Centre for Media & Information Literacy in Kenya

October 18, 2016 at 12:00 am Nairobi,Kenya Nairobi,Kenya

CMIL-Kenya UNESCO Conduct MIL Capacity Building of Youth Organisations’ Leaders in Kenya

CMIL-KENYA has partnered with UNESCO to promote the uptake of media & information literacy in Kenya in a project entitled National MIL Consultations and Capacity Building of Youth Leaders.
The project commenced in July, 2016 and has been ongoing. The project has envisaged to generate a draft Kenya National MIL Policy and Strategy document as a major output from stakeholder consultations comprising CMIL-Kenya, Government ministries (Education & ICT) and a host of other players.
One of the major activities carried out was a capacity building workshop of membership-based, youth-led organisations from across Kenya. The three-day UNESCO supported workshop for 35 youth leaders was held in Nairobi on October 18th – 20th, 2016.
The main objective of the workshop was to introduce media and information literacy to the youth organisations; and to encourage them to become critical, thoughtful, informed, engaged and empowered citizens. It provided space for informal learning and creativity and stimulated networking, debate and discussion.
For the select youth and their organisations, the workshop sought to help them appreciate information and media messages and how they could integrate MIL in the design and implementation of their activities in different areas of youth engagement, namely democratic participation, environment, entrepreneurship, youth empowerment, film-making, gender, human rights, inter-cultural dialogue, peace and national values, etc.
The three-day workshop which was held from October 18th – 20th, 2016 was attended by thirty five youth representing seventeen youth organisations from 12 counties spread across Kenya. The youth organisations were selected through a comprehensive vetting processes to assess their capacity and commitment to implement the outcome of the workshop.
The topics covered during the workshop were as follows:

MIL Topic

Remarks

Introduction to MIL

Participants were
immersed into what MIL entails with an in-depth description of the various
literacies in media, information and digital realms.

Media Literacy
& Civic Engagement

Renowned Kansa
State University scholar prof. Sam Chege took the
participants through the nexus between MIL and civic engagement.

MIL &
Intercultural Dialogue

Participants were
trained on the use of MIL to understand own culture; and to appreciate the
diverse viewpoints of other cultures to forge togetherness and build strong
communities.

Analysis and Use of
Media Messages

Participants were
taken through the motions of the key concepts for analyzing media content and
other information.

Gender
Representation in the Media

Using MIL to
promote gender representation in youth organisations activities.

Media Literacy for
Social Action

Engaging with media
at different levels and using new technology and information for social
action/civic engagement.

UNESCO MILCLICKS

Getting actively engaged in the UNESCO social media
strategy to raise awareness about the
importance of media and information literacy
and reach out to
organisation members to become more
media and information literate
.

Guidelines on MIL
Integration into Youth Programmes

Commitment from
participants and their organisations to be involved in the UNESCO Massive
Open Online Courses (MOOCS) for MIL

MIL Action Plans
for Youth Organisations

Developing
strategies and action plans on how youth organisations can apply MIL Policy
and Guidelines to their respective organisations

Launch of Kenya
National MIL Youth Network

Keeping the network
of the trained MIL ambassadors alive and sharing experiences on their future
MIL undertakings.

 

Training material for the workshop was derived from selected modules of UNESCO Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) in conjunction with Athabasca University, Canada.
Before the workshop, CMIL-Kenya distributed a basic draft model guideline on how youth organisations can integrate MIL in their activities alongside the workshop background information to bring the youth organisations up to speed with the objectives of the workshop. The draft model was developed in a format borrowed from the Continental MIL outfit based in Nigeria, PAMIL, which had implemented a similar project in 2015 through AFRICMIL, and with whom CMIL-Kenya works in close partnership.
In the guidelines, CMIL-Kenya developed a form through which participants shared their thoughts of MIL implementation strategies. This guideline was distributed before the workshop for participants to study and make their input with an emphasis on the strategies for integrating MIL in their core activities.
During the workshop, there were discussions around the guidelines and facilitators worked with participants to guide them on how to integrate the guidelines into their activities. At the end of the group discussions, participants developed action plans on how to implement the MIL guidelines in their mandate.

Workshop Outcomes
In the workshop were taken through the above MIL topic areas. During recap, the participants were divided into working groups to deliberate on the different aspects MIL as set out in the workshop objectives. The following summarized ideas were collated from their discussion:

What is MIL?

