Yazan’s world has gotten smaller as he has connected with people from across the globe.
18 YES and two YES Abroad alumni from 14 countries wrapped up their participation in the YES Voices Podcasting Workshop this week. Throughout the workshop, the participants have learned how to create a podcast segment about a community project they have organized or been involved in. The alumni will amplify their voices and create change in their communities through their podcasts. The workshop was facilitated by the StoryCenter, a digital storytelling organization that has been facilitating innovative arts approaches to participatory media for nearly 30 years.
Borjan Georgievski (YES 2021-2022, North Macedonia, placed by YFU in St. Charles, MO) said, "Everyone has their own voice and their own story, and this workshop basically taught me that everyone... can contribute to the world in some positive way."
From March 6 to April 10, the alumni participated in weekly virtual sessions, where they learned about the basics of podcasting, such as storytelling, writing for audio, interviewing guests, and using audio editing software. They also learned best practices for recording audio, and how to create connective pieces, such as episode introductions, soundbeds, transitions, and bumpers. They have also spent time listening to podcasts to understand how to put the theory into practice.
Once the alumni understood the basics, they spent four weeks working with their partners to interview guests and record audio for their podcast segments. Their podcast segments cover many different topics, including entrepreneurship, cultural heritage, environmental protection, refugee integration, inclusion of people with disabilities, and more!
Finally, the alumni were ready to put everything they had learned together. They converged in Rabat, Morocco from May 11-15 to get hands-on experience working with the facilitators and to record, edit, and produce their podcast segments with their partners. In addition to technical skills, the alumni also learned skills in teamwork, inclusion, and leadership. They also embarked on a cultural excursion to visit the Hassan Tower, led by a Moroccan podcaster who shared his insights on podcasting and Moroccan tourism. On the final day, the alumni attended a listening party, where they listened to the 10–12-minute podcast segments, shared feedback, and reflected on their workshop experience.
To amplify their impact, the alumni also submitted a project action plan and can apply for small follow-on grants. The alumni are excited to use their newly acquired podcasting skills to make a difference in their community on issues they care about and that advance the mission of the YES program.
The alumni’s work throughout the workshop is a remarkable statement on the passion that YES alumni have to address urgent challenges in their communities and their capacity to make a meaningful impact on those issues. For these participants, leaving Rabat was not the end of their podcasting journey, but rather the beginning.
Amina Suleiman (YES 2012-2013, Kenya, placed by PAX in Fort Collins, CO) said, "It was good getting to meet people I've virtually worked with for the past several weeks in-person... it cemented our relationships. It was great to learn how to do podcasts and hear everyone else's work, which was very inspiring."