We’re thrilled to report that summer 2013 was incredibly eventful for Peace in Focus. We partnered with ACEDONE (African Community Economic Development of New England) for the third summer in a row. We started off with a two-week workshop called the “training of trainers.” Our goal for this workshop was to train 5 college students in digital storytelling facilitation. Thus, by the end of the training, all five would be Peace in Focus facilitators, enabling them to help us lead a second workshop for high school students. The first workshop took place from June 3rd and ran through June 14th. We worked with amazing young people who are not only passionate about their busy college lives, but also about becoming leaders in their community of Somali immigrants and refugees.
Our workshop started with the students brainstorming about their goals and expectations.
In this way, we all held each other accountable to our group rules, expectations, and goals. We moved quickly through the Peace in Focus training manual, in which there were three modules. Activities in these modules include story of self, self-lens, life plot, as well as composition tips, visual literacy, and the art of effective digital storytelling. In this way, our students simultaneously increased their knowledge of camera-use, while practicing digital storytelling.
The students learned to photograph objects, locations, people and places in their neighborhoods that they wanted to change. Thus, the photography was used as a lens through which students looked and saw what they wished to change about their communities.
All of our college students who participated in Workshop 1 have a strong connection to Somalia. Each of their parents came to the US from Somalia either by choice, or as a result of conflict within Somalia. We had numerous lively debates and conversations about how Somalia is portrayed in the news. We used Somalia as an example of how we can use photography as a catalyst for positive change in order to combat the media’s negative portrayal of both Somalia and Africa. “The Danger of a Single Story,” a TED Talk by Chimamanda Adichie sparked even more debate about the story of Somalia. By the end of our workshop, the students came to the conclusion that educating others through digital storytelling truly could have a positive result, and slowly we can work together to change the narrative of Somalia and Africa.
The overarching goal of the “training of trainers” was to enable our students to become PIF facilitators. We successfully accomplished this, and our incredible college students were ready to take on the 15-20 high school students during Workshop 2!
To see some of our students’ bios, as well as more photos from Workshop 1, please click this link to our Facebook album from Workshop 1.