It is combination of knowledge, attitudes, skills, and practices required to access, analyze, evaluate, use, produce, and communicate information and knowledge in creative, legal and ethical ways that respect human rights. This creates the ability to access, critically analyze and create information through the media and other information sources.

Who is MIL literate?

M& Information Literate individuals:
i. have knowledge about how the media and other information providers work;
ii. know where and how they store, use or produce information;
iii. isolate the kinds of information they store and produce and know how they use it to persuade others;
iv. know how to find information and tell if it is accurate, fair, and trustworthy;
v. critically sort through information you find and select what is required; and
vi. use the information they interact with to improve their own knowledge and that of society as a whole.

Why is MIL Important
Participants came up with the following observations:

How MIL be promoted in Kenya?

GUIDELINES FOR MEDIA & INFORMATION LITERACY (MIL) YOUTH WORKSHOP REPORT

Table Of Contents

Guidelines On How Youth Organisations Can Integrate Mil In Their Daily Operations………..1
Introduction………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………1
Rationale for Developing the Guidelines………………………………………………………………………………………………2
Media & Information Literacy and the Youth in Kenya………………………………………………………………………….3
Empowering Youth Organizations in Kenya through Information………………………………………………………….5
Media & Information Literacy and Youth Advocacy………………………………………………………………………………5
Why Media & Information Literacy is Important for Youth Organisations………………………………………………6
How to Use the Media and Information Literacy Guideline for Youth Organisations………………………………..6
Broad Media and Information Literacy Integration Strategies………………………………………………………………..7
Adaptation of the UNESCO Media and Information Literacy Guidelines…………………………………………………9
Goals of Media and Information Literacy Adaptation…………………………………………………………………………….10
The Benefits of Integrating MIL in the Operations of Youth Organisations………………………………………………10
How to use Media and Information Literacy to promote Gender Representation in Youth Organisations……11
Media and Information Literacy as a Tool in Prevention of Violent Extremism…………………………………………11
Conclusions…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………12

GUIDELINES ON HOW YOUTH ORGANISATIONS CAN INTEGRATE MIL IN THEIR DAILY OPERATIONS *

*Ratified during a UNESCO supported media and information literacy capacity building of membership-based youth groups leaders in Kenya on October 18th – 20th, 2016.

Introduction

In the backdrop of the convergence of new communication technologies with traditional media, the ascent of the Internet and social media coupled with the exponential growth in use of computer and mobile devices, the ubiquity of information and media have increased manifold. This has opened new horizons for large swathes of global citizens to exercise their rights to freedom of opinion, expression and access to information, and affords them the opportunity to be actors in, and beneficiaries of, sustainable development.
It’s against this background that UNESCO has taken deliberate steps to enhance media and information literacy (MIL) as well as intercultural competencies among youth organizations, teachers and other stakeholders globally to promote knowledge societies and foster the development of free, independent and pluralistic media and universal access to information and knowledge for good governance.
Towards this end, UNESCO has partnered with the Centre for Media & Information Literacy in Kenya (CMIL-K) in a capacity building project aimed at empowering Kenyan citizens, particularly the youth, by enhancing their media and information literacy competencies and to develop a national MIL policy and strategies, including adaptation of the UNESCO MIL Curriculum for Teachers for systemic implementation of concrete MIL activities in Kenya.
With UNESCO support, CMIL-Kenya conducted a 3-day MIL capacity building workshop of 35 youth organisation leaders in Nairobi in October 18-20, 2016. One of the outputs of the workshop was this guidelines for integration of MIL into youth activities.

Rationale for Developing the Guidelines

The world is currently replete with new media technologies and citizens, particularly young people, are daily being fed with media messages that affect them in different ways. Around the world, children and youth are also learning to use these new technologies to address issues that affect them. Media and information literacy (MIL) – the ability to review, critique and digest information created and disseminated by media of various kinds – is an increasingly vital citizenship skill for life in a modern democratic society.
While media and information literacy initiatives have taken root in various parts of the world, unfortunately, Kenya has not yet developed a national policy and strategy guidelines to guide the development of MIL in the country and to help her citizens, particularly the youth, understand and manage the impact of media and information on its democracy as well as social, cultural and political lives.
This guideline aims to help youth in Kenya and other parts of the continent, through their organisations, working in different thematic areas (e.g. democracy, environment, religion, sports, education, peace, gender, human rights, inter-cultural dialogue, etc.) to take advantage of benefits of MIL by incorporating MIL skills and competencies in their daily operations.

