Laurel Felt | Doctoral student at USC Annenberg

What is Sunukaddu?
August 4, 2010, 12:43 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Sunukaddu is a multi-level training program that develops youths’ communication and critical thinking skills. Its overarching objective, to empower self-advocacy, is reflected in the program’s name, “sunu kaddu,” a Wolof phrase meaning “our words.” Through on-the-ground, local experiences and digital, global exchange, Sunukaddu participants appreciate first-hand the power of active community participation.

This summer, Sunukaddu is utilizing Social and Emotional Learning and New Media Literacies to enhance creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, self-directed learning and collaboration. It has also expanded its scope beyond specific technology platforms to encompass the holistic process of communication.

Participants start the day with team-building activities, then engage in self-directed discovery of new tools and technologies. Instructors offer insight into media creation strategies, utilizing concrete examples and drawing parallels between analog and digital processes. Next, participants tackle associated challenges. A daily guest-speaker, neighborhood excursion, or locally-produced short film provides participants with the opportunity to gather information and inspiration for charting their journeys towards realizing their ideal self.

Next, participants create a media project that synthesizes the day’s material. These projects’ messages – based on topics of the participants’ own choosing, but usually oriented towards Sunukaddu’s supplementary theme, reproductive health – exploit diverse communication strategies and forms, including storytelling, journalism, photography, audio/visual recording, and editing.

Finally, the group reflects on the day’s activities and individuals evaluate their own learning processes. On the final day, participants upload all of their projects to

This hands-on method of appropriation facilitates critical consumption of media messages, ethical creation, and strategic diffusion. Why is this meaningful? First, participants can apply their practical communication and technical skills to diverse contexts, including formal education, the workplace, and social life. Second, through digital distribution of their own content, Sunukaddu participants can engage in dialogue with far-flung youth in formats that both illuminate and transcend cultural differences. Finally, participants learn to produce content convincingly, effectively and responsibly, and to draw from their own interests, experiences, and opinions to maximize relevance. Thus, the Sunukaddu method should support nearly any community’s attempt to nurture its communication capacity.

Learn more about Sunukaddu or its sponsor, RAES!


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