Project NOT 2DAY! recently concluded successfully, achieving its aim of nurturing youth advocates for the nation.
The project’s second phase, a groundbreaking art gala followed by a closing ceremony, took place at Hometree Co-working Space. This event was a collaborative effort organised by the Rotaract Club of Colombo Fort and U-Report Sri Lanka. The Art Gala, a highlight of the two-phase project, allowed participants to unleash their creativity while exploring various facets of journalism and youth activism.
Envisioned by News Anchor and Investigative Journalist, Ahmadh Booso, Project NOT 2DAY! sought to empower 21 young talents from Colombo to lead advocacy efforts for the country and its youth. The initiative unfolded in two stages: initially providing participants with theoretical knowledge across different journalism sectors, followed by the freedom to innovate and express their perspectives on chosen topics.
The digital art gala, structured as a competition, featured seven teams of three participants each. They shared their perspectives on the threats and challenges journalists face in their line of duty, impacting transparency, service, and responsibility. The event welcomed all enthusiasts in this field, with over 50 visitors attending the presentations.
Young advocates, aged between 13 to 23, delved into issues such as legal protection for journalists, the impact of physical violence, and the cultural nuances within the journalism profession. A noteworthy aspect of the event was the focus on the brutality and challenges faced by news anchors and journalists during the Aragalaya movement of 2022, highlighting their role as societal, democratic, and human rights advocates amidst adversity.
Team Asgardians shed light on investigative journalism and the importance of press freedom, arguing that an attack on a journalist is an attack on democracy itself and that a society devoid of a free press is voiceless.
Ahmadh Booso, serving as both project chairperson and Director of Community Service of the Rotaract Club of Colombo Fort, confidently stated that the mission to create 21 young advocates was accomplished. He shared his inspiration for choosing digital art as the medium for its lasting impact on future generations, encapsulating his motto: “Embrace the Challenge, Ignite Change. Not tomorrow but today!”
The chief guest, Bismark Swangin, Chief of Communication, Advocacy and Partnership at UNICEF Sri Lanka, shared his harrowing experiences as a Reuters journalist in Africa and his belief in the transformative power of journalism.
The event paid tribute to all participants, recognising their advocacy and zest for enacting global change. Teams Asgardians and Advocacy Scribes received honorary mentions, with Advocate Allies taking home the best presentation award. Arshard Yoosuf earned individual accolades as the most innovative youth advocate for his digital comic book illustrating journalists’ challenges.
Live-streamed on SL WebCast’s Facebook page, the event was widely accessible, gathering positive feedback and hailed as a significant success.
SL WebCast, alongside the official workshop partner IVEY Campus, joined the Rotaract Club of Colombo Fort and U-Report Sri Lanka in making this event possible, solidifying its impact and reach.