The digital revolution has fundamentally changed the way people communicate, offering faster and easier access to services and knowledge. Nokia and UNICEF have initiated a global partnership that aims to improve understanding of opportunities and risks for young people as digital access increases in many developing countries.
Within this partnership, Nokia will support two UNICEF initiatives which strengthen digital literacy and cross-cultural interaction skills, while ensuring the optimal and safe use of digital tools by adolescents and young people. The two initiatives are part of Voices of Youth, UNICEF’s flagship digital engagement community for adolescents and young people:
UNICEF Voices of Youth – Citizens aims at building awareness among young people about opportunities, rights and potential risks related to their digital behavior. The initiative includes research to understand digital realities, behavior, rights and risks in developing countries as well as communication campaigns and evidence-based policy recommendations for the optimal and safe use of digital media by youth. Initiatives supported by Nokia are in Kenya, South Africa, and Zambia.
UNICEF Voices of Youth – Connect enables adolescents and young people in developing and industrialized countries to work together via a collaborative social media platform to communicate about topics of shared concern such as health, the environment and peace-building. The initiative promotes cross-cultural communication in classrooms and beyond while equipping the participants with digital literacy and youth journalism skills. Voices of Youth – Connect provides young people with the opportunity to articulate their views on global issues and to become engaged global citizens acting locally. Using a multi-stakeholder approach, UNICEF works with public and private actors in advocating for optimal and safe use of digital media by youth in more than ten countries. South Africa and Zambia are joining as part of the partnership.
The projects provide youth with tools and skills to express themselves and use digital media in responsible ways. The partnership enables young people, mainly in African countries, to connect on shared concerns such as health and environmental issues.
“These initiatives have been created in response to the rapid increase in access to digital media in many developing countries. The partnership helps realize children’s rights such as freedom of speech and access to information in the social media age. It supports self-expression and sound judgement on risks and benefits when engaging digitally,” says Gerrit Beger, Chief of Social and Civic Media, at UNICEF.
“This partnership is an important avenue to use mobile technology to engage and empower youth and offer them opportunities to learn, participate and create in the online space. As an increasing number of people nowadays access the Internet for the first time via mobile phones, we see that it is important for Nokia to help young people and their parents understand the online world,” says Markus Terho, Head of Sustainability at Nokia.
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