USAID’s Media Literacy Project YouThink is a five-year program that works with youth to help them navigate and shape an information ecosystem that informs and engages rather than divides and polarizes. The project is implemented by IREX, the Macedonian Institute for Media, the Institute of Communication Studies and the Youth Educational Forum in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Science, and the Bureau for Development of Education. The work focuses on utilizing a mix of local and international expertise to catalyze systemic change throughout the school system at the primary, secondary, and university levels, as well as non-formal education.
Building on IREX's Learn to Discern approach to media and information literacy skill-building, YouThink works with local partners to catalyze systemic change throughout the school system at the primary, secondary, and university levels. The program also provides opportunities to learn, grow, and contribute to national efforts through nonformal learning, youth clubs, online courses, and tailored training for young media professionals.
YouThink’s diverse activity tracks work together, integrating young people’s voice for input and leadership, to foster society-wide awareness of media literacy through youth-led campaigns. The tracks also support youth as they demand and produce high-quality, appealing news content that meets their needs and interests.
- Equip young people in North Macedonia with the critical thinking and information engagement skills and awareness that they need to build resilience to mis- and disinformation, hate speech, conspiracy theories, and other forms of manipulation.
- Integrate critical information consumption skills and media literacy competencies in all primary and secondary schools nation-wide, and enhance opportunities for media literacy education at Universities, particularly those training future journalists and future teachers.
- Ensure that over 43,000 young people are part of integrated curricula that focuses on media literacy and builds critical thinking skills among youth and additional 35,000 through non-formal skill-building and online learning.
- Contribute to increasing the quality and relevance of news and information developed by and for youth.
Unique media literacy content for and informed by youth: YouThink launched an intensive resource review and adaptation process to develop a tailored training and resource development approach for media literacy and critical consumption of information, informed by in-depth research into target audiences.
Setting up a vibrant youth advisory board: The “Learn to Discern” (locally called: URA Advisory Board) will comprise of young people representing diverse groups who will participate in the co-design, co-leading, and decision-making processes for an array of activities across YouThink objectives, including training, grant competitions, recruitment, and outreach efforts.
Integrating critical information engagement in schools: YouThink partners with the Ministry of Education and Science, and the Bureau for Development of Education to integrate media literacy and critical thinking skills’ acquisition into curricula and teacher resources. YouThink will work with primary, secondary, and higher education institutions, including pre- and in-service teacher training institutions.
Nonformal education: YouThink works with a national network of youth clubs and other networks to promote training, online courses, and blended learning opportunities, including competitions, master classes, and professional networking.
Media content developed by and for youth: YouThink will amplify youth voices through opportunities to produce high-quality, appealing media content and reach audiences through digital short film festivals and competitions. Participants will receive training on media literacy, data literacy, and more to strengthen young journalists and media professionals.