Despite increased international attention to the devastating impacts on children and youth of experiencing and witnessing violence, rates of abuse and violence in families and communities across Brazil remain high. Instituto Promundo’s mission is to promote gender equity and prevent violence against children, youth, and women in Brazil and around the world. Promundo’s Violence Prevention Program takes an interpersonal approach, which recognizes that beyond the emotional, cognitive, and physical aspects of infant and youth development, the social context in which children and youth grow also needs to be understood in order to unravel the causes and impact of violence.
In 2008, Silence Speaks worked with Promundo on a project to enable young people in Brazil to see and hear themselves in media and, more importantly, to respond to negative portrayals of youth in mainstream media by learning how to represent their own lives and experiences. We traveled to Rio de Janeiro and conducted an intensive, customized six-day Introduction to Facilitation Training in digital storytelling, for key Promundo staff and youth leaders. The training included an opportunity for participants to write, record, and edit their own digital stories, and a “workshop within the training,” in which we supported participants in guiding other youth through the process of creating digital stories. Training participants then went on to lead follow-up workshops in cities in northern, central, and southern Brazil, to produce additional stories by youth taking action against violence in their communities. Promundo sent the final source materials to our office, where we completed the post-production process on all stories.
We assembled this powerful collection of stories on a compilation DVD entitled, “Youth for the End of Violence,” with menus in both English and Portuguese (all stories were recorded in Portuguese and subtitled in English). Promundo is sharing these powerful glimpses into young people’s lives in a variety of community settings and training venues, to support its work to end violence and advance youth voices for prevention.