Film and Media as a Tool for Social Change
By: Blair Glencorse. This was originally posted by the UN Foundation, as part of their CHANGEMAKERS series, highlighting creative minds, businesses and entrepreneurs solving everyday issues around poverty, hunger, disease and inequality.
“We need clean water, education and medicines- all of these things” points out Bendu as we talk to her one oppressively hot day in West Point, a crowded township of Monrovia, Liberia’s capital city. Her four children, semi-clothed in dirty rags, play next to a sewer nearby. “But we really care about corruption” she adds: “and the law- without these our other problems cannot be fixed”.
Corruption costs over $2.6 billion dollars a year according to the World Economic Forum. That is more than 17 times the amount of money the world spends on international aid. Meanwhile, over a billion people still live on under $1.25 a day. If we can get to grips with the problem of corruption- and the lack of accountability of governments that is behind it- we can banish poverty once and for all.
Citizens around the world- in countries like Liberia- know this. But often their voices aren’t heard and they don’t have the tools to transform the status quo. The Accountability Lab works with changemakers like Bendu to generate innovative ideas for integrity and anti-corruption in their communities. As a mix of entrepreneurship and accountability- which they call “accountapreneurship”. The Accountability Lab combines creativity, integrity and accountability.
What does this look like in practice? Over the past two years the Lab has worked with these accountapreneurs to do everything from set up pioneering accountability film schools across two countries; to crowd-source information on public services through a portal that has been accessed over 250,000 times; to use soccer as a way to engage thousands of young people around issues of integrity. We even worked with the leading rappers in Liberia to help fight corruption in the music industry. The emphasis is on low-cost, high-impact tools for change that people can easily relate to, can be scaled-up easily, and can be replicated around the world.
The “Accountability Film School” project was created to empower Liberians with skills and experience to create low-cost documentaries about accountability issues in their communities.