Filipino NGO Wins Unesco Award for Media and Information Literacy

Manila-based organization Out of The Box Media Literacy Initiative (OOTB) won the First Prize of the 2021 Global Media & Information Literacy Awards given by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Media & Information Literacy Alliance.

The award was announced during the Global Media & Information Literacy (MIL) Week last October 24 to 31.

The Global MIL Awards recognize educators, librarians, artists, activists, policymakers, NGOs, and other individuals and groups that are “integrating MIL in an innovative way in their work and related activities.”

Out of The Box is the first Filipino organization that received this global recognition since the award’s first edition in 2015. 

OOTB, which started in 2014, serves Filipino learners and educators through its various media literacy programs, resources, and campaigns. 

In 2020, they launched the #IWASFAKE Remote Learning Resources in response to the infodemic and the shift to distance learning modalities caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘Iwas’ (Filipino word for ‘avoid’ or ‘prevent’) in #IWASFAKE stands for the four key habits against disinformation: Ikalma ang sarili (Pause and calm down); Wag basta maniniwala (Be skeptical); Alamin ang source at konteksto ng impormasyon (Check the source and context of the information); and, Salain bago i-share at sitahin ang nagkakalat ng mali (Filter what you share and call out disinformation).

Their learning modules can be accessed for free on their website along with other media literacy resources of the organization.

Another recently published OOTB resource is the #MIL4Democracy Handbook that contains 18 lesson plans meant to teach young Filipinos about their rights and duties as digital citizens.

Prior to the pandemic, OOTB regularly organized face-to-face programs. Its flagship project is the Media Literacy Workshop School Tour which has traveled across the country to train students on media deconstruction, news literacy, cybersafety, and digital citizenship, among others.

Aside from workshops and webinars, they have also organized student competitions on advertisement de- and re-construction; filmmaking and film critiquing; and digital advocacy campaigning.

They currently co-run, with Mano Amiga Philippines and Meta (formerly Facebook), the Youth Leaders Incubator, a mentorship program for Filipino youth advocacy organizations. 

Now in their seventh year, Out of The Box looks to continue servicing Filipinos whose need for media and information literacy boost, especially in the lead up to next year’s elections, cannot be overstated.


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