased any prejudices we had. We were able to have fun together because of the culture of tolerance and common understanding that was observed during the camp.”
A highlight output of the camp was the creation of impactful digital campaigns that promote peace, and among them was the “Orphans, OURphans” campaign from the South Central region team.
The campaign aims to share the diverse narratives of orphans from Maguindanao to promote their potentials and personal identity in spite of their circumstances.
“We consider children to be one of the most vulnerable sectors of society, most especially those who have been orphaned, which is exactly why we need to invest in them more. Through the campaign, we wanted to share their experiences to possible stakeholders who would want to help them in shaping their future,” said Abdul Rahman Alongan, one of the proponents from Cotabato City.
The campers are expected to run these campaign prototypes when they go back to their respective communities after the training.
EAI-PH aims to create local messaging hubs that builds the capacity of the youth to amplify alternative messaging that promotes social cohesion and broader inclusions, develop alternative messaging strategies, support digital and grassroots initiatives, and engage atrisk population.
Apart from the Tech Camp, EAI-PH does this through its different components including the peace promotion fellowship, radio programs, and community forums among others.
CAMPAIGN FOR PEACE. Tech Camp participants from the Northern Mindanao regional team brainstorm on their "KamalaYOUNG Campaign" aiming to increase awareness on Mindanao's diversity and inclusivity among students in MOGCHS.