Update on video in Mathare (and Kibera)

This is a fairly short and quick update on video in Mathare and even shorter in Kibera.

One of our ideas at the beginning of the video program in Mathare was that video guys would go on the field with mappers and collect what they are doing. We thought this would be important for several reasons:

  • it would create harmony between different groups (mappers and video)
  • this way we would document every step of the process and thus create awareness of the project which could later be used for attracting funders, etc.
  • with public screenings, we could show the community what we’re up to

We then decided that mappers and video teams together would present too big of a group walking around Mathare and would raise too much attention so we dropped the case. Now that the community is aware of our presence, this is again something we can think about.

From the start we always presented all the programs as one and the same thing – getting the info about Mathare out there, with all means possible. When talking about video and unity, the current situation in Mathare is that we have a group of around 20 video guys, many of them also community bloggers and a part of our mapping program, and who want to be involved with Voice as well, because they see all three programs as one.

How we conduct the trainings in Mathare:

In Mathare we’ve partnered with Nathaniel Canuel who has created a very interesting training program with which he is trying to inspire the group to explore their individual talents. For example, to stir their imagination he created a collage of videos from some of the world’s most famous films (Apocalypse Now, The Godfather, etc) – the theme was, “the marriage of picture and sound.” He also showed them several videos which were made in Kenya and some of his own work. After and during they had discussions about different camera angles, sounds, effects, etc.

My understanding from the meetings and trainings is that the participants in the video program want to explore the potential of video. They want to use it to showcase the stories from Mathare, the stories of their friends, relatives, the way of living, etc., and they want to do it in an interesting way.

The trainings usually go on like this:

  • Nathaniel shocks them with all different artsy stuff
  • They hold discussions about things they’ve just seen
  • They discuss different issues in Mathare and how much work a certain issue would need
  • They pick issues and talk in detail about how they will go about it (Nathaniel is guiding them and asking them a lot of hard questions)
  • They take footage and edit

To stir their imagination and make video interesting to the participants and the people watching it, we decided (together with the participants) to do a game or a competition, where very abstract titles will be chosen and then the group will make videos to go along with those titles (this will be a fun addition to the “serious” work they are doing). The videos will be presented at public screenings where the community will decide the winner. We figured people will want to see these videos, and it’s also a way to have some fun. If I quote Jeff: “People here are tired of all the bad and depressing stories, it’s about time we do something different!”

These are just some of the quick updates on how things are going. You can see the first videos from Mathare here and also Kibera News Network is back on track with new videos here.

Oh… The first story which came out of “let’s have some fun” is: Welcome to a Dog’s World by Joe Gathecha from Kibera News Network.

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