A 15 km drive from Chisinau, Moldova lies the Costestsi tourist complex. It’s a beautiful venue, sandwiched between an inky lake and rolling, grapevine cloaked hills. And, from July 12th-July 14th, it was home to the first Moldovan Youth Media Festival – Multimedia Conector pentru Tineri, an EYCA project activity. EYCA, implemented jointly by IREX Europe and Moldovan-based Centrul Media pentru Tineri/Youth Media Centre, is funded by the European Union.
Click here to find out more about EYCA.
The Festival was split into two sister events. The first two days saw an intense media education program – speakers, discussions and workshops galore. 50 youth from around the country were selected by application to participate. The final day was open for all interested youth and followed a similar, but modified program.
The youth arrived early via arranged transportation. There was little time to relax before opening remarks by IREX Europe and Centrul Media kick-started the event. A quick coffee break was followed by a media literacy skills training and an interactive activity. The youth, split into groups of 4 or 5, had to design and present a graphic poster relaying the importance of media literacy.
After lunch, the youth attended in-depth workshops on the journalism sub-field of their choice: photography, written word, videography, social media or mobile journalism. Each group produced content which would later be evaluated by a panel of judges. A media-themed game that runs as an app on smartphones wrapped up the working day. Festival participants had to use clues embedded in barcodes to ‘find’ Moldova’s missing one billion dollars. (See article here)
As the sun began to set, Moldovan DJ, DJ-Aurora took to the stage. The youth danced late into the night, and some say, into the next day.
The coffee machines were working double-time as Day 2 got underway. Soon enough, the mix of caffeine and enthusiasm was working its magic – the atmosphere was electric. The morning saw presentations by six media experts on topics ranging from blogging as a form of civic activism to the use of humor and irony to engage young people. In the afternoon, participants had a little more time to work on their projects before the awards ceremony. The night concluded with a tear-filled screening of La Famille Bélier.
We welcomed over 120 new youth for an action-packed day. To begin, a small group of youth involved in the first two days gave a short presentation on their experience. A number of speeches from representatives of media institutions followed. After lunch, there was a discussion panel featuring a number of Moldovan media organizations and a media fair. Then, much to everyone’s chagrin, it was time to go home.
Feedback gathered from the participants via focus groups and questionnaires was very positive. Participants were able to connect with like-minded peers, forging close friendships while delving into the field they love. Hopefully, the knowledge they gained will inspire and motivate them. Doubtless, the relationships they made will endure. As one participant put it: “the saddest thing is that [we made] friends and once the camp is over we’ll have to leave them.”