Congo In Focus: Empowering Congolese Students via Citizen Journalism And Multimedia

Anne Medley, a photojournalist and videographer based in the United States, and the Congo Initiative developed a multimedia journalism education project to empower Congolese students to tell their story to the rest of the world. The workshops took place in 2010 and the outcomes of the projects are featured in the ‘Congo In Focus” site.

Social document photographer and co-founder of Bridges to Understanding Phil Borges highlights Anne's experience in his blog:

For three months, I taught multimedia journalism — photography, audio and video — to Communications students studying at the Université Chrétienne Bilingue du Congo (UCBC) in the city of Beni in North Kivu province as part of an entrepreneurial education project called “Congo in Focus.” Many of my students had never used audio recorders or video cameras before; few knew about journalism. Yet after several months of hands-on training, they produced great multimedia stories about their community.

So often, foreign journalists in DRC report solely on war, violence against women, poverty and disease. By giving students at Université Chrétienne Bilingue du Congo (UCBC) the tools and skills to tell the stories THEY wanted to tell about their communities, I felt like I was helping to empower them not only to expose corruption in their country but also to shed light on the positives.

Francine Nabintu Murhebwa, a student commented about the workshops:

The multimedia class is meeting my expectations. I have been dreaming about how I could go outside to combine images and audio in order to let people in the world know what the realities of our country are. I think this is exactly what we are moving toward with multimedia class.

After almost two years Anne Medley wrote in PBS Mediashift:

Last month, I wrote Francine Nabintu, one of my former students, to congratulate her on an election piece she photographed and reported for PBS NewsHour about the recent elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Her response reminded me of why I love teaching in underrepresented communities:

“You inspired me in everything I'm doing today. I will never forget your encouraging us by saying ‘try again.’ You taught us to trust in ourselves.”

Anne Medley with Congolese students. Image Courtesy Phil Borges blog.

The fact that NewsHour chose to highlight a story reported, written and photographed by a Congolese instead of a foreign correspondent in Congo brought the point of my teaching journalism in Congo full circle.

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