A Comundos friend from Nigeria writes on ´Achieving sustainable development goals through media and digital literacy: the story of Comundos´.
One important aspect of the sustainable development goals adopted by world leaders in 2015 is the commitment of not leaving anyone behind in achieving the seventeen set goals by 2030.
The commitment was pledged by world leaders because they recognize that we live in a world of inequalities where disparities exist in terms of knowledge, wealth, natural endowment, technological proficiency as well as innovative abilities.
One organization that has translated this commitment into noticeable actions is a small non-governmental organization based in Belgium, COMUNDOS.
I first encountered the organization at the 2018 UNESCO Global Media and Information Literacy Feature Conference hosted by Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas, Lithuania and since then my passion for their work never ceased. I was fascinated by the presentation made by one of the Directors, Bart Vetsuypens, on how the organization through digital storytelling, media literacy and innovations is empowering, educating and giving voices to communities often left behind, that will enable them to take on actions for SDGs like climate change, human rights, quality education, agriculture and food sufficiency as well as portable water, sanitation, environmental sustainability and health.
I am regularly updated on the activities and works of Comundos and the progress being made by students, educators of NGOs and communities where it previously worked in Cameroon, Brazil, Guatemala, Honduras, Philippines, Rwanda among others. I see an organization connecting cultures, giving voices to communities, building capacities for future digital journalists, web designers, desktop publishers and media literate farmers.
At the heart of the work of Comundos is the resolve to make ICT and social media essential means for emancipation, identity cultivation and the development of critical global awareness.
Comundos promotes an intercultural dialogue among young people between the North and South, South-South, to communicate with each other via exchange of their digital stories. The participants decide which topic they want to portray and how they want to do this. In addition, it is also intended to improve computer skills and media literacy of young people by supporting their critical thinking. COMUNDOS commenced activities in 2015 by focusing on projects that mostly support agricultural schools in the global south. My interactions with Bart, show that the initial project of COMUNDOS was set up (2014) in a bottom-up approach within agricultural schools and urban projects in Guatemala, Honduras and Brazil, through two day seminars; after which a joint framework was created and Comundos started training their teachers/educators.
Comundos is currently developing a network of partners in the north and south, allowing them to use their individual expertise for the growth of Comundos and its network. In COMUNDOS, everyone matters - from volunteers to Directors.
I am proud to be associated with COMUNDOS through Bart Vetsuypens. He has inspired me and shaped my thoughts on taking actions for global change. Nothing can be more fulfilling than empowering people, connecting communities to change lives and build capacities for the future.
Jude C. Abugu is a Nigerian journalist and a Media Literacy Advocate. He can be reached on nonsoabugu(AT)gmail.com, +2348037377569
Some results of the courses on digital storytelling: