Palm Fruit Soup from the Gambia

Meals are often more flavorful and fresh in the developing world where ingredients are sourced locally and additives and preservatives aren’t much of an option. During the course of my recent assignment in The Gambia, I not only tasted the local food but also was able to document its creation. For the everyday meal here, cooking is an event, an art, a sacred ritual. It’s labor intensive and nothing is ever wasted. Why would you want to toss out food when you put so much effort into making it? This cooking demonstration, hosted by teenage girls Fatoumatta and Bintou, was created as part of ChildFund’s Food Waste Challenge. Grab your mortar, pestle, and if you can find it, some palm fruit, to follow along at home.

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Maternal and Child Health in Uganda

Joyce lost her baby. Rose lost her mother. This tragic story is a microcosm of the dangers and challenges families face when a woman gives birth. I shot and edited this video story from Kalaki District, Uganda, for ChildFund Australia as part of a new campaign to help mothers and babies stay safe during pregnancy and childbirth. In Uganda a woman is 63 times more likely to die in childbirth compared to a woman in Australia, whereas a child is 11 times more likely to die at birth or soon after. As part of the initiative, the organization is training new community health volunteers, funding and mobilizing rural health outreach clinics, and distributing delivery kits to expectant mothers.  

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Fighting the Drought

I recently traveled to drought-stricken areas of northern Kenya – Samburu and Marsabit counties – to document ChildFund’s response to the crisis and see how families were faring after receiving desperately needed water and food support.

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Juega Conmigo

The ability to communicate to an institutional audience while maintaining a creative edge is a skill I’ve worked to hone over the years. Thus, many of my assignments involve documenting grants commissioning clients have received from government institutions or charitable foundations as a visual presentation of the progress achieved. This award from the Lego Foundation was, quite literally, a lot more fun than usual to chronicle. The Juega Conmigo (Come Play with Me), program implements child health, nutrition, early stimulation and protection programs for young children in Guatemala’s highlands, with a volunteer Guide Mother as the main entry point into the community. “The program strengthens the ability of parents to support their child’s development through of fun and games, taking play as the basis for the development of children’s abilities,” says ChildFund Guatemala Early Childhood Education Officer, Cristine Ajpacaja. “We work with children aged 0 to 4, seeking to change[…]

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Protected Passage

Extorted, followed, threatened, harmed. Facing these frightening realities, many families in Honduras have no choice but to flee their homes and communities in hope they can start anew somewhere far away, somewhere safe. ChildFund supports them on that perilous journey North. Through the Protected Passage program, ChildFund supports refugees and migrants at shelters like the one seen here – and others in Central America – with daily food, diapers, medical equipment, educational and psycho-social support, as well as computers and play equipment. The video above was the centerpiece for a recent (extremely successful) Mother’s Day fundraising gala by ChildFund, which brought over $140,000 for the organization in a single night. Names and exact locations have been withheld from this post for protection purposes.

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Power and Light

After an extended, COVID-induced hiatus, I’m back to field-based assignment work again. My first time out in 11 months was a brief journey to Guatemala in January, covering rural solar electrification and clean water projects for the Appropriate Technology Collaborative and their local partner, Mayan Power and Light. Drone in tow, I took a couple days to explore the beauty of el Lago de Atitlán and Antigua, just before the volcanoes got angry. Copyright Jake Lyell Photograhy, LLC, 2021. All rights reserved.

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I’m Still Here

I’m still here; a desperate title to my latest entry, and one to define a peculiar and surreal time in my career. How in the world can I still be working into the 7th month of international travel restrictions? Answer: I’m privileged to have clients that look to me to tell their stories and communicate their crucial work to donors, stakeholders and the public at large. Here are a few highlights of videos I’ve edited and produced over the last few months. The majority of the shots were mined from my footage archive, with a bit of supplement from Pond5. The above piece was made for Corus International, a new ensemble of organizations working to end extreme poverty by harnessing the combined powers of the private for-profit and development-aid sectors. This is currently airing in ads on LinkedIn in order to introduce the new umbrella organization to professionals working in[…]

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Meditations for Holy Week

As churches have moved their worship services online in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, some have incorporated videos into their streaming presentations. One of my regular clients is Lutheran World Relief, a faith-based development and relief organization which draws much of its financial support from the Lutheran Church community in the USA. LWR commissioned these two videos to be shown during Holy Week. They highlight the integral relationship between Christian Faith and love and charity toward others. The first piece, solemn in nature, accompanies Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, which are somber days during Holy Week in which Christians reflect on Christ’s sufferings. Bright and celebratory, the second piece accompanies Easter Sunday, marking the morning of Christ’s resurrection from the tomb. With the exception of a couple of stock video clips I spliced in here, I used my back catalog of clips to produce these two videos. The featured[…]

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