16 September, 2018 — The UNESCO Amman office is working to develop the Media and Information Literacy (MIL) skills of civil society organizations from across Jordan. UNESCO and the Media Diversity Institute (MDI) used a “training of trainers” (ToT) approach, hosting a workshop for fifteen participants from across seven civil society organizations, working to equip them with the tools and skills to teach MIL.
Throughout the four days of training, participants worked to gain a greater understanding of the techniques of informal and non-formal teaching of MIL, equipping themselves to develop their own training materials. The main objectives of UNESCO’s MIL efforts lie in strengthening an enabling regulatory and institutional environment, and working towards an independent, quality-based media sector serving the entire population.
Trainer and MDI Executive Director Milica Pesic, and MDI trainer Luc Steinberg collaborated with Jordanian journalist Anoud Al Zoubi. “Media Information Literacy is a very important issue in Jordan. During this training, you will all develop the skills to train others in MIL; we hope to empower you in passing on this knowledge”, stated Ms. Pesic in her opening remarks.
This important initiative falls within UNESCO’s mandate of encouraging freedom of expression and represents a joint initiative between two important projects. The “Support to Media in Jordan” (STMJ) project has been implemented by UNESCO since 2014, with significant partnership and financial support from the European Union. Recently, with collaboration and funding from both the Government of Canada and the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNCCT), UNESCO has begun implementing the “Prevention of Violent Extremism through Youth Empowerment in Jordan, Morocco, Libya, and Tunisia” project.
Ms. Sabrina Salis, UNESCO project officer, delivered opening remarks welcoming the expertise of MDI, highlighting the cross-sectoral efforts of UNESCO while commending participants for their strong interest in perfecting their MIL training skills. Also representing UNESCO, Mr. Cedric Neri, project coordinator, delivered a presentation summarizing MIL and explaining why advancing MIL skills in Jordan remains a critical task.
The workshop brought together representatives from civil society organizations from Irbid, Ma’an, Amman and Mafraq. Participants thoroughly enjoyed the interactive sessions, which ranged from the importance of fact checking and asking questions to digital storytelling. Rania Khlifat of “Aflami”, an organization in Ma’an that trains youth on how to produce short films, shared, “We should do our own investigation rather than just take in the news. We need to be influencers in our communities rather than just passive receivers”.
Jordanian journalist and MIL trainer Anoud Al Zoubi expressed sincere satisfaction at the close of the workshop. Addressing the participants, she stated, “Now you will take more notice of who is writing the news and you will be aware that one piece of news is not the entire picture and that there is more going on in the background”.
In Jordan, as part of the EU-funded STMJ project, UNESCO was able to mobilize support of decision makers and relevant stakeholders on the importance of MIL for the country. A paper investigating needs and opportunities for MIL in Jordan was developed and adapted from the UNESCO Global guidelines into the national context. This formed the basis for an outline of a course on MIL for two teachers colleges, and training was delivered to 24 teachers in eight public schools, including four principals, where “MIL clubs” were piloted based on locally developed curricula. Two universities were also supported to include MIL concepts in their curricula.
On the last day of the MIL workshop, participants discussed how they would each plan their own MIL sessions in their respective local communities. In the coming weeks, the trainers will mentor the participants and support their work to be able to deliver awareness sessions related to MIL concepts in local communities.