By Gabriel Olawale

HACEY Health Initiative, a development organization that focused on improving the health and productivity of vulnerable in the society has kicked off the Media Advocacy Storytelling Boot Camp 2019 in Lagos.

The official launch of the Boot camp was witnessed by representatives of the Africa Storytelling Development & Advocacy Initiative, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) as well as representatives of the Ikorodu Community.

It is apt to note that, the one-week capacity training program, which commenced on the July 22, at Kingsfield College Campus, Ikorodu, Lagos, with the theme, “Spurring Investment in Young People for Demographic Dividend brings together 50 young emerging creative media experts to tell stories focused on promoting investment in young people to harness demographic dividend.

Executive Director of HACEY Health Initiative, Rhoda Robinson, explained that the project among other things would help participants acquire skills that will help them translate available data into compelling stories spurring interest of key stakeholders on issues that affect young people.

“The event is built on the idea that well-crafted stories connect people, inspire and create change. So, at this edition, we’re training 50 young people on the use of the media to create effective social change through story telling,” Robinson noted.

Speaking further, Robinson explained that the media is a powerful tool in bringing positive change in the society, adding that when they are adequately trained and mentored, the society will be a better place for all.

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“This boot camp is about building the capacity of creative media expert to tell stories focused promoting investment in young people to harness demographic dividend. We also look forward to helping the participants acquire skills that will help them translate available data into compelling stories that will spur interest of key stakeholders on issues that affect young people,” Robinson noted.

In line with this, Program Officer of UNFPA, Dr. Amaka Haruna disclosed that the UNFPA is happy to be associated with the project, saying the key issue of achieving Sustainable Development Goals cannot be achieved without the youths who constitute a larger percentage of the population.

She said participants who are youths are expected to take part in activities, workshops and seminars tailored to the different thematic pillars of demographic dividend and aimed at understanding underlying issues, build teamwork and develop solutions using media as a toll for change.

“We’re supporting the event with our technical expertise in training the lucky participants, especially on demographic dividends and how they can use media tools to bringing it about,” she added.

While understanding that the boot camp is built around the core pillars of demographic dividend which are health and wellbeing, education and skills building, entrepreneurship and employment, youth participation and governance, CEO of Africa Storytelling Development and Advocacy Initiative, Stephen Oguntoyinbo who doubles as one of the key facilitators said, “the media is a powerful tool for positive change and program is all about developing the minds and ability of the participants in the creative use of media tools for positive development, and by extension, harvesting demographic dividends.”

“We want to create a media alliance focused on harnessing demographic dividend. We have youths who’re working in the fields of film making, script-writing, photography, videography, journalism, social and online media, digital graphics and editors. They are brought together to be mentored by professionals who have been in the trade for many years”

“They will brainstorm on their responsibility as agents of change and begin to create ideas of expanding outside their comfort zone to seek opportunity for increasing youth development and how media can spark the change,” Oguntoyinbo noted.

While corroborating what other speakers have said, the Project Director, HACEY Health Initiative, Owolabi Isaiah, explained that the program would run as masterclasses and interactive sessions to promote opportunities for knowledge sharing between participants, as well as personal developments, political and economic dimensions of their various communities.

Owolabi also added that HACEY Health Initiative will be focusing on developing effective story telling techniques among participants for global change through the various forms of media, and create dialogue for discussion on how media can be used as a toolkit of advocacy to address issues in Nigeria.

Two of the participants, Charis Alara and Lolo Cynthia expressed their joy for the opportunity to be part of the life changing capacity developing program.

They both agreed that the Boot camp training presents them with unique opportunity in learning key development issues and best practices that would enable them contribute meaningfully and productively in the society.



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