GlobalGirl Media seeks to empower a new generation of Brazilian girls through their media training program

By Lorenzo Holt

GlobalGirl Media (GGM), a U.S.-based organization dedicated to the empowerment of young women through the media, is fundraising for a new initiative in São Paulo, Brazil.  The program focuses on the links between sexuality and technology and aims to provide girls with a channel for voicing their opinions through journalism and other media.

“Here in Brazil we don’t have many women that are becoming filmmakers or journalists, especially from periphery regions, and [GGM] is an opportunity to access this space,” said Betty Martins, GGM Brazil’s program director.

Although still in its preliminary stages, the project will offer 10 girls, between the ages of 15 and 17, training in journalism and audio-visual media through a 3-month pilot program. The girls will be selected from public schools in São Paulo’s periphery on the basis of their potential for contributing to a team with diverse interests.

At the end of the program, the girls will have produced a short mini-documentary. Martins hopes that the tools, training and space provided will draw more girls to the program, and that if the initiative proves successful it will spread to other areas in Latin America.

“We are giving them media training to start, but the idea is to fully establish GGM here so that the girls can continue producing material and discussing issues they feel are necessary to be discussed,” Martins said. “ It will be distributed through our media partners and we want the debate to get beyond just the project.”

GGM has partnered with four local Brazilian organizations with experience managing similar projects to provide sponsorship and training, according to Martins.

Énois, Brazil’s first free youth journalism school, will provide the project with headquarters for technical workshops as well as the instruction and necessary equipment. ECOS, a sexual and reproductive rights NGO, offered to provide fiscal sponsorship and expertise in sexual education. Instituto Quero and Nós are the two other partners providing further education in documentary production, media literacy workshops and critical analysis of the media.

“We got different organizations because we wanted the girls to have workshops from journalism and the media but also to meet interesting women that would help them deconstruct what it means to be a girl in the society that we live in,” Martins said.  “It’s not just about media training; we want them to get exposure to new ideas.”

According to Martins, young Brazilian girls need to have a better understanding of their place within the culture, their rights and the risks they face – especially when dealing with technology. She said that issues like cyber bullying or cyber revenge – for example when a boyfriend might post nude pictures of his ex girlfriend online – are not properly addressed in schools or society at large.

“Women and girls should be allowed to explore their sexualities; it’s not their fault if a man abuses them … that their pictures suddenly end up online because an ex-boyfriend posted it,” Martins said. “By saying ‘don’t use your mobile phone to explore your sexuality, or be careful’, you aren’t really dealing with the deeper issue, which is gender violence and sexuality.”

GGM has training programs in the U.S., Morocco, South Africa and Kosovo.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.

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