Figure:1 Importance Of MIL

Media & Information Literacy and the Youth in Kenya

In Kenya, the media landscape has changed dramatically over the past 25 years, and the youth as audiences are central to this changing media landscape. A 2013 UNICEF study conducted in Kenya to gauge the emerging digital culture among the youth revealed a changing media landscape in the country, enabled in large part to the increased availability of cheap web-enabled mobile phones. The study posits that “…access to internet has changed the way young Kenyans seek information and news, make new connections, and entertain themselves. They consider digital and social media to be an integral part of their lives. Many use the internet regularly and most have access to a shared phone or their own personal phone, with internet access. As the mobile phone is the main point of access to the internet, many children and young people, who participated in the study, switch fluidly between using the internet and using the phone. The words chatting, texting, and messaging are used interchangeably to refer to communicating with friends online via emails, social media platforms or via mobile phones (SMS or calling in what is part of an integrated digital experience.”
Further, the study reveals that the young people use digital tools to meet new people, access entertainment-related content and learn new things of interest to them, with the most popular activities online including socializing and chatting using social media platforms and chat forums, accessing audio/video content, playing games, and searching for information on topics ranging from sports, entertainment, fashion, dating and love lives to academic subjects and gossip.
From a media and information literacy perspective, the study shows that young people in Kenya want to seek information and connections on their own terms, to have a private world where they can explore, be inquisitive, be social or even exhibitionist among those they choose to befriend. (UNICEF, 2013)
While the UNICEF study focused mainly on teenagers below 17 years of age, the findings can be extrapolated to the young adults’ demographic grouping whose access to the news media, websites and content on social media play an increasingly important role in shaping their perceptions in society. Since the youth is the most active demographic group in social media use, it can be inferred thus :

  1. MIL can empower youth organisations to navigate the news media and the Internet
    with confidence and more capably address misinformation or bias.
  2. It allows them to understand and deal with contemporary events, challenges and
    issues in a way that is responsible, informed and effective.
  3. MIL should spur members of youth organisations to become active producers of
    information and innovators of media and information products, as well as
    critical thinkers.
  4. MIL should incite youth to use new and traditional media for self-expression,
    creativity and greater participation in society
  5. MIL can enhance inclusion through interactions with and learning about members
    of other religious communities.

Empowering Youth Organizations in Kenya through Information

MIL is concerned with giving people an understanding of the importance of media and other information providers in order to:

Figure 2: Benefits of MIL to youth organisations

Media & Information Literacy and Youth Advocacy

MIL can also be used for advocacy on an array of youth-related issues, including promoting an understanding of the role of media and information in the society and also stimulate dialogue on issues of national and international importance that affect the youth. Youth organisations can enlist MIL as a vehicle for advocacy of youth-related issues and promoting an understanding of media and information in society, thereby enhancing the youth organizations’ impact to society. More importantly, MIL can be used to stimulate informed dialogue and promote intercultural and interreligious dialogue, thereby enhancing synergy among youth groups working in different fields.

Why Media & Information Literacy is Important for Youth Organisations

Media and Information literacy confers many benefits to youth organisations who embrace it, including the following;

  1. MIL helps youth organisation members to effectively access information and communicate decisions appropriately;
  2. It can serve as a window to the world on what other youth organizations are doing and planning;
  3. MIL can make feedback easier, efficient and help youth and their organisations meet the needs of their
    target groups;
  4. It empowers by enhancing access to information in a mediated world where information and knowledge is
    power;
  5. MIL skills can help build the capacity of youth and their organisations to improve on their mandate;
  6. MIL can help youth and their organisations keep up to date with happenings around them and develop the
    capacity to respond appropriately;
  7. It provides checks and balance about information sharing;
  8. MIL can be a powerful PR tool for youth organisations.

How to Use the Media and Information Literacy Guideline for Youth Organisations

The 3-day workshop for youth leaders mainly focused on Introduction to Media and information Literacy (MIL) and the role and function of media and other information providers in our personal lives and in society, as an important skill set for citizens in the 21st Century.

Broad Media and Information Literacy Integration Strategies

The following strategies for integrating the MIL in the operations of youth organisations operations were discussed during the workshop and youth organisations encouraged to adopt them:

How MIL can be promoted in Kenya at National Level

  1. Holding regular MIL training workshops for youths and other organized groups
  2. Integrating MIL in school and universities curricula
  3. Developing and implementing National Policies and Strategies on MIL in the country
  4. Networking and creating partnerships with relevant stakeholders, including decision/policy makers and civil society.
  5. Effective use of the youth organisations and other relevant institutions to spread the MIL skills and use
  6. Conducting MIL research and baseline surveys to guide the stakeholder debates and its implementation in the country.

