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Truly digital entrepreneurs: six solutions win Global Media and Information Literacy Youth Hackathon

Youth creators from around the world participated in the 2021 Global Youth Hackathon led by UNESCO and South Africa, in cooperation with the European Commission and IBM-Z. Six submissions have been crystalized as the winning solutions and were presented during the Global Media and Information Literacy Week 2021, which took place from 24 October to 31 October.


On 27 October 2021, youth representatives of the winning teams exposed their ideas and solutions in an interactive online session opened by Tawfik Jelassi, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information. Representatives of the Hackathon’s jury and the event partner IBM-Z also shared their insights on the importance of youth engagement in media and information literacy, and the many creative ideas brought forward by Hackathon’s participants.


During the session, the moderator, Tom Burridge, former Journalist at BBC, spotlighted every team to engage in a lively discussion showing the creativity and enthusiasm of the participants of this third edition of the Global Media and Information Literacy Week Youth Hackathon.


In his opening remarks, Mr Jelassi highlighted youth as a priority group for UNESCO and how UNESCO’s action strives to ensure inclusion of youth as co-creators, co-leaders and experts in media and information literacy development. “Around the world, UNESCO works to strengthen the capacities of youth organizations to integrate media and information literacy in their policies and operations,” said Mr Jelassi. “This has resulted in over 300 youth organizations using media and information literacy to address various sustainable development issues, including on peace building, democratic governance, health, gender equality and countering hate speech,” he added, while emphasizing the focus on African countries.


You are truly the digital entrepreneurs. […] You are building a better society through technology innovation and information literacy. You can change the world. Keep believing in yourselves and keep achieving your dreams. Congratulations!

-- Tawfik Jelassi, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information


The 2021 Hackathon “Hack Media and Information Literacy for Better Futures” counted a respectable number of participants with more than 450 people who registered to participate in the virtual hackathon, making up 85 teams from 45 countries all around the world. These teams were given the task to tackle one of three challenges:

  • Media and Information Literacy in City Spaces,
  • Promote Peacebuilding Narratives and Address Hate Speech, or
  • Media and Information Literacy within Youth Organizations.


After an intense three-hour mentoring session on 8 October the “hacking” started, and teams had 10 days to bring their ideas and solutions to life by preparing a presentation and video pitch.


Out of all the participants, thirty-three teams submitted creative, innovative and inspiring projects to tackle one of the mentioned challenges. These submissions were carefully evaluated by a judging panel composed of 25 competent and passionate experts from UNESCO, MIL practitioners and private sector partners, resulting in six winning teams.


Media and Information Literacy in City Spaces


Global Girl Media Greece (Greece & USA/ EUR)

A radio programme/podcast


AGAPE from Global Girl Media Greece focuses on the shadow pandemic of gender-based violence (GBV), on the rise globally since the Covid-19 crisis. It includes a podcast and instagram campaign empowering girls and women in the most vulnerable communities in our city, such as refugee camps and shelters, but also in all neighborhoods, helping them to access information and resources, but most importantly providing a safe place, both online and offline for them to speak about their experience and create brave, new narratives that will inspire and encourage other survivors to come forward.


Media and Information Literacy within Youth Organizations


Smart Pan (China/APA)

A game


Smart Pan immersive LARP game design, which integrates media and information judgment training to improve young people's media and information literacy in the form of game-based learning. The design of LARP is situational and in the process of the game, it can stimulate the subjective initiative of young people and drive students to exercise their media and information literacy ability.


Rainbow Light (China/APA)

A radio programme/podcast


Team Rainbow Light consists of a group of visually-impaired (VI) college students in China and their friends with normal vision. The mission is to empower VI communities through a weekly podcast that not only shares news and information that are not easily accessible, but also introduces the audiences to apps, software and services with solid accessibility, and further speaks to software developers and companies on the improvement of products representing the interests of the podcast's VI audiences. You will hear talks, demonstrations, interviews and Q&A sessions through our podcast channel.


Promote Peacebuilding Narratives and Address Hate Speech


OTH Regensburg (Germany)

A game             


SAM’s adventures are a hybrid treasure hunt aiming to educate young children between the ages of 8 to 12 on Media Information Literacy. Kids are confronted with hate speech such as cyberbullying from early on. Teachers can be easily overwhelmed with the task of educating responsible media use alongside the standard curriculum. The game is designed to combine digital and physical tasks, which are easy to implement for teachers as they will be provided with all needed materials. Further, the combination of digital and physical tasks can enable synergy effects by transversing the liminal boundary between reality and virtuality.


PICKUP 6 (Nigeria)

A radio programme/podcast


Conversations is a scripted and dramatised radio program/podcast that pitches a teenager/young adult with an older adult. Usually, the younger one needs to understand something, while the older, more experienced one indulges him/her. There are different scenarios, but they all casually bring up the past with a view to showing the listener how we have drifted from "the good old days". This program will be produced in studios and aired on radio stations.


Afrorama (South Africa)

An application or a website      


Afrorama is a collaborative and digital general encyclopedia of Africa which ambitions to democratise knowledge, encourage knowledge production and promote learning related to Africa. As an Afrocentric platform it aims to inspire the next generation of African leaders for positive change and to build common understanding between different cultures.