Our Citizens’ Voice programme in Syria is a digital media initiative providing young Syrians with a space to tell their stories and share their opinions. In 2019, the platform focused on three themes: gender equality; culture and identity; and work and education. The project was incubated by a local partner, a youth-led organisation, Sanad for Development, focusing on employment, which helped the project expand its online activities and reach. For security reasons, the project in Syria is implemented with the support of RNW Media’s experts, but with no visibility of RNW Media. Project implementation in Syria remains challenging and the building of digital communities at scale in general needs more time than in other MENA countries. Still, we have been successful in building a large and highly engaged community. This is especially noteworthy given the character of the Syrian media landscape, as all visits are generated organically based on content since Facebook advertising is not possible due to sanctions.
Highlights of 2019
The team in Syria produced a video demonstrating the diversity of Syrian by asking young people from different regions to say the same words using their local dialects. The video tackled diversity positively using a simple format and bridging the regional divisions with culture and language in this case. The video was viewed 223,000 times and attracted new followers to the platform.
Ambitious young people
Another successful campaign implemented by the team in Syria aimed to help young people present themselves more professionally when applying for jobs. The campaign was created in cooperation with the Sanad Foundation and, working together, 2,117 young people were given extensive advice about their academic choices, career path and entrepreneurial opportunities. The campaign extended the project’s reach into Homs and Hama and included both online and offline counselling.
Syria in 2019
(37% women users)
“We as Syrians started knowing each other more through this content, such as the video on dialects, or the articles shedding light on traditions, especially those focusing on rural areas like Eastern Syria.”
Message from a young person