Sharing stories – big, small, funny sad, wise or foolish, true and false. Stories are the lifeblood of social media as people reach out to others with their thoughts, feelings and opinions. But not everybody is able to tell their story freely. Social norms, political censorship, religious restrictions or simple lack of access to the platforms where audiences gather are all barriers to free speech and free association. We are launching a 6-month campaign #MyStoryForAStory (#MijnStoryVoorEenStory) to encourage young people in the Netherlands to show solidarity with their peers in countries where it’s not always easy to tell your story.
As an international media organisation based in the Netherlands and working with and for young people in restrictive settings around the world, we want Dutch youth to understand the challenges our target audiences face when it comes to freely accessing and making use of the digital spaces they take for granted. Ultimately our aim is to generate a demand for Dutch government policies and actions that support global development efforts to tackle those challenges.
Social media channels are an essential element of the way RNW Media’s in-country platforms connect with their users and we will be harnessing the power of social media to implement our campaign. We will be working together with five key influencers in the Netherlands who will share stories from our regions with their audiences under the Dutch hashtag #MijnStoryVoorEenStory. Kicking off the campaign will be Dutch television presenter and broadcaster Geraldine Kemper. As well as being a popular celebrity in the Netherlands with 614K followers on Instagram, Kemper is committed to a range of equality and justice initiatives, such as working with human rights NGO ActionAid to advance women’s rights around the world, as she explains in this (Dutch language) video.
Four other Dutch influencers are also taking part in the campaign. Sahil Amar Aïssa is a Dutch actor, columnist, presenter and activist. Born in Morocco, he believes his generation is the one that needs to speak out and bring about change. Last year he wrote an article in which he pleaded for more freedom within the Muslim community – whether you want to wear a miniskirt or a hijab – and believes that if you don’t speak up you are complicit in maintaining a restrictive status quo.
Journalist and public speaker Milou Deelen refers to herself as 100% feminist and fights for equal rights for women. She addresses issues such as slut shaming, women‘s empowerment, politics, abortion and sexuality. She has also co-written a book Krabben (Scratching) which discusses why women judge each other rather than support each other.
Linda de Munck believes it’s vital for young people that they can talk openly about sexuality and everything that comes with it. She aims to break down taboos and uses her YouTube channel and Instagram account to discuss love sex and relationships in an honest, non-judgemental way. She also makes podcasts and has published a book “Seksleven” (Sex Talk in Dutch).
Naomie Pieter is a queer and anti-racist activist whose work centers on making space for the intersections of those communities. She is the founder of ‘ Daughters of Ivory’ and co-founder of ‘Black Queer & Trans Resistance NL’, as well as the initiator of Pride of Color Amsterdam focusing on the inclusion of bi-cultural LGBTI + in Amsterdam Pride. Naomie is currently setting up a Black Queer Archive and has been a driving force in the BlackLivesMatter demonstrations in the Netherlands.
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The campaign will have six key moments, starting with Amsterdam Gay Pride on August 2nd and finishing on Human Rights Day, December 10th. Marking each moment, these influencers will share a story from a young person in one of our target countries whose freedom is restricted in some way. Followers will be asked to share these stories on their own social media to show their solidarity and support for the human rights of their peers around the world.
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