Social networks: young people from riverside communities learn how to use the Internet to promote sustainable development
How can the Internet be used in a healthy and constructive way, to benefit small Amazonian communities? This was the topic of the Social Media for Young Community Members workshop, held by WWF-Brazil at the end of 2018 in Southern Amazonas.
At the event, 27 young people from two communities - Barra de São Manoel and the District of Sucundurí, both in the municipality of Apuí, 453 kilometers from Manaus – spent two days immersed in a series of activities that aimed to reflect on the use of social networks, their benefits, potential and how they could be used to promote nature conservation.
The initiative is part of work being done by WWF-Brazil to take sustainable development to Southern Amazonas – including, in their nature conservation work, actions that also consider improving the lives of riverside populations.
As part of this project, repairs to public equipment and the installation of solar energy are being carried out in Amazonian communities. Other initiatives include projects to improve the participation of social actors in the formulation of public policies in Southern Amazonas and to strengthen the sustainable production chains – especially those linked to the production of Brazil nuts and to community-based tourism.
During the social media workshop, the young people watched an educational video about the impact of consumption on the planet and the importance of conserving biodiversity and promoting recycling. They also took part in discussions and reflections about the healthy use of social media.
The workshop also included practical activities, in which they produced journalistic material (mainly photos and videos) with the goal of registering their realities and sharing content about them on the Internet. One of the results of this work was the creation of Facebook pages for Barra de São Manoel and the Young People of Sucundurí (Jovens do Sucundurí).
The program had the objective of increasing the knowledge of the young people about social media, promoting the connection between these leaders and establishing a vision of sustainability that takes the future dreams and perspectives of these young people into consideration.
Opportunity and voice
The workshop was made possible by Inspiri Comunicação. One of the people responsible for the initiative, the art educator Erica Bettiol, said that giving opportunities to the young people from riverside communities is fundamental. “I feel that it is important to empower and help these people, by giving them a voice and helping them to expand their vision of the world through information,” she affirmed.
A resident of the Sucundurí District and participant of the workshop, 17-year-old Cristina Reichembak, really liked the initiative. “Thankfully this type of project exists, to excite and encourage us to get together for a good cause. It’s a shame the workshop only lasted a few days, we could continue this discussion for longer,” she said.
Karen Pacheco, conservation analyst for WWF-Brazil, added that the Internet is a privileged space of expression and information; although it is necessary to know how to use this tool in a constructive way.
“Our objective was to show that the online lives of these young people are not disconnected from their reality. On the contrary, it is possible to use the Internet to promote sustainable development and defend the Amazon. And the possibility exists for these young people to build their dreams and projects together with their communities,” explains the analyst.
The next stages of this work include updating the pages created in these meetings and conducting similar workshops in other parts of the Amazon – one of which, planned for March, will be held in the District of Santo Antônio do Matupi, in the city of Manicoré, on route BR-230, the Trans-Amazonian Highway.
*Trainee under the supervision of Jorge Eduardo Dantas and Denise Oliveira