Future Leaders of America Are Talking About Congo

Beatrice Ngalula Kabutakapua
Posted July 25, 2013 from Italy

Today I found myself in an interesting environment here in NYC, where I came to work on my documentary on African Migrants. I had an appointment with an extraordinary person, a Congolese activist named Kambale Musavili. We met at the Council for Foreign Relations in the upper East Side of the city on a sunny day, to talk about where Africans are living in New York City.

We met at lunchtime, because Kambale was going to present a workshop at 3pm "for some kids". That's what he said. As we entered the marble building and went over the brass doors, we entered in a large room where a series of tables were organised to form almost a circle. Sitting on chaired scattered all over the room, were teenagers who for appearance and accent, seemed to be coming from all over the world. But apparently they all reside in NYC.

I was so interested in learning Kambale's story, how he arrived in the US to escape the second war in the DRC in 1998, how he went to work ot McDonald's thinking about the movied Eddie Murphy's appeared on; how he fought his way in the American football team... that I completely forgot to ask him what was the workshop about and why was he invited.

The Congo.

Kambale was invited to talk about his own country to a group of kids younger than 17 and aspiring diplomats or presidents... Through the Global Kids Programme they were sent to participate to a three-week programme that included an entire day dedicate to the DRC: to what is happening there; what are the information known; how can it be reported about.

It was amazing!

Making the connection between this young curious brains, talking about women I had the honor to translate and talk to; talking about a country my roots are lay in. It was simply amazing. And Kambale, who is the spokeperson for a Washington-based NGO, was surprising in his way to engage them and make them aware of the DRC while being proactive. First thing he suggested? To make a call to the President of the United States, Barack Obama. And he did, right in front of their eyes and ears. He invited them to do the same and leave a message that could sound like this:

"Dear Mr President, I am leaving you this message because I am aware you are busy at this moment. But I would like to ask you to do more about the situation of the Congo, where people are being killed. Our country can do more!"

The thought of a dozen and more children doing that just moved my heart and made me want to call the President myself. It also gave me hope about what we can still share and transmitt to young generation.

Comments 3

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Jul 25, 2013
Jul 25, 2013

Dear Ngalula, Thank you for sharing this about our brothers and sisters in Congo its not easy to know what wrong with our African leaders they can do whatever it needs to stop killing of they fellow Africans but they always want other people out side Africa to do so. Africans we must respect our new generation and its good to know that younger Americans they like to know about Congo. Thank you to share this.

Beatrice Ngalula Kabutakapua
Jul 25, 2013
Jul 25, 2013

Dear Mugambe,

Thanks to you for taking the time in reading. I'm happy to share this and glad you found it interesting.

I would love to learn more about your organisation as well, as I have been working in documentary filmmaking for the past months.

Warmly, Ngalula

Jul 25, 2013
Jul 25, 2013

Dear Ngalula,

Most of people I talk to they used to ask me the following which you may also like to know? • How does your work advance or promote community development through media?

Video advocacy is the use of video as a change-oriented tool for human rights .Advocacy Through Filming and Screening Uganda (AFSU) has found video advocacy to be most effective when used hand-in-hand with other advocacy tools such as litigation, research, organizing, and monitoring. While these techniques are essential to secure Non-government Organization accountability, video can serve as a powerful complement to more traditional methods, and AFSU ' experience proves that it substantially magnifies the impact of our fellow partners ' advocacy. Moreover, powerful images and stories have an unrivaled candid authority that can help prompt awareness, concern, and action.

• What makes your particular method of media unique? (Video/ rural media campaigns/reporting/ digital media, etc) AFSU addresses the frequently neglected problems of community despair and psychological trauma. AFSU uses the power of film to break monotony and isolation, as well as to convey essential information. Movies help to restore dignity, quality of life, and hope which have been missing in the lives of community who often remain in homes for years. AFSU's initiatives have the following goals: Educate and Inform AFSU screens educational films on topics central to the community experience, including poverty eradication, modern agriculture, HIV and AIDS awareness, reproductive health, sexual and gender-based violence, sexually transmitted diseases, human rights, conflict resolution, land mine awareness and repatriation. Entertain AFSU shows films that feed the soul, spirit and imagination AFSU carefully selects nonviolent, family-oriented films that are culturally appropriate, with extensive input from community themselves AFSU screenings bring hope while alleviating problems of psychosocial trauma, isolation and despair. Through these shared positive experiences, a sense of community is created. Provide Employment and Skills Training AFSU trains and employs community to operate its programs, promoting self-sufficiency and empowerment. Using camcorders, AFSU also teaches basic filmmaking skills so that community can tell their own stories, advocate for their needs and educate their own communities. Raise Awareness Through celebrity advocacy and involvement, AFSU raises awareness of the global community crisis, poverty reduction, diseases prevention and control. By use of AFSU method of filming and screening Non-governmental organizations, Government, local readers, Donors, Students who are making research, local companies create awareness about their products and services to community.

• What are some of your most effective storytelling tactics? (a) My Real Life: The Participatory Video Project (PVP) AFSU works with young adults in the community teaching them basic camera and editing skills in an effort to help them tell their own stories through video. Through this program, we develop the participants' self-esteem while providing hands-on skills training and a means of communicating within their community. (b) No Place like Home: A Poverty Video Exchange Project To aid in the film of emotional trauma and resulting behavioral problems afflicting poverty in the Mukono, and Wakiso Districts of Uganda, AFSU, in collaboration with local Community and Image Base Studio is offering Rural community, Aged, women and young people affected by poverty a unique opportunity to reflect on their Rural experiences through a therapeutic and empowering process of visual storytelling.

• How can organizations who face very complex systems develop simple language that still communicates the scope and power of their work? Targeted messaging AFSU and other civil society organization must produce and distribute video messages specific to local issues and circumstances, such as repatriation, modern agricultural, poverty eradication, Malaria, Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. Community residents actively participate in the creation of these videos, responding to an immediate, unmet need for locally relevant messaging.

• How can grassroots organizations learn from your work or collaborate with your Organization? Video advocacy is not about using video primarily for publicity nor as an educational or training tool. It requires setting specific objectives, identifying target audiences, and developing a strategic plan for production and distribution to ensure the video has impact as a specific tactic within a broader advocacy strategy. Video advocacy is increasingly used by NGOs and individual advocates working on a particular campaign. Video is democratic tool: it is a relatively easy medium to learn and you do not need to be a filmmaker or a journalist to master it. Video advocacy, however, is a time- and labor-intensive process that requires significant commitment of human and other resources. AFSU partner videos have been used in diverse arenas and have targeted a wide variety of audiences, namely: • Courts, tribunals and other judicial bodies • NGOs, solidarity groups and community-based organizations • Legislative and executive bodies • Human rights bodies, commissions, special rapporteurs and working groups • Key decision-makers with influence on human rights issues (IFIs, corporations, aid agencies, etc.) • Press and media For that case, we have open request to all International Students, interns, volunteers, NGOs, Donors, partners who are willing to use video advocacy as a way to go, we are ready to give a hand to them. Please like our Facebook Page : Advocacyuganda and www.afsu.org for videos through YouTube Thank you,