Project overview


As nations continue to grapple with the effects of climate change, inequality and injustice and other global issues, young people have stepped up as change-makers within their local and regional communities. However, despite the positive actions of many, their creative solutions do not reach a wide enough audience. To give these children the voice they deserve, The United Nations Institute for Training and Research is partnering with Barbara Harrison Media to launch "Through the Lens of the Youth Documentaries by Youth Worldwide". 

This 13-episode creative series invites young people from a variety of backgrounds to create a short video on a particular sustainable development goal and its impact on their community. The project further aims to expose the audience to the different topics that embody each Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) and the effect it is having on the lives of children across the world; all through the lens of video creation. By exposing a global audience to various contemporary issues as viewed by the young people who tackle them with innovative solutions, Barbara Harrison Media (BHM) and UNITAR will increase and give importance to meaningful conversations regarding sustainability and its impact on the global community.




The project seeks to achieve the following objectives:

  • Showcase how global young people perceive, understand, and relate to sustainable development goals.
  • Investigate to what extent understandings of the SDGs vary with age and nationality.
  • Give youth the platform to display their talents and perspectives.
  • Provide adults and organizations with the opportunity to be exposed to the perspectives of youth.
  • Expose the audience to the differences of what each SDG means to the youth.
  • Display the creativity of young people from across diverse backgrounds through the medium of video as captured on their smartphones or cameras.

Participants and selection process

Participants of Through the Lens of the Youth Documentaries by Youth Worldwide will be children from countries worldwide, including a variety of diverse backgrounds. The documentaries will be submitted and judged in three age groups: 11-14,15-19 and 20-26.

Each applicant will complete the questionnaire below and submit a short (up to 3-minute video) pitch. Those chosen from the first round of applications will then be asked to submit a 5-8 minute video highlighting their specific Sustainable Development Goal. The videos can feature problems and/or solutions that exist in their community. The documentaries will include interviews with a member of the filmmakers' community.

Video guidelines

The video guidelines for the participants will consist of these key components:

  • The video will be 5-8 minutes long.
  • Each video must begin with a brief 1-2 minute introduction of the video-maker, their selected SDG and the reasons behind why they chose it.
  • The remainder of the video will concentrate on the impact of the selected SDG within their community and how the participant is involved in the impact process.
  • The participants’ videos may include interviews with people regarding matters about their SDG.
  • Creative elements could include background footage, royalty-free music, voice-over narration as well as first-person camera interview. Each video must tell a story and be as impactful as possible.


The contact persons for the project from UNITAR and BHM are:

Documentaries by Youth - Video

About Barbara Harrison Media

BARBARA HARRISON is an award-winning journalist with more than three decades of writing, producing, reporting and anchoring experience at major television stations in New York, San Francisco, Dallas and Washington D.C. UNITAR partnered with Barabara Harrison media to create the Documentaries by Youth Series to promote the Sustainable Development Goals and their impact on the lives on young people across the world. 

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