"Right On": Tackling COVID-19 in West Africa
Xchange Perspectives e.V. (XcP) joins multiple organisations across five West African countries to create 27 short films exploring the societal consequences of COVID-19, utilising the power of Media for Peace amidst a global crisis.
The RIGHT ON film premiere in Togo.
Photo: Cinéma Numérique Ambulant (CNA) Togo
MUNICH – In 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe, Xchange Perspectives e.V. (XcP) partnered with Weltfilme e. V., University of The Gambia, NAEAL Liberia, SLADEA Sierra Leone, Cinéma Numérique Ambulant (CNA) Togo, and YMCA Ghana to implement the "Right On" project. With financial support from Brot für die Welt and the German Federal Government, this timely initiative sought to explore the societal impacts of the pandemic through filmmaking while adhering to local safety measures.
XcP's Leila Bendra played a crucial role in the project, training trainers in Media for Peace principles. These principles – Unity, Diversity, Transcendence, Empathy, and Commitment – were integrated into the project, emphasising the importance of inclusive storytelling in fostering understanding and unity during challenging times. Leila also provided guidance in finalising the films, ensuring the application of Media for Peace values.
Originally planned as a joint film training course in Accra, the project adapted to the pandemic's restrictions by offering online coaching to filmmakers from Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia, The Gambia, and Togo. These filmmakers subsequently trained over 200 young people in filmmaking in their respective countries, producing a total of 27 short films.
Each film explored various aspects of COVID-19, raising awareness about health concerns, addressing the pandemic's societal consequences, and offering potential solutions where possible. Despite the challenging circumstances, these films were broadcast on television in all five countries and screened in mobile cinema tours across numerous towns and villages. The films also garnered international attention, featuring online and in several film festivals.
The "Right On" project demonstrates the resilience and adaptability of filmmakers in the face of adversity while highlighting the importance of Media for Peace in tackling global crises. As the project concluded, film instructors continued independently running further film workshops, extending the initiative's impact and fostering a new generation of socially conscious filmmakers.