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Posts Tagged ‘empowerment’

Mid week the first week of the community youth training, the youth chose what they wanted to do: arts or video/photos, and they split into groups for more focused training. The media group further split into 6 small groups of 4-5 people (one for each set of equipment) to then develop their interviews and ideas for their short films, based on the list of topics that had been created earlier by the youth and community members. The arts group chose topics from the list also to develop out. Photo: Some of the arts group.

The first Saturday (after 4 days of theory and practice) we did a community field visit to get a better sense of what to film and to make appointments with resource people for interviews. The arts groups did rough sketches of the things they wanted to draw. On Sunday the groups started filming and working more closely on their chosen drawings. We filmed for about 3 days in small groups, and by the 2nd day had some groups stay back to learn editing, then switching and going to film in the afternoons while another group stayed back to edit. The arts group worked in watercolor and gauche to finalize their works. By the end of the week we had 15 films and about 12 really nice drawings! Photo: Filming on Birth Registration

The films that we finished included:

· Meeting Places/Community Resources

· Alcohol Abuse

· A quick trip around the rural areas

· Forest resources

· Universal Birth Registration (and issue of not declaring births)

· History of Mva’a

· Installation of the church in Mva’a

· Water

· How mud houses are constructed

· The market

· Raising pigs

· The long walk to school

· Relationships between parents and children

· Agriculture

The drawings were really powerful, touching on themes that went deeper than the films, due to the nature of the two media. Drawing topics included Alcohol Abuse, A family losing their home to high winds/storms, Church, Long walk to school, Education, Hunting, Distance to health centers, People working on Sundays instead of attending church, Water, People not using latrines, Dangers of transport means, Recreation, Well/water sources, and Child abuse/Child labor

We closed out with a community film showing where the Mayor and community members and parents were invited to see the work of the youth. The youth, teachers and community members worked on an action plan to determine how they will follow up via concrete activities in the coming 6 months. Plan Cameroon is hoping to expand the program to additional communities, so it was important that the Mayor’s office attended as maybe they would have funds to support project expansion….

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The main thing that we did today was to go back to the map to see what the different issues in the community are, and what kind of stories could be told about the issues. How can we tell stories that touch the heart? That move people to action? That are real and relevant and educational? The personal examples that went behind the stories were super interesting. I hope the youth will capture a lot of these stories in their videos… I also hope that we’re able to produce videos that work to stimulate dialogue in the community, and that also are interesting to an external audience. That is one of the big challenges in this project.

Some stories that came out:

“There is a story about old men that go to the farms w/their tools but they don’t actually have to work, the spirits come to do the work for them; so a woman wanted to see the ghosts and she came up with a scheme to watch. When the spirits discovered the woman had seen them they stopped working and the men were angry and made women work tilling the fields ever since.”

“There is the story of witchcraft in the community. If people see someone progressing they perform some witchcraft rituals that make them go crazy or take them down.”

“Girls are being targeted for harassment; it’s a real story. It happens often. Even beyond this harassment there are threats of physical harm and sometimes charms/witchcraft. But the community is responding and these people are being arrested now.”

“A story about the way girls are married. They are married very early and marriage is an obligation. They stop attending school. Because girls are not allowed to inherit anything, they don’t see a purpose in education or in community development because they never have any decision making power. Bride price contributes to harassment. If you get married and get 12 cows as a dowry, then the family just equates you to that – 12 cows.”

“Sometimes girls come to school on opening day for boarding school, parents say that school is supposed to be free, so they haven’t even provided the girls with anything. The matatu (public transportation minibuses) drivers take advantage of them and then deny that they’ve had anything to do with them.”

“There is a belief that only basic education is important and that anything beyond is not necessary. So even if a girl/boy qualify for university, parents won’t support them. Some parents don’t believe in white collar jobs, if you aren’t a soldier or watchman which is something they can understand, if you don’t have a practical skill like carpentry, the parents don’t feel it’s a job. They are only willing to pay for an education for a skill that they can understand.”

“There is a belief the disabled children should not be allowed to live. Sometimes they are killed or they are kept out of sight and in bad conditions. Sometimes if someone has a disabled child, it’s seen to be related to the fact that they have some wealth and they’ve traded their family for wealth.”

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