Instagram launches the 6th edition of the Counter Speech Fellowship in partnership with YLAC India to encourage young minds to engage on topics and lead conversation on them, online.
Instagram, in association with the Young Leaders for Active Citizenship (YLAC), today announced a new edition of their flagship youth program - the Counter Speech Fellowship. In its sixth year now, the program will engage young people on topics that matter to them and encourage them to lead conversations about them online.
The Counter Speech Fellowship engages creative teenagers to use the power of visual storytelling to start meaningful conversations on issues that are important to young citizens around the world. The program is built around the idea of using art for positive expression and advocacy and is designed as an incubator for the future generation of leaders and activists. From previous years, a few of the fellows have gone on to start non-profits like the Global Voluntary Action network, worked with organizations like Nyaaya focus on legal rights and the Queer Muslim Project that advocates for LGBTQIA rights. Now, the 2022 fellowship will focus on four themes: Gender Equality, Diversity, Bullying and Mental Wellbeing.
Natasha Jog, Public Policy Manager, Instagram, Facebook India, said, “Instagram is a place where people express themselves creatively. The catalyst for such creativity is a positive environment and that’s the reason why we’re investing in the fellowship for the sixth year now. Young people across India have been part of this fellowship and have gone on to create communities that voice youth opinions and advocate for societal change. We’re thankful for the continued partnership with YLAC, and the ecosystem consisting of parents and young people, who invest their time and energy to make this fellowship a critical part of a young person's digital upbringing.”
Rohit Kumar, Co-Founder, YLAC, said, “Since we first launched the Counter Speech Fellowship, nearly 1,100 very talented and passionate fellows have leveraged the power of social media to create a world that embraces differences and provides support to those who need it the most. Many fellows have also taken it upon themselves to take the learnings from the fellowship outside the program, by initiating conversations in their family, their schools and community through their writing, webinars, outreach to influencers and policymakers, and collaboration with prominent civil society organizations. We are very excited about the continued partnership with Instagram to take this very important initiative to more young changemakers in India.”
The fellowship is designed as a fully-funded engagement wherein fellows meet every alternate week for a couple of hours. The overall duration of the fellowship is two months and has been designed as a virtual engagement since the past year. All sessions will be conducted online and the program is open to all 13 to 18-year-old students currently enrolled in a school in India. The last date for applications is May 13th, 2022.
Launched in 2017, the Counter Speech Fellowship has since seen participation from young people from over 80 cities, and the content created by the fellows has reached over 17 million people.
Recently, Instagram also announced the rollout of a feature called ‘Take a Break’ that will show up for people, when they have been scrolling for a certain amount of time. They will be asked to take a break from Instagram and suggest that they set reminders to take more breaks in the future.