2016 Action Project – Humans of Harmony

Team

Shorouk Essam, Hadeel Adel and Katherine Tan

The Challenge

The mission at Humans of Harmony is to create an alternative media platform that tells stories of diversity and justice, empowerment and peace building in both the United States and Egypt, using digital content and social media campaigns that engage the audience as participants.

Humans of Harmony provides an alternative to traditional media narratives that perpetuate stereotypes in both countries. It challenges misconceptions by highlighting human stories that will make you smile, cry, think deeply, and even take action to improve the status quo. Humans

of Harmony utilizes social media thoughtfully to engage the audience and promote constructive dialogue that breaks through echo chambers.

Project Overview

Humans of Harmony is an internet media platform (to feature a YouTube channel, a Facebook page and a  Website/Blog) that publishes digital videos and other content, featuring authentic citizen-centered stories in  Egypt and the United States which seek to promote the exchange of ideas and human narratives.

To generate buzz for the project and fuel the crowdfunding campaign, Humans of Harmony will first produce several 1-2 minute iPhone-shot #AskanEgyptian and #AskanAmerican “promo videos.” These videos will be “guerilla style” by intention, with sporadic and minimal production to convey spontaneity. The media will be spread on the Humans of Harmony social media channels, alongside a hashtag campaign, to generate interest in the platform and raise crowd funds.

The first batch of content will be produced by the Gabr Fellows team and videographers, consisting of 5-10 minute mini-documentary segments, that juxtapose one Egyptian story with one American story on the same topic and putting the 2 experiences into dialogue. Stories will highlight topics relating to the common human themes: Diversity and Justice, Empowerment and Peacebuilding.

Once the first batch of 6 videos have been published (2 for each theme), the second phase will be to utilize viewer engagement, create more content and facilitate dialogue. Viewers will be invited to submit reactions  to the videos by creating their own content (blog posts, photos, videos), which may be published on both the  Humans of Harmony and the Gabr Foundation websites, the content of which will be vetted.

The Goals

  • Create an alternative social media platform that tells stories of diversity and justice, empowerment and peace-building in the US and Egypt, highlighting stories that counteract traditional stereotypes perpetuated by the media
  • Through interactivity, Humans of Harmony will promote audience engagement with the content, and promote constructive dialogue between the East and West, using the tools of new media

Population Served

The “social media generation” – young people aged between 15-35, in Egypt, the United States, and around the world.

Project Milestones

Phase 1: Creating the project Identity & Branding (3 months):

Create a logo, Facebook account, YouTube channel and a Website/Blog; create, publish and  promote “promo videos” shot with iPhone cameras, take questions posed from Egyptians to   Americans and those from Americans to Egyptians “to the streets”, and launch crowd funding  campaigns in the United States.

Phase 2: Production Part 1 - Team-Produced Video Content (6 - 9 months – approx. 1 video per month): 

Humans of Harmony plans to locate/identify stories and individuals and develop interview scripts   for each episode/mini-documentary, splicing together interviews and “day in a life” footage. One story from Egypt and one story from the United States will approach each theme (Diversity and Justice, Empowerment and Peacebuilding). One videographer/film producer will be hired in each location; videos (interview and B roll) will be shot in Egypt and the United States; editing and   post-production will be carried out and videos will be published and promoted on social media   channels and via partners.

Phase 3: Production Part 2 - Audience Engagement:

The project will gradually transition into a more audience-driven platform, with continued   moderation and newly produced content. An audience engagement strategy will be developed, user reactions to video content will be solicited and filtered, opportunities will be created for viewers to communicate with and pose questions to individuals highlighted in videos, and audience engagement will be monitored via Google Analytics.

Expected Outcome

  • Gaining a greater understanding of challenging topics relating to Egypt and the United States
  • More authentic “human narratives” reaching young people, to enrich and counter the shallow narratives they may currently observe

Furthering the Foundation’s Mission

Humans of Harmony furthers the Foundation’s mission by engaging young people in Egypt and the United  States with real stories that relate to their own lives, and encourages them to look past stereotypes, think  deeply about current cultural issues and engage in dialogue. One videographer/film producer will be hired in each location; videos (interview and B roll) will be shot in Egypt and the United States; editing and post production will be carried out, and videos will be published and promoted on social media channels and via partners.

The applications for the 2022 Gabr Fellowship are now closed.