PCI-Media Impact

My Community: Capacity, Community and Change We work with partners around the world to produce Entertainment-Education (E-E) programs rooted in our three-pronged My Community approach to communications for social change. Using a combination of serial dramas, talk shows and community mobilization, we: Strengthen the capacity of our local partners to effectively use communications to catalyze change; Create a community of constituents who support our collaborative work; and Promote positive changes in audience knowledge, attitudes and behaviors around target issues. As a result we are promoting a new generation of change-leaders using communications to effectively turn up the vo...
Apr 24, 2013

Your Support and the Young Women of Liberia

“I took this picture to show that if you are raped by a man you should be able to go to the police station, but many girls don’t because they are afraid that the man will do even worse things.”

 Quotes like this one, from Gertrude, accompany powerful photographs taken by the 25 girls at the THINK home and are a vivid depiction of the reality of rampant sexual violence in post-civil war Liberia. Thanks to your contribution, each girl living at the THINK home in Monrovia engaged in the life-changing process of telling her personal photostory in response to the question, “What does it mean to be a woman in Liberia in the past, present, or future?” and we are proud to share each and every story on this beautiful Backspaces site: http://backspac.es/tag/photovoiceliberia

We are also excited to report that the girls have been actively engaging in student-led “homework” assignments over the past two months.  They are working in small groups to continue practicing their technical photography skills, as well as taking pictures that give voice to their struggles, which include stories of abuse by men and family members, abandonment, and teenage pregnancy.  One student took a picture of her history notebook and said:

“I took this photo to remember the past. In the past, my father refused to allow me to go to school at all. He left my mother and I lived with my aunt who also had no money to send me to school. This is part of my history. And now I’m in school, finally learning the history of my country.”

PCI-Media Impact is grateful for your support in helping to complete this successful first stage of the Photovoice project, which empowers girl victims of sexual violence to tell their stories and inspire change.  And it doesn’t stop there!  We are thrilled to announce that we will return for the second phase of the project in May.  In the second phase we will deepen the girls’ expertise with photography for storytelling, continue to create space for healing dialogue around the issue of rape, and train teachers and counselors to facilitate photography projects in the future.  

We will also hold an event with Takun J, a famous Liberian rapper to showcase two anti-rape songs co-produced by PCI-Media Impact as well as to draw widespread attention to the candid photo stories.  Your contribution has made possible the documentation and the resulting awareness of the widespread issue of sexual violence in Liberia.  Your involvement in this project has already changed the lives of 25 girls, and will have ripple effects well into the future.

Thank you for your support.  Please consider further contributing to the next phase of the project in May!

Links:

Mar 5, 2013

Getting Kids Excited About Enviornment

Musicians perform for students
Musicians perform for students

Primary schools across Saint Lucia are bubbling with excitement after being visited by a White-breasted Thrasher, an Iguana, a piece of Coral and “Tin Tin” as part of a series of activities that are being led by PCI Media Impact as part of My Island-My Community.  

The primary school students had a chance to play, interact, sing and ask questions with the mascots that visited the schools as part of a campaign to raise awareness about the important role that nature plays in protecting the community from a changing climate as well as the actions that students can take.

The colorful mascots and students danced to a specially produced theme song and the visiting representatives shared information about the importance of protecting local mangrove and watershed areas, with particular attention to the benefits of the Mankòtè Mangrove, one of two RAMSAR sites on Saint Lucia, to the surrounding community.

Secondary school students were also in awe when popular recording artistes from Saint Lucia performed as their schools. The musicians performed their popular songs in a outdoor concert with the themes in the music addressing climate change and biodiversity.

During the secondary school activities, students were engaged in discussion on climate change, biodiversity conservation and the role of mangroves in eco-system function, with professionals from the coalition, as well as with the visiting local artistes. Students were also treated to various memorabilia, promotional material on climate change.

