In today's multimedia environment, activism and community service require a range of communication and media skills. As the YES Alumni population continues to grow, so does its work and impact, and we believe it is crucial to share out stories to gain momentum for YES alumni projects and initiatives. That is why we felt it necessary to hold the “Digital Storytelling Workshop”, and I can confidently say on behalf of all the foreign participants, it was a delight to be able to hold such an event in Bangladesh.
iEARN BD team and iEARN US team have been planning the workshop since May 2018 and the workshop took place in BRAC CDM, Savar, from October 2-7, 2018.
Over the four days, 18 alumni members from 11 countries including Bahrain, Tunisia, Lebanon, Libya, West Bank, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, the Philippines, South Africa, and Bangladesh, learned about story arcs, interviewing, production and editing, and gained technical skills to create powerful digital stories to document life – the good and the bad in their communities. One of YES Alumni roles is to be involved in the community and respond to the needs and the demands to make life easier and better for everyone. Digital storytelling is a powerful tool to raise awareness and spread knowledge and ideas.
The goal of this workshop was to enhance and expand YES Alumni's technical skills in video, photography, storytelling, and social media. Three talented videographers from New Jersey and Texas of USA lead the workshop, giving participants a range of communication and media skills required for activism and community service.
Importantly, this workshop went beyond documentation and taught YES Alumni how to present their work to peers, community leaders, and decision-makers to build awareness and share the impact of the YES Alumni projects happening around the world.
During the closing ceremony of the workshop, YES Alumni showcased the videos that they produced to the invited guests. Guests included Kelly Ryan, Cultural Affairs Officer, U.S. Embassy Dhaka; Tahnia Shahid, Program Manager, Student-Teacher Exchange Programs, U.S. Embassy Dhaka; Shahed Ali, teacher and Brand Ambassador of GEIST; journalists; research assistants; writers; teachers; Alumni from both YES and other State Department-sponsored programmes, entrepreneurs; and the Campus Superintendent of BRAC University Savar Campus among others. The hard work of the participants was recognised by awarding them with certificates. At the end of the workshop, they were all very inspired and excited to take their newly learned skills back to their home communities and use it to improve their community and share the impacts of their projects.