Harnessing the Power of Film to Prevent
Violence & Support Conservation

 

The Challenge

Lack of information, the spread of misinformation, and deeply-rooted mistrust often prevent people from effectively addressing the challenges facing their communities. In central Africa, isolated communities have very limited access to information and safe forums for dialogue to help them effectively address underlying issues that contribute to violent conflict in their region. This includes information about armed group activity, the role communities can play in encouraging rebel fighters to peacefully leave the battlefield, how natural resource exploitation helps perpetuate violence, and misperceptions about minority groups or neighboring communities.

 

Our Response

Invisible Children believes in the role of storytelling through film as a powerful way to challenge a society’s perceptions and behaviors and catalyze collective action for positive change. 

That is why we collaborate with local and international experts and filmmakers to create short films with and for communities in the Central African Republic (CAR) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Screenings of these films, which feature actors from local communities, are paired with guided dialogue sessions that provide a powerful opportunity for communities to discuss the issues they face in new and imaginative ways and develop their own solutions.

Across central Africa, local communities play the most important role in preventing violence, addressing its impact, and building a safer, thriving future. That’s why Invisible Children invests in innovative, community-based solutions that build resilience at the local level and reinforce the leadership and ingenuity of local communities as peacebuilders.

How mobile cinema films are made

 

The Films

Ani Wa Sa (We Are One)
Created in partnership with Novo, SAIPED, African Parks, and African Wildlife Foundation in 2018. This film aims to build trust between communities and conservation actors to improve collaboration on efforts to protect communities and local ecosystems.

+ 131 community screenings in central Africa
+ 27,450 people reached

“It is very important to protect the park. The park belongs to the community, to the entire country of DRC, and to the world. We have very special animals here that cannot be found in other places and it is important to protect them. Most of our children have never seen an elephant and we need to make sure they are protected so that [the elephants] do not go away.”

– Primary School Headmaster, Nglima, DRC. June 2019

 

They Came at Night
Created in partnership with Discover the Journey and Saiped in 2013.  This film sheds light on the experiences of former child soldiers and seeks to spark conversation about the role communities can play in welcoming and reintegrating them.

+ 469 community screenings in CAR and DRC
+ 72,150 people reached
+ 90% of They Came At Night Mobile Cinema workshop participants report increased acceptance of returnees in their community.

“I used to hate all LRA members. From this film I have seen that some young combatants are just as much victims of the LRA as I am. They need our support to reintegrate into the community. As the hunter showed in the film, any defector will receive my compassion and support to rebuild a new life. I could not have succeeded without community members, so defectors can’t either without our support.”

– Stephanie, a young Congolese woman whose family was killed by the LRA, speaking about “They Came at Night” (2019)

 

Coming in Fall 2020
Invisible Children is currently partnering with Central African filmmakers from OAZ Entertainment and local peacebuilders from Bria Londo in CAR to produce a mobile cinema film as part of a conflict transformation and peacebuilding initiative between farming communities and pastoralist groups in eastern CAR.

 

Support Innovative Programs like Mobile Cinema

 

 

Ani Wa Sa was produced with the support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Both Mobile Cinema films described here are shown in central African communities as part of Invisible Children’s USAID-funded Community Resilience in Central Africa (CRCA) Activity. The contents of this webpage are the sole responsibility of Invisible Children and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

 

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