I’m Thom.

You might remember me from editing such Restless Development films as ‘We Are Youth Stop AIDS’ and ‘The Night Ladan lit up London’. I’m the International Multimedia Officer here at Restless Development, taking care of all things film-ey and photograph-ey.

You might say I’m a bit biased, what with me having a degree in Film Studies (2:1 from the University of Winchester thanksverymuch), but I believe films are as effective a way to bring about change as any other medium.

Banksy said it best: ‘Film is incredibly democratic and accessible, it’s probably the best option if you actually want to change the world, not just re-decorate it.’

Films are everywhere nowadays. If you’re reading this having arrived here from a social media platform, you’ve probably been exposed to numerous films already today (even if you’ve chosen not to actually watch them).

So films are effective, and accessible, and democratic, and everywhere, which is why I’m currently working to equip as many young people as possible with the skills, knowledge and equipment to produce their own short films, on the topics and issues that matter most to them.

Welcome to the world of MOJO (Mobile Journalism).

There are a lot of reasons why MOJO is so good, both for those creating the films and the organisations looking to share their stories; here are just a few. (I’ve put them in a list because I know the internet really likes lists.)

 

1: It teaches young people new skills.

Everyone loves learning new things, but it is especially important for the young changemakers we work with (and not only so we keep the people who give us money happy!). Through mobile journalism, they learn not only the practical skills of working a camera, microphone and tripod, but also how to shape a story and get their opinions across in as concise a way as possible.

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Our first mobile journalism workshop took place in Munger, Bihar, India in June 2016, with a group of young volunteers who work on our menstrual hygiene management project.

2: Young People choose what to say, and how.

Not all of us are born public speakers, but that doesn’t mean we have nothing to say. Mobile journalism gives young people the opportunity to control not only what they say, but how and where. Are they more comfortable sat at home alone? Or with a small group of friends around them? Do they want to talk about gender issues in their community? Or how they had no choice in what they had for breakfast?

 

3: It’s authentic (in theory…)

According to some clever people, UK public trust in charities is at an all time low. In order to regain that trust, we’re going to have to do things differently, one way being to ensure what we say to people is authentic, honest and open. By allowing young people to speak for themselves, you take away the uneasy feeling that a lot of people have with charity communications – that of ‘how much of this is coming from the person, and how much from the charity?’. Having said that, are charities willing to share everything young people say? Even if it contradicts their values as an organisation? Hmm…

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At our recent Youth Power Festival on International Youth Day we ran a mobile journalism workshop, where we showed young people the basics of shooting a short film.

4. Young people know young people

We want young people to unleash their #YouthPower, and who better to inspire them to do that than their fellow young people? One thing I’ve become aware of in my time working ‘wiv da yoof’ is that if you try to be ‘hip’ and ‘cool’ young people will see right through you. There’s even a phrase for it: try hard. And young people don’t need any help to be motivated to make real change, they just need to be shown that it IS possible, is happening all around them and is being carried out by people just like them.

Check out this video, made by one of the young people who attended our workshop on International Youth Day, to see some MOJO in action:

 

 

What do you think?

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