Future Voices International

Future Voices International at Google Zeitgeist 2011:

Founding Director Sadiq Miah was invited to attend and speak at Google Zeitgeist, one of the most high-powered gatherings of business leaders, thinkers and those that are considered to generally shape the global future.

Sadiq Miah | Future Voices International: Speaking at Google Zeitgeist 2011, Panel with Martha Lane Fox & Jon Snow.

We are very proud to have be part of this year’s Zeitgeist event as it is an exceptional opportunity to showcase the work of our organisation to the biggest names and companies in the online and technology world. Attendees this year will include Angela Ahrendts chief executive of Burberry, Maurice Levy chief executive and chairman of Publicis, Claudio Corbetta Managing Director of Dada.pro, the Chancellor George Osborne, Yuri Milner the founder of Russian tech-giant and Facebook investor DST, and Professor Stephen Hawking the director of research at the Centre of Theoretical Cosmology at Cambridge. Joseph Stiglitz the American economist, Martha Lane Fox the founder of lastminute.com and the Government’s “digital champion”, and Simon Wolfson the chief executive of Next, were also be at the Grove Hotel in Hertfordshire, where the event was being held amid tight security.

The Zeitgeist event has a series of talks taking place over the two days, and I was given the opportunity to be part of a panel, sharing my experiences with Future Voices International. The experience was exceptional and the response from the attendees about our project was very positive. Public speaking on such a scale in front of a packed audience with a net worth in excess of multiple billions of pounds is a rather daunting experience! The Google host’s were fantastic; they prepped us well, with specialist master classes taking place exclusively for the Youngminds. We had personalised inspirational sessions from people like, Jared Cohen, Geoffrey Canada and a variety of lead Google’rs.

The prospect for Future Voices International are endless, this opportunity hopefully will give us the exposure and to continue changing lives of people living in hardship and bringing their social issues to the forefront.


A Productive First Week! Ricon del Valle – Bogotá

Future Voices International has just successfully completed the first week of the programme in the Ricon del Valle community in Bogota, Colombia. The first week was an intensive one, filled with many activities and training workshops from creative writing right through to professional video editing. It’s always amazing seeing the smiles of the young participants faces during the workshops, seeing how much joy the participants get from learning new skills and having a large amount of responsibly with their individual projects.

We started the week with integration workshops, to get comfortable with the group and evaluate the strengths of the individuals. The initial two days the entire group of 20 participants worked together writing possible topics to explore further in the individual groups. We were very impressed with the range of topics discussed as possible themes for the short documentary films the participants are going to create.

As the concept of film production as an expressive form of communication was a very new idea for the young participants, we had a few sessions of film studies. In these sessions we evaluated other short films including some of the films created by the Peru Future Voices Intl participants. These sessions gave the group an idea of how they too could expose the issues and problems they face with the world.

Below you can view the first video created together with the young participants, the video is an introduction to the participants of the group we are working with. Creating this video was part of the Future Voices Intl media literacy programme as the stages of creating the video are the same as when the individual groups capture their films. The participants were directly involved with all stages of the production of this video from the initial storyboarding through to editing.

This week on a whole has been very productive, with the students of the programme learning a great deal about creative expression and film production. Some groups have even finished writing their short documentaries and started filming. The student team leaders have also created blogs where you can follow their work and keep updated with their lives.

Frankie’s Blog – Lina’s Blog – Sandra’s Blog – Ana’s Blog

We are looking forward to the final week to see the students ideas come to life through film.


Expression Begins with Creativity

Phase two of the programme has been in implementations this week; week two of the programme here in Pachacutec brings a whole new aspect of the project to the young participants. Phase two of the programme consisted of various formal and informal training workshops, in both creative and technical elements of media communication.

We started this week with various critic workshops, analysing short films and various visual media. These workshops help the participants learn how to dissect communication media, aiding them in the creative elements of the project that also began this week.

Creative writing and idea storming sessions became the norm, lasting many hours and on some days finishing very late in the nights. These sessions were created to help the participants express what media they wished to create and help Future Voices Intl assess the participants in order to form the groups the young people will be working in.

The programme is fairly intensive and also involves additional work that the participants are require to complete in their own time, we have been very impressed with the standard of work the young people are producing and the level of commitment and work ethic the participants are showing.

The final phase of the weeks programme was for the students to create there storyboards for the films the groups are planning to capture in the following week. This part of the project has been a very creative and enjoyable experience; this was the first time the young people started seeing their ideas come to life in visual forms, adding to the excitement the participants are already feeling.

We start filming on locations next week and begin the process of turning ideas into reality, a very exciting time for both the participants and Future Voices Intl.

12 Days| Voices of Rural Farm Folk: Pacora, Lambeyeque, Chiclayo

When Future Voices International was first invited to run a new media and digital communication workshop in a rural village deep in a Peruvian farming community, I knew it was going to be a tough challenge. Little did I know how remote this village was and the near to no existence of accessible technology here in the community.

