British Ambassador Visits BSC Monrovia & Accountability Lab
By: Melany Oey. This post was originally published by Spark.
On March 5, 2014, the British Ambassador to the Republic of Liberia, Mr. Fergus John Cochrane-Dyet, stopped by the BSC Monrovia office to see the Accountability Film School for Girls that he has heard so much about. The current film school aims to empower girls to find their voice, tell their story and address accountability issues that women face in Liberia. The British Embassy in Liberia has been very supportive of this initiative, kindly providing financial support to the newly created Liberia Film Institute which is running the school. The Ambassador’s visit was to experience first-hand how the film school is contributing to the efforts of government of Liberia and the international community to social, political and economic reconstruction.
The Accountability Lab co-creates innovative tools to build accountability in Liberia and around the world. The team uses creative approaches to engage young people – through culture, technology and sport – in processes of positive social change. The Accountability Lab, in partnership with the Business Startup Center (BSC) Monrovia and SPARK, provide young social entrepreneurs with the necessary tools and practical support to address accountability issues including integrity building, systems building, and transparency- through projects like the film school.
The Accountability Film School has now been registered and developed as the Liberia Film Institute, a stand-alone non-profit organization that uses film to provide solutions to challenges in Liberia. The film school started around six months ago and has already had 40+ students and three film festivals. “Accountapreneur” Divine Key Anderson who manages the Accountability Film School believes that“film is a medium that can communicate to people at all levels of understanding and change a lot of things in our country”. He also argues that “the best thing to do is teach accountability consciousness through the grassroots and from the grassroots it will grow”. Divine was enthusiastic about the visit of the British Ambassador: “the UK Ambassador’s visit was very inspiring and encouraging. When he said that they are using the top to bottom approach to problem solving while we are using the bottom to top, I realized that my effort is not in vain. I don’t have to be a billionaire to contribute to solving national or global problems and now, more than ever my energy is renewed to do more!”
After a short tour at the BSC Monrovia office, the Ambassador met with the whole team, including Accountability Lab, BSC Monrovia and SPARK. William Reide Dennis, the project coordinator for BSC Monrovia, lauded the Ambassador for his visit and expressed his gratitude for the Ambassador’s support to the Accountability Film School for Girls. Two award-winning documentaries created by students of the film school were shown and the Ambassador had the opportunity to meet and interact with the students to get an insight into their work and ideas. The girls were very excited to meet the Ambassador and they expressed their appreciation for the continued support. They are grateful for such an outstanding opportunity to develop their skills in filmmaking, which is empowering them to express their views on critical issues in their communities. In this way the Accountability Film School for Girls is concretely contributing to the promotion of women’s participation in a post-conflict environment.
The film school is included in the Social Impact Tour of Liberia– a new initiative by the Accountability Lab, BSC Monrovia and Barefoot Liberia. On this tour, participants can visit a variety of social entrepreneurs in Monrovia, meet citizens with creative ideas for change and learn how these young Liberians are building a better society.