Facebook, PH NGO launch campaign to promote empathy, critical thinking

By Edd K. Usman

Facebook and non-profit group Mano Amiga Philippines have entered into a partnership to promote a digital literacy summit that emphasizes the importance of critical thinking and empathy, especially among Filipinos.

Facebook community affairs head for Asia Pacific Claire Deevy (right) explains its digital literacy campaign, 'Think Before You Share Digital Youth Summit.' With her is Lynn Pinugu, executive director of Mano Amiga Philippines. (EKU)

Facebook community affairs head for Asia Pacific Claire Deevy (right) explains its digital literacy campaign, ‘Think Before You Share Digital Youth Summit.’ With her is Lynn Pinugu, executive director of Mano Amiga Philippines

The ‘Think Before You Share Digital Youth Summit’ also intends to “support digital literacy in the Philippines,” Claire Deevy, Facebook head of community affairs for Asia Pacific, said. “[It] is not about Facebook per se, it is about critical thinking and empathy.”

A total of 75 student leaders, social innovators, community enthusiasts, and technology innovators who represented 22 groups coming from across the country joined the summit at the Ascott Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City.

During the three-day summit that was launched on October 5, participants from Luzon, Metro Manila, Visayas, and Mindanao — including from war-torn Marawi city — got the chance to participate in activities designed to make them responsible digital citizens.

According to Deevy, digital citizens should have their “authentic personality online and having their own profiles.”

Moreover, they should also “think about the other people that [they] connect to and go with building this critical thinking and empathy…in a sense that you help people online. Actually we are building a community and building a place for kindness and information and support (for the) next generation.”

In the next five years, Deevy expects Facebook to be a place where its users understand and empathize with other users even though they have different opinions.

“In keeping with ‘Think Before You Share’ [campaign], a digital citizen is a real person who happens to be interacting online,” she added.

During the summit, Facebook and Mano Amiga approved five projects — “Inhinyears,” “TechnoLeads,” “Prism,” “I am Marshall,” and “Take It Topless” which they will run for four months with funding support from Facebook.

Mano Amiga is a non-profit organization that creates education opportunities towards transformation and inclusive growth.

Eleano “Lynn” Pinugu, co-founder and executive director of Mano Amiga (Helping Hand), said the group worked three months to convince Facebook to partner with them for the digital literacy campaign.

“Mano Amiga believes that digital literacy is crucial in forming informed and engaged citizens. The collaboration with Facebook provides local communities with practical skills that will help empower them to contribute to creating a positive online presence and to promoting responsible digital citizenship,” said Pinugu.

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