How to integrate MIL in the Activities of Youth Organisations

The strategies available to youth organisations for adopt for growth of MIL among youth organisations are quite many. In the long term, a combination of two or more of these strategies could also be explored depending on the scope of the youth organisation’s mandate, membership and resource available. Evidently, the adaptation process and integration strategies employed will vary from organisation to organisations depending on a number of defining factors. Below is a summary of the various ways youth organisations can integrate MIL into their activities:

  1. Cascading MIL capacity building/training to youth organisations members and carrying out Mil activities during the Global Media and Information Week Celebrations (announced by GAPMIL to partner organisations);
  2. Conducting in-house training for members of their organisations on MIL using materials developed from UNESCO MOOCS;
  3. Enrolling into the existing MIL platforms to learn more about MIL and join the advocacy to promote MIL across the country;
  4. Develop in-house manual or briefing on MIL for members;
  5. Organising events centred on using MIL to promote mandates of the youth organisations in their localities;
  6. Linking organisations to groups (media, libraries, museums, archives) and agencies around the country working on MIL-related activities;
  7. Designate a “special” MIL liaison officer for youth organisation to coordinate MIL activities;
  8. Develop work-plans and specify a timeline and tasks to meet MIL integration objectives;
  9. Commitment by members to undertake UNESCO MIL MOOCs whenever it is available;
  10. Emphasize that those who aspire to leadership positions acquire MIL skills (through training like UNESCO’s Massive Open Online Course (MOOC);
  11. Active participation of youth leaders and the organisation’s members in MILCLICKS social media platforms of Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.
  12. Youth organisations can include MIL training as part of their induction programme.

For youth organisations that have embraced the basic MIL initiatives as described above, they may consider to advance to more concrete MIL undertakings as described below.

  1. Multi-components integration: Different components of MIL can be integrated into related areas of the operations of youth organisation e.g. MIL & Gender, Freedom of Information, MIL and Intercultural Dialogue, e.t.c.
  2. Youth organisations working in the areas of religion and cultural diversity, including teachers and youth workers in religious institutions and schools and those in civic education programmes with an interreligious and or intercultural component can complement and support training in intercultural and interreligious dialogue;
  3. Youth organisations can join the advocacy for a national policy and strategy guidelines to guide the development of MIL in the country as well as the effort to integrate MIL in the school curriculum;
  4. Youth organisations that create content can develop media kits that can be availed to the media to better inform them about MIL, the group and its activities;
  5. Organising events centred on using MIL to promote mandates of the youth organisations in their localities;
  6. Designating a spokesperson to speak for the youth organisation and providing key contacts of the group to the media for easy access to information about your activities;
  7. Youth organisations can design outreach programmes targeting other youth organisations around different MIL concepts like national values, prevention of violent extremism, stereotyping (simple, one-dimensional portrayals of people, based on generalizations based on religion, gender, ethnic group, age, etc.), peace building, stemming radicalization, etc.

Adaptation of the UNESCO Media and Information Literacy Guidelines

UNESCO has developed comprehensive guidelines on MIL policy and strategy that can be used by youth groups, NGOs and government agencies and departments to guide various MIL interventions at local, regional and national levels. For youth organisations, integrating MIL in their operations is important in the digital world and boosts the quality of membership participation and achievement of objectives in the organisation’s affairs. The overall benefits of MIL are;

  1. It will enhance the process of creating knowledge-driven, inclusive, pluralistic, democratic, and open societies.
  2. Youth organisations working in the areas of religion and cultural diversity, including teachers and youth workers in religious institutions and schools and those in civic education programmes with an interreligious and or intercultural component can complement and support training in intercultural and interreligious dialogue;
  3. Assists in developing practical MIL strategies, informed by the realities of youth organisation mandates and marrying them to national development goals/sustainable development goals.

