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Shaping tomorrow’s changemakers through capacity building

The Ideosync-UNESCO Information Fellowship (IUIF)  is South Asia’s first communication for social change and media rights fellowship. Through skill and perspective building and intensive new media training over a span of 16 weeks, it equips young graduates to work with marginalized communities thereby catalyzing social transformation. 
 
The 2020 cohort of IUIF had 161 applicants, of which 25 were shortlisted and 9 fellows received fellowship support to implement their proposed projects. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 fellowship was made digital, and the grassroots placements were replaced by projects with a special focus on intersectional feminism and digital rights.
 
The fellows are trained to use a varied range of multimedia including photographs, videos, podcasts, radio, social media etc. Through their projects, fellows have created space to discuss themes that are otherwise lost in today’s congested media ecosystem. 
 
Among the 2020 IUIF fellows, Barnamala Roy, created a project that exposed health risks faced by women living in climate-sensitive areas of Indian Sundarbans. The project features women narrating their experiences in dealing with complicated health issues and the treatments that were provided or the lack thereof.
 
Keeping up with podcast boom, another IUIF fellow started TRANSPEAK, a podcast that broaches the subject of transmasculinity, to create a space for stories of transmasculine and genderqueer people. The podcast series is a 6-episode creative effort to normalize queer experience where the host and his guest speakers share their trans-experiences in Mumbai. 

The IUIF fellowship is the perfect blend of experiential learning and capacity building to shape the fellows into young changemakers and future leaders by leveraging the power of digital communication.
Eric Falt, UNESCO New Delhi Director

The next cohort of IUIF commences today, and it follows a similar structure as the 2020 online cohort. There were 260 applicants, of which 30 selected participants, after an evaluation process involving a written application and interview.