Video girls for change

January 30, 2013 by

Olivia Kyomuhendo

Olivia Kyomuhendo

I wrote recently about the impressive return on investment calculated by one World Bank economist based on the per-girl cost of BRAC’s girls’ empowerment clubs, Empowerment and Livelihood for Adolescents. Numbers are one thing, but what really hits home are the results in terms of people’s lives – people like Olivia Kyomuhendo, age 22.

Writing from Kampala, BRAC Uganda’s Bandele Adeyemi posted about Olivia back in June.

Trained over seven months in filmmaking skills, Olivia and the members of the ELA participatory video [PV] project rotated around various BRAC offices, training facilities, and local communities learning filming, interviewing and editing techniques, and facilitation skills. They also collected stories, wrote scripts and produced short plays to depict the issues their communities are grappling with.

BRAC Uganda now has almost 50,000 members in its ELA program, and Olivia’s one who stood out. She led a group of 12 young women who participated in a Nike Foundation-sponsored seven-month program to learn participatory video.

In the coming months we hope to start rolling out some short films that these “Video Girls for Change” have worked on.

Olivia has started her own videography business thanks to training she received through BRAC from the UK-based organization InsightShare (see a short documentary on this program here).

Later in the year, Olivia was selected to join seven others on The MasterCard Foundation’s Youth Think Tank. Afterward, she explained why empowerment is largely about building healthy social networks.

The clubs start out as a “safe space” for socializing before introducing training led by adolescent peer mentors. “ELA has helped me bond with the girls,” says Olivia. “I can share with them what I can’t share with my parents. And it has created so many opportunities for me. Along with the Youth Think Tank, it has made me stand taller.”

See also: “Young African leaders propose paths to prosperity for the continent,” MIT News