Think Before You Share: Digital Youth Summit was a three-day conference that took place last October 5-7, 2017 in Ascott Bonifacio Global City organized by Facebook in partnership with Mano Amiga Academy. The summit aimed to train the youth to think critically online by assessing the credibility and authenticity of online news and resources. Our revered guest speakers included some of the finest Filipino personalities such as Iza Calzado, Bianca Gonzalez-Intal, Atom Araullo, Karen Davila, and Gang Badoy to name a few. The entire summit was an amazing learning experience for all, especially the participants as they picked up the necessary knowledge and skills in leading responsible digital citizenship, creating a purposeful online campaign and pitching their projects effectively.
On the first day, it was our privilege to welcome Ms. Clair Deevy, Facebook’s Head of Economic Growth Initiatives APAC, who talked about how Facebook can be used as an empowering tool to create social change. “We are in a place where we have all that information in our mobile phone. We need to really ramp up the education on how people can think critically about what they’re seeing and create your information on what you want to share,” says Deevy as she encouraged the youth to create a sustainable positive change in the rapidly developing online world.
Our very own Lynn Pinugu, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Mano Amiga Philippines, then shared her unique and valuable experience in building critical users and thinkers and advocating the importance of digital education. Hoping to enlighten the participants of their purpose as Digital Youth Ambassadors, Pinugu shared, “The opportunity that you’ve been given comes with a very big responsibility. You have been chosen because we believe in the potential of your campaigns to transform your communities.”
Following Pinugu’s moving speech, we welcomed onto the stage our first panel as they discoursed on how to use the Internet for social good. Our panel included brilliant individuals who strived to use social media as a platform to promote worthy causes such as Iza Calzado, body positivity and environment (WWF) advocate, who has used her stature as a celebrity to promote her cause on online platforms, Niccolo Cosme, Founder of Project Headshot Clinic, Patch Dulay, Founder and CEO of The Spark Project, and Sofia Cope, Founder of The Mad Muse, and was moderated by Clarissa Delgado, CEO of Teach for the Philippines. Delgado states, “Social media has given us a very immediate, quick way to immediately connect to everybody across the whole world.” Affirmed by Delgado and the rest of the panelists, the rise of social media has opened the gates for individuals to make a lasting impact in their communities.
Shortly after the panel discussion, two solo speakers engaged the audience with their fun and informative talks. Anna Oposa, Executive Director and Chief Mermaid of Save Philippine Seas (SPS), began her talk that focused on online initiatives on marine preservation. Oposa mentioned useful tips on the do’s and don’ts of developing an online campaign, humorously sharing some of her own triumphs and unsuccessful experiences, and how she learned to deal with downfalls. Bianca Gonzalez-Intal, TV host and advocate for education, raised awareness about important issues like Cyberbullying and False News.
Following all the inspiring talks, our participants were revved and ready to work on their own campaigns. Christian San Jose, tech entrepreneur and creative leader, implemented his workshop focused on creating an effective online campaign. As he was doing his rounds, helping each group refine their projects, several esteemed mentors provided further assistance to our participants, who were busily absorbing all the constructive feedback on their campaigns.
Following a very successful first day, the second day of Think Before You Share opened with another insightful and eye-opening panel discussion, which focused on Credibility and Authenticity in the Digital Age. We were honored to have some of the top journalists and social entrepreneurs in the country share their takes on how media can help promote and safeguard safe and positive online spaces. Welcoming back to the stage, we had Clair Deevy who participated in the panel discussion moderated by Portia Ladrido, journalist and advocate of solutions journalism. Comprising the rest of the panel was Atom Araullo, multi-awarded Filipino journalist and youth advocate, Gino Nacianceno, head of EON DiG, and Jeff Canoy, a multimedia reporter for ABS-CBN News. Canoy shares with the audience, “The sense that you’re not alone… is one of the highlights of being active in social media.”
As the panel discussion came to a close, we welcomed next Karen Davila, award-winning Filipino journalist and news presenter, who gave a talk focused on how media can hold power into account in the digital age. “It’s taking over how we do our exchanges and where we choose to get our information,” Davila expressed to a crowd of participants with a pen and notebook in hand, dutifully scribbling down some of the discerning points the speaker raised in her perceptive talk.
Topping the day off, Kick Fire Kitchen, a terrific team of two passion-driven individuals, gave a fun, high-energy, and interactive workshop on how to pitch ideas effectively. Nines Terol and David O’Hagan gave our participants helpful advice on how to engage an audience, then let them polish their pitches in preparation for their presentation on the final day.
Everybody could feel the energy buzz on the third day as the participants were eagerly preparing for their three-minute pitches to be presented to a noteworthy panel of judges including Clair Deevy herself. After all the groups finished pitching their campaigns, the anticipation was high as the judges began tallying their scores and discussing who deserved to be part of the prestigious Top 5.
Finally, after much careful deliberation, the Top 5 Winners were revealed along with an unexpected special award, the High Potential Group.
Our merited winners included I am Marshall, an online campaign named after a German Shepherd owned by Aaron Ifurung, one of the project leads. It focuses on animal welfare with the hashtag #AdoptDontShop. Another winner was Micah Jude Sinco of Take It Topless. Her online project focuses on eradicating the use of plastic lids, which will in turn create a significant effect on our environment. Also joining our winners was Inhinyeras, a powerful feminist group composed by Angelica Palanog, Roxette Malicdem, and Gladys Alda, who plan to empower women to pursue professions that are usually dominated by males such as engineering. Our last two winners were Prism, an online project run by Rahn Dela Cruz and Julius Jay Sambo, who plan to use an online persona, “Tita,” to promote proper online social behavior, and TechnoLeads, a large group consisting of information and technology students from CDO, Loi Alian Cabaluna, Almarie Bullo, Khayle Daayata, Zandra Clarissa Sabuero, and Love Jean Villanueva. The group plans to use their prowess in information and technology to create a site that can assist users in discerning false from authentic news.
Lastly, our judges decided to award one of the most promising groups, Kalilintad, a team of teachers from Marawi City who envision a more peaceful online community where Muslims aren’t unjustifiably labeled as terrorists. The group includes Famela Barangai, Azizah Cuaro, Jaffari Abdulwahab, Rohayrah Mangundao, Sittie Janora Hadji Ali, and Johanna Amboloto.
To award our well-deserved winners, Kalilintad will receive one-on-one training with both Kick Fire Kitchen and Clair Deevy while the Top 5 Winners will be granted 25,000 PHP cash prize and ad credits to help boost their campaigns.
Undeniably, the summit became an avenue for such bright and innovative ideas to surface, allowing the participants to think of exceptional ways to practice digital empowerment as well as instill compassion and empathy in the online world. Congratulations to our pioneering batch of Digital Youth Ambassadors!