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Panos Caribbean Utilizing Social Media to Advance its Development Agenda

June 20, 2011

You can now follow Panos Caribbean on Twitter, you can also send a friend request to our Facebook profile or become a fan of our recently created Facebook fan page. Panos Caribbean also has a Youtube account and a blog that is hosted by WordPress.

Panos Caribbean, like many organisations, has had a website for years. However, as social media has become more popular and relevant, the organisation has seen the need to expand it’s publishing platforms to include the very dynamic and very popular social media tools.

“Social media, known as new media, has become crucial partners to traditional media and has broadened the reach of organisations, even those that are not in the business of communication,” Executive Director of Panos Caribbean, Jan Voordouw stated.

“Through our social media platforms, we are able to communicate with our partners and beneficiaries and others in ways that our website does not allow us to,” he continued.

Panos Caribbean’s Youtube account hosts a growing number of videos developed or comissioned by the organisation as part of projects or under media fellowship arrangements with television journalists from the Caribbean. The videos are also hosted on our website on Panos Caribbean’s TV channel under our Media Productions Tab. Videos that we share to our Facebook and Twitter pages are hosted on our Youtube account.

These two videos were produced by journalist, Kalilah Enriquez of CVM Television under a Media Fellowship awarded by Panos Caribbean (www.panoscaribbean.org) and funded by the Panos Global AIDS Programme. (www.panosaids.org). They form part of a GAP funded HIV and Human Rights media fellowship project which includes two other videos as well as a photography fellowship.

These two vdeos will be premiered on CVM television in Jamaica in the month of June 2011 as part of the fellowship arrangement and as part of Panos Caribbean’s 25th anniversary celebratory activities.

PART ONE takes an overall look at the issue of street boys in Kingston, Jamaica and their risk and vulnerability to contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. The voices of authority figures are also in this video and includes their perspectives on what government and civil society are doing to address the problem.

In PART TWO we meet Romario, Andre and Kemar, street boys from Kingston, Jamaica who wipe car windows to earn a living.

The three boys speak candidly about their knowledge of sex, their early involvement in sexual activities and their knowledge of HIV and AIDS and how their parents and other adults sexual choices influence their own sexuality and sexual choices and values.

Our blog, which is independently hosted by wordpress, has articles produced by our cadre of freelance journalists from around the Caribbean. A feed from the blog shows the top three posts on our website.

“That is one of the main distinguishing feature of social media,” Andrea Downer, Panos Caribbean’s Online Content Manager explained. “The fact that everything online can now be connected, forming a seamless communication hub of independent pages and accounts that are all related and linked. This increases effectiveness and improves on communication efficiency,” she stated.

“We are able to talk to our Facebook friends in Facebook chat (instant messaging) or send and receive messages. Our Facebook friends and fans can give us direct and immediate feedback to our posts about our projects and activities and we are able respond similarly,” she continued.

“When I made the decision for Panos Caribbean to begin using social media, I felt it would give us the opportunity to reach young people who are a very important demographic of the Caribbean’s population. However, it is not just young people who are our audience on Facebook and Twitter; social media allows us to seamlessly interact and network with other development partners and organisations in ways that we would not be able to via our respective websites,” Mr. Voordouw explained.

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