In Essaoauira, Morocco, there are limited opportunities for youth that promote creative and critical thinking. Many youth find themselves with nothing to do and little motivation to start things completely from scratch. Bayti, which means "my house" in Arabic, is a youth center in Essaoauira that focuses on the protection of children against all forms of violence, psychosocial rehabilitation, professional integration of youngsters and the promotion of children rights. To date, Bayti Cener has supported and accompanied more than 1,000 children and their families. Due to the financial instability of their families, youth visit the Bayti center for lunch and participate in activities, including homework help, French lessons, social issue workshops, sports and art classes. The center recently built a computer lab, equipped with computers and WIFI.
The goal of this project is for the youth of Essaouira to create and contribute to an online magazine about events, issues and topics important to youth, especially girls in Essaouira, as well as share creative writing, photos and videos. 18 youth (17 girls and 1 boy) will receive a ten-day training at the Bayti Center’s new computer lab. The training will be facilitated by Moroccan media professionals, such as the owner of a local advertising and publication company, staff from the website “MadeInEssaouira,” and two national news team members. The youth will be trained on reporting, writing and photography, as well as learn how to create and manage a website. After the training, the youth will meet every Friday afternoon at the Bayti center to work on assignments, submit content, update the website and work together to discuss ideas, challenges and upcoming articles. The youth will reveal their work one month after the training at an “Opening Night” in the community’s cultural center. Starting an online newspaper is a great way for the youth of Bayti and Essaoauira to develop computer skills, practice their intrapersonal skills through interviewing, videotaping, and photographing people and events within the community, as well as develop and showcase their writing skills.
Seventeen girls and one boy attended a two week media training in the Bayti center where they learned about writing, photography, and journalism. Local Moroccan media professionals assisted in the training to help inspire the youth and provide advice. The youth learned how to write a news report, create a logo, take quality photos and upload/edit content on the WordPress site. They will continue meeting weekly to develop content in anticipation for their opening night.