Sharing the PIN experience in Moldova to educate about media literacy through OWIS documentary films

Published: Sep 18, 2023 Reading time: 4 minutes
Sharing the PIN experience in Moldova to educate about media literacy through OWIS documentary films
© Photo: Shushanik Nersesyan
Four influential women from the Volovita village in Soroca came together to help people in their communities. They started in 2020 as a group of volunteers by helping elderly people with food and clothing for the Christmas and Easter holidays. The extended voluntary team also organised cleaning activities for the community. As teachers and founders of the ”Aripile Dumbravei” organization, they emphasize the importance of educating people.

”Aripile Dumbravei” has dozens of volunteers working within its organization, but in terms of needs, they involve many others from the community. The organization receives most of its support from Moldovans living abroad. In addition to support from the diaspora and the government, they now have support from People in Need (PIN) to initiate a new project in Soroca.

As part of the EU-funded "Resilient Civil Society and Media Respond to War" project, ”Aripile Dumbravei” is collaborating with the Volovita community through PIN's One World in School (OWIS) methodology. OWIS is an innovative teaching approach that utilises documentary films and activities to educate and empower active citizens. By combining critical thinking and civic engagement with the visual power of film, OWIS has been used in 14 countries worldwide and was developed by PIN in 2001. In this current project in Moldova, PIN's well-established OWIS documentary film methodology is adopting a community-driven approach to counter disinformation and support the development of critical media literacy skills in both dominant and non-dominant communities.

"When we watched the films, we were shocked by the facts about social media manipulation, fake accounts, and other findings. The younger generation somehow knows about the power of manipulating social media, but the elderly doesn’t. They didn't even have any imagination about this; they even raised the question to their children about why youngsters didn't talk to them about it," says Elena Soimu, one of the founding members of ”Aripile Dumbravei”. 

Regarding the question of whether these activities are interesting for their community, Elena responds that a full classroom is the best answer to the question. The room was truly filled with participants who were interested in watching the documentary film about the elections, "First Choice" by Elso Valsztas, and experiencing the OWIS exercises to learn more about people's choices and analytical thinking.

Apart from the film screenings, ”Aripile Dumbravei” organises practical workshops and other activities, such as Social Theatre, which is a form of theatrical performance that aims to address social issues, provoke thought, and inspire social change; visits to the editorial office of the "Observatorul de Nord" newspaper and meeting with the newspaper editor, who demonstrates how easy it is to manipulate facts or pictures in the media.

Ana Soimu, another co-founder of ”Aripile Dumbravei”, says, "We don't have much experience, and PIN is helping us grow. PIN provides us with many activities, as well as information in the humanitarian sector, teaching through various activities, including media literacy training. We have networking opportunities with the other sub-granted participant NGOs in Moldova, and we discuss all aspects of each project to enhance our productivity and reach our audience effectively."

Seven documentary films have been selected for screening in Volovita, followed by further exercises. With these valuable resources, ”Aripile Dumbravei” has also initiated the engagement of the entire school's pupils to incorporate this into their programs.

Ana adds, "It is really helpful in spreading media literacy knowledge wider than our initial target of 430 people. Only now, by knowing about these tools, we wish we had known about this earlier, so we could have engaged so many people sooner and made a difference."

In Moldova as part of the "Resilient Civil Society and Media Respond to Ukraine War," an EU-funded regional project, PIN is working with 8 NGOs through grants award for organisational development and service provision and with 4 NGOs through the OWIS methodology on media literacy.

Autor: Shushanik Nersesyan

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