The school visits will culminate in a community cleanup of the Mankòtè Mangrove on the 25th March 2013. This activity will bring together the students, friends and family together to take action to protect this precious natural resources. The cleanup will also include a number of local musicians, the mascots and promote behavior change towards climate change and biodiversity conservation.

Characters engage students
Characters engage students

Attachments:
Jan 24, 2013

Follow-up from the field

Hello Photovoice supporters,

Fresh off our return from Liberia and the extremely productive week we spent with the girls at the THINK home, I wanted to reach out and provide you with a project update outlining some details and progress of the trip! 

We entered the THINK home, a one-story building without electricity, rickety wooden school chairs and a couple of chalkboards and were immediately greeting in song by the 25 girls who reside there. This warm welcome provided a window into the gratitude, excitement and overall sense of achievement that would be communicated regularly by the students over the course of the week. 

We spent some time presenting an introductory workshop, wherein we discussed the importance of photography on catalyzing change and made sure that necessary communication barriers were tackled immediately. For example, the word “gender” and its meaning as an indication not just of sex, but of cultural norms and practices in Liberian society was explored to make sure that the girls had clarity over the overarching theme that would guide that week’s photography: “What does it mean to be a woman in Liberia?”  Initial responses to the question included, “You are forced into marriage.” “You are beaten by men.” “You are denied care if you don’t provide sex.”  We tackled this conversation as a group before handing out cameras, and the utter joy of opening and assembling the 25 digital cameras quickly lead into a frenzy of practice photos, giggles, hugs and thank you’s.

The Photovoice work progressed throughout the week with small group, focused discussions that allowed each and every girl to choose six photos that represented her experiences as a woman in Liberia in the past, present, and future.  As the girls became more comfortable with the format of these discussions, they began to open up and share extremely wrenching personal experiences that, alongside their photographs, provide an emotional illustration of the hardships experienced by young women before and after Liberia’s civil war. 

One student shared her thoughts about a picture of Daniel and I, the Photovoice trainers, “When you came I was happy because this was the first and only camera in my life.  It’s important because I want to work like you two.  When I was out in the community I cried because I was young and they raped me.  I put these things out of my mind because when I think about the past I cry.” 

Despite the gravity of numerous stories being told by these girls about gender based violence and sexual violence by men, boys, and family members of both sexes, the sense of hopefulness about the future was palpable. This generation of women, ranging in age from 13 to 24, straddles a time in Liberian history that is incredibly significant.  They can look back into their pasts and clearly remember the atrocities of the civil war and its reverberations throughout society but remain focused on the opportunities that the THINK home and Liberia’s slow and steady recovery gives them to provide a different future for themselves and their children.  In the words of one 19-year-old student referring to a picture of herself: “I see myself learning how women are special in society.  My father beat me and his woman abused me, but now I see myself with my life changing.  If I go out there again I will be a good girl.  I will advise my friends not to have a baby at a young age.  If you say no to boys and they still come to you, you go to the police.”

The students finished off the week with a gallery walk including presentation of their favorite photos and discussion of the aspects of others’ photos that had particular meaning.  Print outs of their favorite photographs seemed a small gift, but for this group it was generally the first and only printed photo they have owned and they received it as if it were a treasure.  Group leaders have been identified to ensure that the use of photography to represent women’s voices in Liberia continues.

The students are heavily focused on their education, amongst them are 19 year-olds reading at a 4th grade level, or 23 year-olds planning to apply to high school when they leave the THINK home. They thanked us and our donors profusely for giving them the gift of knowledge, and responded to the question, “How can telling your story through photos help others?” with thoughts like, “It helps to tell my friends out there that they should feel courage to go to school, because education is the key to success.”

The stories told this week and into the future will be displayed on a variety of platforms, online, in print, and in gallery showings so that the world has access to the unbiased truths of gender based sexual violence in Liberia, told straight from the sources that experienced it so directly.

We thank you deeply for your contribution and continued support of this important work,

Brooke Gassel

PCI-Media Impact, Program Officer

Links:

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