Picture: Joana Rosemary, Diego Relaiza, Sujey Montalean, Sadiq Miah (Programme Director), Jhon Silves, Jemman Alexis & Roysen Agrido

I knew from the beginning that the project will need to be re-worked and adapted to suit such a situation where the sustainability of the project will be affected due to the lack of internet and access to computers. The main part of the project is young people with stories they wish to share with the world, something this village defiantly had by the bucket load. Future Voices Internationals mission is to share these with the world and get the stories of this community heard by as many people as possible.

The main focus the young participants of the project wanted to explore during out workshop sessions was on how farming life differs from any other. The majority of the kids know what city life is like as they spend the academic part of the year in cities across Peru but always return back here in the vacation periods to help family on the fields. After many discussion and planning session the young participants came up with the title: Mi Vida en Chacra (My life on the farm)

We decided to use 12 year old Jhon Silves Anderson as the main leading role, and through his character the film took place. The project took place at various times through the 12 days to represent all parts of the day to get an accurate representation of the life for a young person living on a Peruvian farm. project was created by six young individuals living in the local farming community, pictured in the first image of this post.

Another ultra short film called ‘Ardilla’ was shot by 13 year old Jemman Alexis Montalean Diaz, the short film was shot during a hunting squirrels session with the family. The film defiantly push’s boundary’s and clearly highlights the differences between life in here in the country and the city.

The project was successful and a press release has been sent to the local Lambeyeque newspapers to help spread the hard work the young people have invested into their masterpieces. The training provided was tailored to the age group of participants and the access to communication media. The finished project work will be featured during the first ever film festival taking place in Pachacutec on Friday 18th February 2011. If unfortunately you are unable to attend in person, then you can still take part in this film festival as all films will be available to view in our online catalogue.

Arrival in Project Area

Future Voices International is currently in the project area of Pachacutec, Lima, Peru. Getting prepared for the grand launch of the project in the first week of January 2011 with all the project partners and supporters.

It’s currently a very exciting time here with the buzz about the project spreading throughout the community. There has been an unprecedented amount of interest in the project from the community that a new system of participant selection has had to be enforced. Originally the plan was to work with the participants of the local youth centre Casa Juvenile Pachacutec, but as the wider community has expressed an interest in the project I will open the project to 50% CJP attendees and 50% local residents.

Ashaninka Tribal Community – Project Trip

Future Voices International has recently completed a preliminary research trip deep into the Peruvian jungle to see the viability of launching a short course version of the programme with the Ashaninka tribal community.

After 15hrs of travelling across winding roads and high altitudes of the Peruvian Andes we made ourselves into the central jungle area of Junin. We headed to a small town called Satipo which was the only connection to the outside world as it was only here you could get mobile signal and access to modern amenities. After a short pit stop we headed south via three wheeled mototaxi’s across the bumpy spine shaking dirt paths to a small Ashaninka community located 45 minutes away.

I am in a fortunate position to be able to gain such access to the Ashaninka community, as the community is part of a study a partner is doing to see if they can help the community in getting a fairer deal for their coffee they produce. Without this relationship already in place gaining the trust and support of the community would have be a very difficult and long process. Being in the fortunate position I was able to interact freely with the community and intern was actually invited to run a version of my project here with the young people in the community by the elders of the community.

I ran a few pilot workshops in the community to sense the viability of the project with the community and can confirm I was pleased with the results and the possibility for this partnership with the Ashaninka community is looking very promising.

Future Voices International currently needs to complete the project in the intended area of the urban settlement around Lima, before committing to running the project here in this community, but is planning a to run the project in the Ashaninka community at some point during February 2011.

So watch this space!

The birth of Future Voices International

The birth of Future Voices International came about with the amalgamation of incredible experiences I’ve been lucky enough to have over the last year. Leaning and working in the social and voluntary sector has been truly eye opening and has taught me a many life lessons.

One year ago to date is when this incredible journey began with me leaving my professional background in the materialistic world of Industrial Design to volunteer in a developing country.

My life was put into perspective, as I witnessed the inequalities faced by young people living in a shantytown in Peru, growing up in a society where they feel segregated and cut off from the world. The experience was truly life changing, since returning from my volunteering trip I made the decision that I wanted to work in the field of development. The way I perceive life has change, success isn’t measured my wealth but by happiness.

I wanted to live my life with the guidance of Ghandi’s quote:

“Be the change you wish to see in the world”

I have changed my life back in the UK, early this year I took the opportunity working on a pilot ‘Digital Village’ project with Trident social housing association, which caters for vulnerable residents such as teenage single mothers, those with learning difficulties/mental disorders and victims recovering from drug abuse. At the Trident Digital Village I have been using social media to increase social cohesion and participation.

This work is very rewarding however I feel I am not fully utilising my professional skill set. Its time I developed and progressed in creating international change.

The birth of ‘Future Voices International’ has become the next step in my life!