Educational program // Africa Is Not a Country

OSMOS
3 min readJul 21, 2023

2020–2021 // Lithuania

At the end of October the project team selected and invited 47 motivated Lithuanian school students to participate in the workshops of journalistic storytelling, from which two of the best young journalists had a chance to travel to African country of their selection to create professional journalistic stories together with a team of organizers.

During the workshops taking place in November, students got acquainted with the contemporary African continent, delved into the social and racial issues of the continent, which helped them to understand better the diversity of Lithuanian society. From the journalistic side, students learnt the basics of storytelling and photography, the importance of journalistic ethics, and how to recognize biased information.

All Lithuanian students 16 or older by 2021 January 19 were invited to participate in the competition. The students didn’t have to be interested in the African continent — it was important whether they had a desire to get to know it.

The project wasorganised in partnership with the responsible journalism space NARA (formerly Nanook). Their representatives and guest lecturers led the trainings and went on a trip with the students. The project was funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The winners of the competition

One of the winners was Julija Stankevičiūtė and her work “LGBTQ+ rights in South Africa: everyone is equal, but some are more equal than others” because of the fluidity of the narrative, depth and excellent understanding of journalistic ethics. The twelfth grader of Kaunas Veršvai Gymnasium contacted three people from the LGBTQ+ community from the Republic of South Africa via Instagram in order to understand whether the country’s progressive constitution ensures equality in everyday life.

The second winner was Arnas Rasimavičius, who chose the medium of comics for his story “Rhythm in the blood”. The 11th grader of the Prieni “Žiburys” high school connected threads between slavery songs and African fine art and showed how the long-ignored culture of black artists became dominant. Creators such as Miles Davis, Jean-Michel Basquiat or Kanye West come to life in his illustrations.

Winners of the educational program and competition “Africa is not a country”, young journalists Julija Stankevičiūtė and Arnas Rasimavičius spent two weeks in Uganda, where they were interested in the conservation of mountain gorillas and contemporary art.

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