Youth from across Africa took part in the Know Your City TV Youth Conference in Woodstock last week, learning about goal-setting, photography and video skills and networking.
The conference, which took place from Monday July 23 to Friday July 27, focused on the work done by Slum Dwellers International (SDI) with youth across Africa.
Founded in 1996, SDI is a transnational network of the urban poor, which brings together over a million federated slum dwellers in 30 countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
In June this year, the Cape Town branch opened its new centre in Albert Street, Woodstock, creating a commercial space for local businesses, offices for the SDI Secretariat, and a large studio that will serve as SDI’s flagship Know Your City Community Resource Centre and house SDI’s Know Your City TV youth media programme.
The Know Your City project trains youth from countries such as Zimbabwe, Ghana and Kenya, in filmmaking and photography. Youth who are part of this programme, attended the week-long conference.
Programme officer James Tayler said their main goal was to get youth actively involved in issues affecting their cities.
“We have a situation where we have an abundance of youth growing up without role models or leaders and who are ultimately going to inherit the problems their countries are faced with,” he said.
Mr Tayler said the goal was to create safe and inclusive cities, where the youth could unlock economic opportunities.
“Through universal access and shared resources, we can create an opportunity where they become the generators of wealth for their countries,” he said.
Mr Tayler said through this project, they gave youth from slums a voice and a platform to share their stories and experiences.
Jowerie Kalungi, 24, from Uganda, has been part of the project since 2015. During this time, she said, she had learnt various skills such as script writing, filming and editing and working with different equipment.
“I now truly understand what it takes to shoot a documentary from start to finish and how important it is to have a clear plan of where you want your story to go and the message you want to convey,” she said.
Ms Kalungi said they did not have toilets in her community and through her documentaries, she wanted to bring awareness to their plight.
Elijah Atinkpo, 22, from Nigeria said he had been active in his community and joined the project as
he wanted to advocate for his people.
“I see this as a platform to bring about change and raise awareness about the issues affecting my community,” he said.
Mr Atinkpo said they had no media coverage when it came to local issues affecting various communities in Nigeria. He said the conference had opened his eyes, as to how he could use social media to make an impact.
“I learnt how to strategically use media to tell a story and get the right message across,” he said.
SDI’s Woodstock centre aims to enhance its financial sustainability while also contributing to its core mission of improving the lives of the urban poor. SDI advocacy officer Ariana MacPherson said they were committed to supporting the local community.
“We believe the knowledge and experience of our global network may have value to organisations working in Woodstock and we seek to introduce ourselves to our new neighbours and learn about the community’s efforts to ensure regeneration is inclusive, and to share information about SDI and the KYC Resource Centre we’re establishing so the Woodstock community can assess for themselves how the space and the network may assist them in their efforts. “