Adam Pensotti is the Head of Canon Young People Programme and EMEA Social initiatives.
The Canon Young People Programme provides visual storytelling workshops across Africa, Europe, and the Middle East to equip young people with the skills, tools, and platforms they need to share their stories with the world and create new opportunities for themselves and others in their communities.
He revealed this during a recent interview with Opera News
1. Can you tell us more about the Canon Young People Programme and how it is being implemented across Africa, Europe, and the Middle East?
Through the Canon Young People Programme, we are enabling young people across the world to tell their stories. Our position as an imaging company defines our role in the industry and outlines our mission in the Canon Young People program.This is an initiative aimed at empowering young people to share their unique stories with the world through the art of visual storytelling. We believe in providing young people with the skills, tools, and platforms to tell their own stories, share their perspectives, and inspire change.
The programme is currently being implemented across Africa, Europe, and the Middle East, with workshops and training sessions having been offered to young people in 27 countries since it started in 2015
2. What inspired you to champion social sustainability through the canon young people programme, and how did it all begin?
As someone who has always been passionate about social sustainability and empowering young people, the Canon Young People Programme was a natural fit for me. Before joining the Canon program, I was a photographer. What I can share is that the idea for the programme began with a desire to help young people develop the skills and confidence they need to tell their own stories and have their voices heard. Through the programme, we hope to inspire a new generation of storytellers who can help to shape a more inclusive, sustainable, and just world.
3. Tell us more about Canon’s focus on equipping young people with the skills, tools, and platforms to share their stories with the world
Canon’s social investment strategy is all about creating positive change in the world by leveraging our expertise and resources to support initiatives that align with our values and goals.For us, the focus on equipping young people with the skills, tools, and platforms to share their stories with the world is a natural extension of this strategy.
We believe that young people have a unique perspective on the world and that by sharing their stories, they can inspire others and drive positive change.
The visual storytelling workshops offered through Programme are designed to help young people develop the skills and confidence they need to tell their own stories through the medium of photography and video.
By participating in these workshops, young people can learn how to use technology to create powerful, impactful visual narratives that can help them to create new opportunities for themselves and others in their communities. The workshops also provide an opportunity for young people to develop their teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills.
4. How do the workshops align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and what impact have they had so far?
Since the programme started in 2015we have reached over 6750 young people and have plans to continue to expand our work over the coming years by reaching even more people. We run editions of the programme in partnership with educational establishments including NGO’s and schools, each edition of the programme focuses on United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Many of the workshops end with exhibition or feedback sessions where participants share the stories behind their images.
The workshops offered through the Canon Young People Programme align with several of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, including quality education, gender equality, and climate action.
Through the programme, we have seen young people develop a greater awareness of these issues and become more engaged in finding solutions. The impact of the workshops has been significant, with many participants reporting increased confidence, improved technical skills, and a greater sense of social responsibility.
5. With over 25 years of experience in the creative sector, how have you seen the power of imagery in advocacy and social change?
Over the course of my career in the creative sector as a photographer, I have seen firsthand the power of imagery in advocacy and social change.
Images have the ability to inspire, challenge, and unite people in a way that words sometimes cannot.By teaching young people how to create compelling visual narratives, we are helping them to become agents of change in their communities and beyond.
6. How do you partner with local NGOs in the 27 countries you operatein, and what role do your partners play in the workshops?
The Canon Young People Programme has collaborated with local NGOs in 27 different countries to provide visual storytelling workshops for young people.
These partnerships have helped to expand the reach of the programme and ensure that it is addressing the most important issues in each community.
Our NGO partners play a critical role in helping us to connect with young people and build trust within the communities we serve. They also provide valuable feedback and support throughout the programme.
7. The programme focuses on a range of topics, including gender equality, wildlife conservation, and climate change. Can you share some success stories from the workshops and how they have impacted the participants and their communities?
We have seen many success stories come out of the Canon Young People Programme, including young people who have gone on to pursue careers in photography and video production, or who have used their newfound skills to raise awareness about important issues in their communities.
One particularly inspiring example is a young environmental photographer of the year in 2019. And that’s a global he took a picture of a Rhino Dehorning. Now, this is a young man who comes from a rural community on the edge of Kruger National Park. He ended up traveling to Hong Kong. He was invited there by nothing to do with any of us, but a different organizationbecause there was a lot of ivory sold in Hong Kong. And he talked about where the animals come from, and he is sharing his education. He’s actually studying filmmaking at a university in Cape Town.
8. What are some future plans for the Canon Young People Programme and how do you see it evolving in the coming years?
In the coming years, we hope to expand the reach and impact of the Canon Young People Programme even further.We plan to develop new partnerships with NGOs and other organizations, and to explore new ways of using technology to empower young people to tell their stories and drive social change.
9. How can young people and organizations get involved with the programme and participate in the visual storytelling workshops?
Young people and organizations can get involved with the Canon Young People Programme by visiting our website and exploring the various opportunities available.
We offer a range of workshops, training sessions, and other events throughout the year, and we are always looking for new partners and collaborators who share our commitment to social sustainability and empowering young people.Interested individuals can also follow us on social media to stay up to date on the latest news and events.
10. Lastly, can you share your personal motivation for championing social sustainability at Canon EMEA’s London headquarters and leading the Canon Young People Programme
My personal motivation for championing social sustainability at Canon EMEA’s London headquarters and leading the Canon Young People Programme comes from a deep belief in the power of young people to create positive change in the world.
I have always been passionate about social justice and equality, and I believe that by providing young people with the tools and resources they need to tell their own stories and have their voices heard, we can help to create a more just, equitable, and sustainable world.
Seeing the impact of the Canon Young People Programme on the lives of young people around the world is incredibly rewarding, and it inspires me to continue pushing for change and progress in everything that I do.