Francisco Violich and
Deloria Many Grey Horses,
The Deep Social Networking (DSN) program has been implemented by Four Directions International over the last 2 years as part of a regional initiative by the Southeast Asia Regional Cooperation on Human Development (SEARCH), and the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), with the full support of the Canadian Government.
The goal of DSN is to advance the understanding of the Internet, social networking, and social media among our Indigenous Peoples’ and Ethnic Minorities, for the promotion of their human rights, child protection, youth empowerment, and advocacy.
Deep Social Networking was inspired by statistics that point to an ever-growing youth population of 61% of people in Southeast Asia being under the age of 25, as well as, the need for the nearly 250 million Indigenous Peoples’ living in the region, to be connected to the Internet.
Even as more and more Indigenous roots can be seen in the urban centers of Southeast Asia, most Indigenous and Ethnic People still live in rural and mountainous terrain. The benefits of connecting the people of these isolated communities with each other, as well as, the world, are profound. The Internet provides an outlet to the unforeseen world with just the click of a mouse. Connecting these isolated communities provides them with an opportunity to not only learn from the rest of the world, but also to teach the rest of the world about their cultures and traditions.
With the advance in digital technology over just the past 5 years, the Internet has drastically changed to allow it’s users to create the actual content that we read on the web, today.
In the past websites would cost thousands of dollars and were very expensive and difficult to keep updated. On today’s Internet there are numerous platforms that allow you to easily create and update your very own website, for free. The content of these websites is constantly updated automatically by member’s contribution and are extremely socially interactive.
It is now possible for any willing individual or group with access to the Internet, to reach out to their global community with websites and social media that they themselves create. The result is a strong feeling of empowerment; the entire global population is their audience and the world is at their fingertips.
Even as the Internet becomes widely available to a constantly growing global community; it is of great importance that we ensure the voices of all the world’s cultures are heard, regardless of class, economic background, gender, culture, race, etc. If we do not ensure that all cultures and people are involved then a digital divide will be created, in which the global population is not properly represented on the Internet.
At the start of our first ever DSN training with the Colorful Ethnic Youth in Chiang Mai, Thailand in March of 2009 we asked our participants if any of them had created any social media, one of them had and he brought a copy of his video with him. We posted his movie as part of our DSN training and by the end of the day it had already been viewed 40 times. All of the participants gained a strong sense of empowerment that day; they realized then that their videos can be seen all over the world. As of August 15th, 2010 his video had been viewed 2,672 times.
NGO’s and Indigenous Youth Organizations can now reach out to an exponentially greater audience than ever before. Not long ago it was extremely difficult for NGO’s, CSO’s, and especially small organizations to get their message heard on the major media outlets; but with the advance of communications on the Internet the global Non-Profit community now has an unprecedented opportunity to trade their often short and rare segments on TV (which usually can be seen only one time) for a 24/7 online interactive “network of networks” where human rights and peace building based social media and discussion can be shared freely. What makes this so special is that after human rights videos or documentaries are shared on-line; everyone that has access to the Internet has the right to express their personal insights, thus creating a global dialogue on any issue. This has created an online global community that is exceptionally active in discussing human rights struggles, among many other social concerns. It truly is amazing how quickly the global community has transformed the Internet into a social community learning center, where all forms of learning are explored.
On August 9th in Chiang Mai, Thailand DSN celebrated International Day for the World’s Indigenous Peoples’ with over 70 Youth representing the Indigenous Peoples’ of the Mekong region. The Mekong Youth Network (MYN), Development in Educational Programs for Daughters and Communities (DEPDC), Colorful Ethnic Youth (CEY), and Kayan New Generation Youth (KNGY) joined forces to develop an approach for addressing a series of defining issues that they all are facing as youth of the Mekong region. They were inspired by their own collaboration and a rare opportunity to truly have their voices heard. It was a historic day for the Youth of the Mekong. Issues of ID statelessness, human trafficking, drug abuse, environment, etc. that the youth developed will be shared at the first ASEAN Youth Summit to held in Manila from October 21st to the 23rd.
The Cambodian Indigenous Youth Association (CIYA) has received its first ever Deep Social Networking training, creating their own website to assist in their primary purpose of connecting all of the Indigenous Youth of Cambodia. This was the first of four DSN trainings to be held in the coming months in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. CIYA is a “network of networks” which links many different Indigenous Youth Groups (IYO’s) throughout Cambodia; they are dedicated to expanding their membership by promoting their objectives and goals through Deep Social Networking. Members of the Mekong Youth Network Cambodia also attended the training; the creation of their first websites and blogs during the joint training brought the two organizations together as they were inspired by similar objectives regarding issues that young people face throughout Cambodia and the Mekong Region.
Featured Deep Social Media
Kayan Human Rights Social Media Video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvCRpzG0Wpo
Environment Impact in Kayan Communities
Lahu Ancient Legend Relived
Featured Deep Social Networks