Your Commonwealth - Part of the Commonwealth Yourth Programme

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FAQ

YourCommonwealth.org is a website created and crafted by young people, students and youth leaders. Its contributors come from across Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe and the Pacific.

A hive of fresh ideas and creativity, the website is a space where people under 30 who care about things like injustice, poverty or the environment can swap experiences and viewpoints.

Here are some of our Frequently Asked Questions:

What is a Commonwealth Correspondent?

Commonwealth Correspondents are regular contributors to YourCommonwealth.org.

They are aspiring youth leaders or writers from Commonwealth countries who want to engage with the rest of the world. Correspondents are keen to tell other people about ordinary or extraordinary issues or events occurring in their community, town, country or region.


What do I have to do to become a Correspondent?

To become a Correspondent, all you have to do is commit to writing at least one short article every two months and abide by the Code of Conduct (see links on the right).


What’s in it for me? Why should I get involved?

There are many benefits of becoming a Correspondent: It is hugely satisfying to know that your articles are being read by other young people from all around the world  it’s also a way of making friends and learning new things.

Your articles may influence opinion across the Commonwealth and within member governments they are likely to be read by lots of people at the Commonwealth Secretariat and other organisations.


Do you have any advice on writing a good article?

  • Don’t write too much: Readers tend to lose interest after 500 words, so try to keep between 150 and 500 words (at the most).
  • Message: The best articles have a clear message. What is it you are trying to say? How can you best express it? Try to think about this before you start writing. €
  • Keep it topical: If you can, try to find a recent or upcoming event or a quotation from a newspaper. You can describe it in detail or simply use it as the starting point for your article. This keeps the piece timely and newsworthy.€
  • Five Ws and one H: If you’re writing about an event, try togive some detail by answering the following: Who? What? Where? When? Why? and How?€ Opinion: Readers want to know what you think. Try to write from the heart or express any thoughts you might have.€
  • Tolerance: Make sure you don’t offend anyone. Be respectful of other people’s feelings and beliefs.
  • Quotes: You might wish to include the comments or remarks of other people in your story.€
  • Photos: Pictures are a great way of capturing attention and illustrating an article. Be sure to say who took the photo and, if it wasn’t you, get permission to use it.€
  • Links: Include any links to websites or web stories that are relevant to your article.€
  • Plagiarism: All of your sentences need to be your own! Don’t copy and paste text from other sources.

I’m not such a good writer, is there another way I can get my message across?

Just as writing can shed light on the lives of young people, so can video bring you closer to like-minded people on the other side of the world. It’s an exciting and powerful means of communications to see faces, emotions and debates played out on a screen in front of you.

If you have access to a camera and computer, why not create a video and share it with people all across the world on YourCommonwealth.org?


What should my video be about?

You might want to create:

  • A short video of yourself or your friends talking about a subject that you are passionate about (for instance, climate change, democracy, football or cooking).
  • A short interview film where you ask questions of someone you know or have met.
  • A music video featuring yourself or your friends singing, dancing or playing instruments.

How can I make a good video?

Your video could be a monologue, interview or performance. It does not need to look professional; in fact, the more amateur the better!

  • Plan ahead: Think about what you’re going to say or do before you start filming. Write a script or plot out the scenes on a storyboard.
  • Message: The best videos have a clear message. What is it you are trying to say? How can you best express it?
  • Keep it short: Videos should be no longer than 5 minutes to keep people’s attention. Youtube does not accept videos longer than 10 minutes, so that will be your absolute limit.
  • Opinion: Viewers want to know what you think. Try to speak from the heart or express any thoughts you have.
  • Tolerance: Make sure you don’t offend anyone. Be respectful of other people’s feelings and beliefs.
  • Cut and edit: Cut out bits that you think the viewer might not like or which aren’t necessary to the overall message.
  • €Special effects: many editing programmes allow you to add images, subtitles or sound effects. If you use sound, make sure you have copyright permission from the creator/musician.

Now, where should I upload my video?

When you are done making the video, upload it to http://youtube.com and then send us the link so we can put it on the website. Note: We are only looking for amateur videos. If you are a professional or semi-professional film-maker you should consider entering your film in the Royal Commonwealth Society’s Vision Awards http://www.thercs.org/youth/visionawards


Still not satisfied? Didn’t find an answer to your question?

Not to worry email Omnea Said or Will Henley with your question and they’ll be more than happy to help.

Omnea Said
Community Manager
o.said@commonwealth.int