Dandora, a district in Nairobi, Kenya, is home to the Dandora Municipal Dump Site, the largest in the city. It subjects residents of the populous surrounding slum to toxic fumes. The area has high incidence of crime and disease. Many including children survey the dumpsite looking to scavenge scrap metal as well as food. This serves as backdrop for Samlis Education Foundation, a school established in Dandora as the result of a collaboration between Good People International, Kenya Office and SBS Himang TV. The school provides accommodation and education to many children formerly living off the street.
A batch of Samlis students between the ages of 12 and 18 form the participants of the ‘Dandora Fellowship for Future Filmmakers,’ a vocational training program designed to empower students with professional grade video production skills.
What We Did
The Fellowship timeline runs from January until July, 2018. The two principal phases of this project are the vocational training workshop and the production period for the web series. The first phase consists in a vocational training workshop which in turn is divided into a General Course, a Technical Course, and a Special Course.
The General Course includes modules such as Media Representation, and Global Citizenship which are taught by eminent professors from St. Paul’s University, Kenya.
The Technical Course comprises of various modules associated with vocational skills needed to produce professional quality videos. Cinematography, Editing, and Storyboarding are some of the modules included in this course.
The final component of the first phase of the workshop period is the Special Course. Conducted by two experts from South Korea, the Course is made up of two modules, Social Media Marketing, and Brand Identity and Design. The goal of the Special Workshop is to allow students to use social media to market their productions and begin a dialogue with the rest of the world.
The web series represents the second phase of the Fellowship. The objective is to produce a set of 7 episodes of a web drama which addresses misconceptions, prevalent in the slums, about HIV/AIDS. Through the web series, the hope is to raise awareness in the Kenyan online sphere about concerns related to the disease while telling an engaging, genre driven story.
Traditionally, media has been seen as a peripheral component of development project, an auxiliary to major domains of development such as health and education. The radical nature of the ‘Dandora Fellowship for Future Filmmakers’ consists in turning this logic on its head, putting media empowerment and capacity building at the centre of the development locus.
The objective of such an approach is to provide the recipients of this intervention the skills needed to set their own agenda. Under the guidance of local professionals and industry leaders, the students can develop their own narratives in the local language, and use local codes and communication techniques to begin dialogue with their own community and the world at large.
The students in collaboration with supervisors produced videos detailing their experience of participating in the first phase of the project. The videos are set to be used as part of a crowd funding campaign to raise funds for the production period. Under the supervision of South Korean experts, the students developed their collective's brand identity and started a Youtube channel. The channel will host the web series once the production period concludes toward the end of July.