American Refugee Committee launches video project

  • Article by: Tim Harlow
  • Star Tribune
  • October 4, 2007 - 2:57 PM

The American Refugee Committee International (ARCI) is helping African nations enact change one video at a time.

The Minneapolis-based relief organization in cooperation with Communication for Change (C4C) have launched an interactive video initiative called “Through Our Eyes,” giving residents of countries such as Liberia, Guinea, Sudan and Rwanda a vehicle in which to shape cultural norms and values sensitive issues and topics.

By supplying residents with a camera and microphone, communities are able to make videos of the people, for the people by the people, in which residents can freely speak out on topics such as rape, domestic violence, AIDS and HIV, and become an agent for change, said Connie Kamara, senior technical adviser of global health for ARCI.

“They learn that their voice matters,” Kamara said. “You put a shy woman in front of a camera and this dynamic vibrant person just comes out. This program puts the power in their hands. They decide what they want to address and how to address it. The ideas is to inspire change and help the community make the changes it wants to make.”

Cameras and videos are still somewhat of a novelty in the bush regions of Africa, and people flock to weekly screenings of videos produced by video clubs and stay for discussion after, Kamara said. Kamara said ARCI plans to expand “Through Our Eyes” to Thailand, and Pakistan in 2008.

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