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Amplifying Youth Voices in the Developing World


New Directions for Youth Development Volume 116, ISSN 1533-8916


In the past few years, an explosion of user-generated content has flooded the Internet. The dramatic drop in the cost of digital video equipment and the increased accessibility of the Internet create a unique opportunity to allow youth to create meaningful content. Today youth around the world can leverage technological tools to give voice to their perspectives on social issues directly relevant to themselves and their communities. In economically depressed areas with low levels of literacy, youth are unequipped to share their ideas on how to improve their lives with the international and domestic donor communities. Outside of the spoken word, it is difficult for low-literacy youth to express their thoughts persuasively. Drafting letters, sending e-mails, and reading newspapers are not viable options for learning about and discussing issues pertaining to their community. However, many teenagers in socioeconomically depressed areas are prolific users of new media technologies, such as DVDs, video games, stereos, and television. Although these students are barely able to craft a grammatically correct sentence, they are experts in using a DVD player and Tetris on their mobile phones. Building on this knowledge of basic media functionality, youth with low levels of literacy can quickly learn to storyboard, film, and edit short documentaries that share vital information and illustrations from their daily lives in an unprecedented way. This article describes a program in Brazil that uses video technologies to develop a deliberate awareness among low-literacy youth of the educational process by which they can improve their lives. (Contains 3 figures and 6 notes.)


Fotenos, S. & Rohatgi, D. (2007). Amplifying Youth Voices in the Developing World. New Directions for Youth Development, 116, 117-126. Retrieved January 24, 2022 from .

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