In an increasingly interconnected 21st century society, imparting digital skills on youth becomes a critical skill. The advancement of mobile phones and the spread of internet connections globally pushed Feed the Future Tanzania Advancing Youth to innovate and partner with USAID Boresha Habari, a civil society and media strengthening activity. Together they offered citizen journalism and digital storytelling training to rural youth.
Driven by the opportunity to push for meaningful change, and eager to use her skills to better her community, 18-year-old Khayyam Mustafa from Zanzibar enrolled in the training. Despite being the youngest participant in her cohort, Khayyam’s charisma and intelligence endeared her to being selected.
Khayyam and her fellow trainees were provided with digital tools and competencies necessary to tell their community’s stories in today’s shifting digital media landscape. Specifically, they were trained on writing, interviewing skills, understanding digital audiences, live mobile reporting, photography, visual referencing, and editorial planning.
As a result of the training, Khayyam was hired as a radio presenter at Coconut FM in Zanzibar. “After the training, there has been a huge transformation in me, especially my mindset. Besides working at the station, seeking and sharing information, the citizen journalism training made me stand out. That’s why I came in second place during the 2019 Youth Journalism Awards. The training has awakened a desire in me to do more for my community through media. It has raised me from an ordinary level to a higher level”.
So far, 20 youth from Zanzibar, Iringa and Mbeya have participated in the training with positive success. Using mobile phones distributed as part of the practical training, they have effectively told stories of their communities within social media platforms. They also contribute to weekly bulletin stories across the program. Others have cascaded the training to their fellow youth within their communities.
Khayyam also decided to build a career in the journalism space and is currently pursuing her diploma journalism and tourism studies. Khayyam is confident about her future, “I am bold enough with the skill set that I have gained from the training. I have also been able to apply for various international competitions such as the World Youth Journalism awards, I am now more confident following my training”.