By Marvin Pamisa and Nichole Talatala
Two student-led social initiatives from Xavier Ateneo’s Development Communication Department placed among the top five projects of the 2018 Facebook-sponsored Digital Youth Summit from October 25-27 at Ascott Bonificio Global City, Taguig.
Peacekwela, an offshoot campaign of I Am Mindanao, promotes making peace building a fun and engaging effort among junior high school students. Meanwhile, the newly-launched #TheSMLProject advocates for a healthier digital landscape free from hate speech and discrimination online.
Represented by 13 Development Communication students, both campaigns were among the top 12 social media initiatives nationwide, out of 150 project applications, that participated in this year’s Digital Youth Summit (DYS) by Mano Amiga Pilipinas and Facebook Philippines.
“Our efforts really paid off in our favor. At first, we only hoped that either of the two projects making it to the spot would already be more than enough, but the two made it,” said Karlo Jess Abecia, the co-founder of both projects.
Now on its second year with the theme, #iamDigital, the DYS aims to harness the potentials of young innovators and social makers to make a bigger difference online through intensive capacity-building and mentoring sessions with industry experts. This year, it highlights online initiatives that promote authenticity, safety and well-being, community engagement, positive behavior, and digital literacy.
Rechelle Ann Barraquias, the moderator of two projects, said she is “oozing with pride and gratitude how the two projects, which both started out as mere penny for her thoughts, made it big and are now recognized nationally. It drives us even more to do what we do for the community.”
Other winners were the Association of Young Environmental Journalists, Project Saysay, and Project Smile, respectively.
The top five campaigns received 20,000 cash prize and $1,000 Facebook Ad Credits to continue the campaign activities presented during the event’s pitching session.