The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the EU are calling on youth leaders, influencers, and creators to promote peace through digital action by joining a new regional programme in Sri Lanka and the Maldives. ‘United Creatives’ is implemented by the social change agency Love Frankie and will support youth from across the two countries to build digital campaigns that offer alternatives to hate speech, both online and on-the-ground.
The selected youth aged 18-30 will gain access to cutting edge training, mentorship, and tools to build creative online campaigns over ten weeks through UN specialists, Facebook masterclasses, social leaders, and a range of thematic and creative experts.
The programme promotes positive co-creation by aspiring youth to counter the regions’ struggles with growing online hate speech, misinformation, and division to promote inclusive and diverse solutions. Youth will gain vital digital and strategic skills to successfully promote social cohesion, build positive social messages, and promote tolerance in their respective communities. They will take part in sessions on building emotional intelligence, creating empathic and engaging narratives, using ‘art-ivism’ and new creative mediums for engagement, as well as understanding and calling for positive policy action. Finally, participants will become members of a network of influential youth creating impactful positive digital content and celebrating diversity.
“The COVID-19 pandemic made us realize the power of social media – both positively and negatively. It is critical that the young generation is empowered with the skills to effectively use social media for creating a cohesive and just world.” Akiko Fujii, UNDP Resident Representative in the Maldives.
“COVID-19 has heightened concerns around the spread of hate speech, misinformation, and negativity online. However, young people in Sri Lanka have shown a desire and ability to drive positive change for themselves and their communities, particularly on social media to overcome this. UNDP is proud to support this initiative which will provide youth the platform, skills, and resources required to strengthen their voice and drive that change in shaping future societies,” said Robert Juhkam, Resident Representative for UNDP in Sri Lanka.
“We need to make better use of social networks, to attenuate their role in disinformation. The European Union is therefore proud to support digital peace initiatives such as the one promoted by UNDP in Sri Lanka and the Maldives”, said Denis Chaibi, EU Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives. “In COVID times, it is crucial that we encourage young people to counter prejudice and polarization through courage and veracity, and to equip them with the digital skills required to do so.”
The call for applications will remain open until January 18th, 2021. A panel of experts from project partners will then select 40 top applicants to participate in the programme. The invited participants will start their journey at a kick-off boot camp on February 12th, 2021.