“We believe the family is the best place for every child.” This quote from a social worker narrating the video below is the central theme of the DOVCU program, which is implemented by ChildFund in Uganda and funded by USAID. Parents or family members who struggle through grinding poverty often feel that the best solution is to give their children up to an institution – an orphanage or children’s home – in hopes of a better life for them. The reality is that this often results in children growing up without culture and community and makes them more vulnerable to child trafficking or living on the streets. Furthermore, the standard of living in such institutions is seldom better. The Deinstitutionalization of Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Uganda program seeks to strengthen the livelihoods of families so that breaking apart the family is unnecessary. It also works to bring separated families back together again. I recently shot and produced these three short[…]Read More
Post Tagged with: "empowerment"
Take a tour of the coffee process as it occurs before it reaches your machine. Your guide, Atandi, is a small farmer in Kenya who tells of the lucrativeness of her new cash crop. Above, boys fish at sunset off the shores of Lake Victoria in Kisumu. Other stills from my time among the coffee growers of Western Kenya:Read More
Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he’ll quit as soon as the net you’ve given him breaks. It’s not uncommon when driving across rural Africa to see a hand-pump well that has not been used for some time; not because the water supply has been exhausted below, but because a proper system was not put in place for the construction and maintenance of that well. A well is an expensive thing to build, but it becomes even costlier when a community ceases to receive benefit from it. In remote Bukwo, Uganda, most people still draw their water from unclean and unprotected sources like rivers and streams. Because proper hygiene and sanitation practices are not widely followed, the people that use this water are exposed to diseases like diarrhea and typhoid. “It used to take me two hours to go[…]Read More
The dawn of the new millennium cast a dark pall over the Southern African nation of Malawi. The county faced a food crisis that was, in part, fueled by the loss of agricultural workforce due to AIDS-related deaths. The national HIV prevalence rate was at 16%, and as high as 30% among pregnant women. With the coming of anti-retroviral medication (ARVs) in 2003, NGOs and systems of government rushed to educate HIV positive people, who had by now organized into peer support groups within their communities. Essential steps taken by these groups to living positively with the disease included good nutrition, practicing abstinence and safe sex, proper ARV adherence, as well as learning how to give home-based care to bed-ridden HIV positive peers in the community. Ten years later, support group members are not only some of the healthiest-looking people in their communities, they’re also talking to their negative or[…]Read More
My latest video piece, which I shot for Lutheran World Relief, has given me premonitions of giving it all up and moving out to the country to be a farmer. That’s easier done than most people seeing as how I already live in Africa. Mina seems to like the idea. She used to only farm rice and corn, allowing her family to scrape by at best. LWR‘s agricultural programs in Bihar, India have allowed hers and hundreds of others’ crops to thrive in an otherwise dry and rocky environment. Hit play above and sway along with the saris and sitars.Read More
It’s hard to believe that as much hoopla as this guy has stirred up, as much attention as he’s garnered in the media, that the problems he caused are still not yet fixed. Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army plundered Northern Uganda for over a decade. The rebels killed tens of thousands of Ugandan civilians, displaced millions, and turned the peaceful farms across the region into heaps of ashes. The war against Kony’s LRA ended in Uganda in 2006. It’s still ongoing, albeit on a smaller scale, in the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo. During the rebellion most families in Northern Uganda were forced to flee their homesteads and livelihoods for the security of crowded refugee camps. Still largely dependent on handouts from government and relief organizations, they’ve returned to their land with nothing. Economic and psychological recovery has yet to be realized. When you’re[…]Read More