Training a new generation of peace communicators is the direction of Davao-based educator Christine Faith Avila. Tinay, as family and friends fondly call her, grew up in a family of teachers. Seeing the herships of this noble profession she initiated venturing out of the tradition and took up Communications instead and landed a career in Marketing. It didn’t take long for her to completely shift the gear and eventually discovered her love for teaching.

Along with college and senior high colleagues, Tinay established the Media Educators of Mindanao (MEM) in 2013 which has become an avenue for collaboration and practice enhancement, focusing on Conflict Sensitive Journalism through the support of other institutional partners.

Apart from commercial and mainstream media, Conflict Sensitive Journalism endeavors to cover all sides of a story, particularly in those that deal with conflict. Such approach provides a more critical discernment on the past of journalists on their own respective roles in the stories they tell alongside prejudices that exist in our society. The immediate purpose of this form of journalism is to mitigate tension, avoid sensationalization of incidents and shed light on critical matters.

MEM developed a teaching guide for Communication students as the same has been advocated as an integral part of the curricula. Teachers from more than a dozen colleges in Mindanao have completed training in Conflict Sensitive Journalism pre-pandemic and were able to cascade their learnings in their teaching strategies. Availment of said training is expected to pick-up with the goal of extending the same across the country as protocols have loosened up.

Tinay and her group are determined to expand their network with the dream of reaching out to nearby Asian countries. Through MEM, a space for media educators has existed countering the perceived competition between schools and curricula offered, rather, working together to elevate and improve the profession.