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Author Topic: Digital Stories - Migrants' Stories from Southern Africa  (Read 2971 times)
Peter Kuthan / AZFA
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« on: May 14 2009 »

In March 2007, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), together with the Silence Speaks project of the Centre for Digital Storytelling (CDS), developed and produced a series of digital stories with migrant workers from across Southern Africa that highlight the issues and consequences of labour migration. According to the organisers, the goal of the project was to create a safe space to share stories and help participants gain a sense of individual achievement and group solidarity, as well as to create a collection of short-form media pieces appropriate for use as training tools.
Communication Strategies

The digital stories were created in a participatory way during a workshop involving 8 men and women from South Africa and neighbouring countries. Prior to the workshop, the IOM and CDS held a series of orientation sessions in Lesotho, Swaziland, and in several rural areas in South Africa. During these sessions, participants were provided with disposable cameras, taught some photography basics, and asked to take photos of their homes and neighbourhoods. After this, the group gathered for a 4-day digital storytelling workshop in Johannesburg. This session included a modified process in which participants wrote and recorded their own stories, and students from the Market Photo Workshop provided hands-on computer help on request. The resulting stories, recorded in several languages, present a picture of the challenges of moving to a new place far from home and contending with language barriers, workplace exploitation, health risks, loneliness, and poverty, as well as finding friendship, assistance, and hope.

The stories were screened in Johannesburg, and can also be viewed and downloaded online. Click here to access the stories on YouTube.

The project also involved the production of a DVD, "A Better Life Than Me", which features all the stories in English as well as in the first languages spoken by the storytellers, with English subtitles. An accompanying Facilitatorsí Guide is designed to help presenters use the stories to help raise awareness about labour migration and build skills to better assist and advocate for migrants and family members in issues related to health, community development, and policy contexts.
Development Issues

Key Points

According to the organisers, the Department of Education for the Gauteng Province of South Africa has committed to incorporating the documentaries into their school programme. The Mindset Network, an educational channel broadcast on the satellite network DSTV, has also expressed interest in broadcasting the documentaries over their channel.

Organisers say that livelihoods within Southern Africa are increasingly based on mobility, with many moving within countries and across borders in search of income opportunities. These labour migrants, many of whom are women, make significant economic and cultural contributions to the countries or communities they migrate to. However, they often encounter various human rights abuses such as exploitation, harassment, xenophobia, and discrimination by employers and the people they encounter.

Partnership on HIV and Mobility in Southern Africa (PHAMSA) of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Sonke Gender Justice, Centre for Digital Storytelling (CDS), Market Photo Workshop, Commission for Gender Equality (CGE), Open Society Institute for Southern Africa (OSISA), Constitution Hill Precinct
Reiko Matsuyama
IOM Regional Office for Southern Africa

Cnr. Festival and Arcadia Street
Hatfield Sanlam Building, 3rd Floor
South Africa
Tel: 1 (0)12 342 2789
Fax: +1 (0)12 342 0932
IOM website


IOM website on February 11 2009.

Placed on the Soul Beat Africa site February 18 2009
Last Updated February 18 2009

source: http://www.comminit.com/en/node/286261/38
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