Youth Storytellers: Empowering the Next Generation
Agroecological farming and resilient local food systems are more effective and beneficial for people and our planet than industrialized agriculture. The need for a just transition from fossil fuel-based agriculture and dependence on food imports is even more evident with the high inflation of food and chemical fertilizers that are impacting millions. Scaling agroecological and local market alternatives are essential for nourishing people and reversing climate change. Yet, the false narrative that continues to dominate globally is that industrialized agriculture must ‘feed the world.’ This is a mindset that we work alongside our partners to change.
A large part of our mission at Groundswell International is to empower the communities we work in because we know wholeheartedly that the people in these communities are the real change-makers at the core of the success of our programs. This is especially true of young people.
The Youth Storytellers Program
With this in mind, in 2021, we piloted a Youth Storytellers program with our network partners Association Nourrir Sans Détruire (ANSD) in Burkina Faso and Vecinos Honduras in Latin America. We supported our partners to identify interested young people in program communities and facilitated them to retain basic communications training and equipment to produce brief videos on local success stories.
Since then, our Youth Storytellers have documented the lives of smallholder farmers, including the strategies and techniques critical to their success and the universal elements shared with other farmers around the world. They have highlighted the improved resilience achieved by farming with nature instead of against it.
The Youth Storytellers have shared their videos locally with their communities through social media and gatherings, inspiring others to action. Now we’re taking the opportunity to finalize and translate 15 videos to share with you to allow these youths to shape the narrative internationally in 2022.
These Youth Storytellers are not only reshaping the global narrative surrounding how to ‘feed the world,’ but also working to inspire and empower other young people where they live. Youth Storytellers like Edras Amado Benegas in Honduras have led by example and gained a sense of agency as they recognize, document, and strengthen the power of community-based organizations to spread real solutions.
Edras explained, “I want to motivate other young people who are going through difficult situations, and who do not feel they count. I invite them to get involved, and find the opportunity to participate and be heard.”
It has been absolutely amazing to watch our Youth Storytellers use communications to drive positive social change, and we’re excited for you to see what they have to offer as we continue to find ways to make local voices heard globally in 2022.