On Sunday, 27th August, 2017, 23 youths gathered at Villa Executive Lodge Lusaka, Zambia to discuss the various social problems Zambia is facing and to explore proactivity as a solution to social problems. These youth were from different institutions in Zambia including: universities, colleges, NGO’s and Churches. They were shown the PSA’s in order to show how youths in Zambia could use media projects aimed to inspire proactivity and encourage positive change.
Many were fascinated by the PSA’s. In fact, some youth considered the PSA’s as a creative, artistic concept telling the stories of experiences with social problems around the world. Furthermore, they were also intrigued by how ‘abstract’, ‘mind provoking’ and effective the films were. Some even suggested the films could be shown to audiences in high schools, universities and colleges, Non-Governmental Organizations such as; Young Women’s Christian Association Zambia (YWCA), Women for Change (WFC) and other related institutions. Interestingly, others even proposed that the films be shown in cinemas before trailers and movie showings. Also, there was an interesting debate on the ‘punch line’ of the PSA on Women’s Rights called “Shift the Focus.” According to the majority of female participants, the focus should not be shifted away from the males but “shared” with them. They went on to suggest that the punch line of the PSA on Women’s Rights should be “Share the Focus” instead.
It is for reasons of debate on concerned issues that many participants applauded and recommended the PSA’s on Discrimination, Women's Rights and Youth Empowerment films as; effective, relatable and intriguing as they provided solutions to the addressed issues. Even though many participants claimed that all the issues shown in the PSA’s were of interest to their society, many chose Discrimination and Poverty as the major issues affecting youths in Zambia. They further explained that their opinions were based on the increasing levels of youth participation in political violence, mirrored by ethnic differences (tribes) and high poverty levels in the country.
At the end of the event, many youths expressed their interests to take part in film-making and voluntary work as a method of being proactive in Zambia. It was amazing and encouraging to listen to the concerns of many youths, how they related to the films and how they believed the films would be effective. Finally, the participants were encouraged to take part in voluntary work, film-making and other proactive activities to contribute to community development in Zambia.
It was from this event that an organization called the “Proactive Youths for Positive Change” (PYPC) was formed, thanks to my experience at the IYMS 2017, Sweden, Falkenberg and the support by the UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa (ROSA).