Goals of Media and Information Literacy Adaptation

Derived from UNESCO MIL Guidelines on Policy and strategy, MIL has the following goals for youth organisations:

  1. Helps youth organisations understand the deeper significance of information, media and the world around them
  2. Assist members of youth organisations in using information efficiently, critically and ethically and to advocate and defend freedom of expression, access to information and other human rights
  3. Help members of youth organisations to be to be constructive information disseminators and boost the quality of their participation in democratic discourse
  4. Help members of youth organisations to be more involved and creative in the production and dissemination of knowledge.
  5. Help members of youth to be actively involved in the innovation.
  6. Encourage a comprehensive and harmonized approach to the design, planning and implementation of MIL programmes for youth organisations

The Benefits of Integrating MIL in the Operations of Youth Organisations

Youths organisations that have embraced media and information literacy in their undertakings have a clear advantage over others who have not. The benefits include;

  1. More publicity and corporate boost of their organisations; thereby creating more public awareness of their mandates.
  2. More active and increased democratic participation in their countries
  3. Youth as citizens take a more active role in society, in turn making it more democratic and inclusive
  4. Youth can increase their role as producers of content and knowledge besides being consumers.
  5. MIL is a basis for freedom of expression, access to information and quality education for all.
  6. Without MIL competencies, youth cannot be well informed because they do not have access to information and are not empowered to process and use it.

How to use Media and Information Literacy to promote Gender Representation in Youth Organisations

  1. Through MIL women and girls can be trained, given voice and opportunities to serve
  2. MIL can help ensure that stereotyping is avoided and gender sensitivity is promoted
  3. Through MIL, youth organisations can engage in public advocacy for gender equity
  4. MIL can help ensure that recruitment in youth organisations and other work environments are gender sensitive
  5. MIL can help build positive representation of women in society
  6. MIL can help build self-esteem for girls in youth organisations
  7. MIL can promote constructive debate on gender, ethnic, cultural and social equality in youth organisations

Media and Information Literacy as a Tool in Prevention of Violent Extremism

Violent extremism has lately become a widespread phenomenon that threatens global peace and stability. The youth are the most affected as they are main the targets for recruitment into extremist groups, mainly through the Internet, to push their heinous agenda.
Media and Information literacy has been identified as a powerful tool to counter violent extremism. MIL can help build resilience of youth groups against violent extremist narratives through:

    1. MIL can equip the youth with appropriate skills and tools to understand their own biases and subsequently build the defences to violent extremist narratives;
    2. MIL confers on the youth critical thinking skills and helps build resistance to simplistic, one-dimensional truths and messages that condone or even exalt hatred and the use of violence as a means to resolve problems;
    3. Media and information literacy helps create safe spaces for constructive dialogue, where the youth can experience non-conflictual discussions on controversial topics, and help them develop a personal understanding of complex issues and question their own assumptions and those of others;

 

  • The youth can understand the flaws in, and manipulations of, less reliable sources of information which feed into conspiracy theories, thereby helping develop youth capacities to counter violent extremist narratives.

 

Conclusion

These guidelines have been developed for general use by organised youth groups, civil society organisations, universities, school clubs and other institutions interested in media and information literacy. The guidelines are designed to serve as an introduction to MIL and can form part of capacity building workshop for youth organisations and other formal groupings. In this regard, CMIL-Kenya envisages the following use of the guidelines:

  1. Youth groups encouraged to adopt the MIL guidelines as a key resource document for implementation of youth organisation activities.
  2. Development of work-plans with MIL components using the guidelines.
  3. The guidelines can form the basis for discussion among youth members in their meetings, social media discussions, etc.
  4. Sharing and dissemination of the MIL guidelines in websites and other fora.
  5. Holding more workshops with other youth groups with the guidelines as a key resource.
  6. Youth groups encouraged to disseminate the guidelines within their networks for multiplier effect.

ENDNOTES:

  • This guideline is wholly adapted from UNESCO: Media and Information Literacy Policy and Strategy Guidelines, and African Centre for Media and Information Literacy-AFRICMIL

(http://www.africmil.org/unescoyouthmil/guidelines/). It was ratified for adoption by 35 youth organisations’ leaders who attended the MIL capacity building workshop on 18th-20th October, 2016 in Nairobi organized by CMIL-Kenya with support from UNESCO.

2. A (Private) Public Space: Examining the Use and Impact of Digital and Social Media among Adolescents in Kenya, UNICEF, 2013. (Link: http://www.voicesofyouth.org/files/A%20Private%20Public_Voices%20of%20Youth%20Kenya%20study_54b5689adc61f.pdf)
3. Ibid, Executive Summary
4. Unesco MIL Policy and Strategy Guidelines, pg 13-14
5. Summarized from workshop group and plenary discussions
6. UNESCO MIL Policy & Strategy Guidelines, pg 122
7. UNESCO MIL Policy & Strategy Guidelines, pg 63-64
8. Adopted from Preventing Violent Extremism through Education: A Guide for Policymakers, UNESCO, 2017, pg

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