Peacebuilding through journalism: UNDP Iraq launches training for young media professionals
“Everyone has a message in this life, and you should know how to use the tools available to help convey your message.” -Jassim, 27, education and media student from Najaf.
Engaging Iraq’s youth in areas like politics, peacebuilding, decision-making — and media — is critical to building inclusive and cohesive societies.
On 3 December, UNDP Iraq in partnership with Tammuz Organization for Social Development, and Sabaq Center for Media Development, launched a series of training sessions on citizen journalism tools for young media professionals. The sessions will train 120 Iraqi media college students and bloggers from Baghdad, Ninewa, Diyala, Salah al-Din, Najaf, Anbar, Basra, and the Kurdistan Region — all advocates for peacebuilding and promoting social cohesion in their communities.
The project includes the development of a training manual on digital media tools and positive and conflict-sensitive reporting for media professionals and media students in Iraq.
The training sessions will focus on social cohesion, designing community-based initiatives, using media in building sustainable peace, photography, story editing, and social media. The training will not only equip young journalists with necessary tools, but also build a network of journalists who will contribute their written work to an online public platform.
During the closing ceremony of the first session on 7 December, participants received their certificates of completion and took time to reflect on how the training aligns with their career goals.
“I first became interested in media as a hobby and it has grown into something more for me. Now I want to contribute to positive change in my country. This training helped me to use the tools I already have, like my cell phone, to convey the messages I want to share with the public.” Ammar, 27, Social Media Activist from Diyala.
“I come from Najaf, and I will use this training to bring Iraqis from different backgrounds and regions together.” Jassim, 27, education and media student from Najaf.
“Reporting has been my passion since childhood. I want to shed light on issues in Najaf and its history and culture. My advice for other youth journalists is to take advantage of their youthful energy and try to convey neutral and truthful messages to the public for the sake of the people.” Baraa, 26, media student from Najaf.
The citizen journalism training project is made possible thanks to generous support from the Government of Denmark, as part of UNDP Iraq’s Integrated Reconciliation Project.