News / Africa

UN Agency, Partners Document 'One Day on Earth'

The distribution of 40,000 liters of water is seen among the local community in El Srief, North Darfur, July 2011. (file photo)
The distribution of 40,000 liters of water is seen among the local community in El Srief, North Darfur, July 2011. (file photo)
Nick Loomis

The U.N. Development Program [UNDP] and its partners have conducted their second-annual "One Day on Earth" film project. A UNDP crew at the site of an erosion and water management project outside Dakar, Senegal, provided a view into how a small contribution can be made to the worldwide effort.

On the occasion of the 11th day of the 11th month in 2011, amateur and professional filmmakers answered the call of the U.N. Development Program to capture a "picture of humanity" in 120 countries.

In Senegal, a crew traveled from the capital of Dakar to the village of Yéba to film efforts by local residents to save their low-lying village from flash flooding and erosion. UNDP's Regional Center for West and Central Africa financed the project, and Jennifer Patterson took a break from the communications office to direct the filming efforts.

The team observed the villagers' efforts to deal with heavy rains and curtail landslides, and spoke with leaders about the progress they had made. Patterson said the "One Day on Earth" project is an opportunity to show the world what the U.N. Development Program and its partners do on a daily basis.

"The idea is to document a day in the life of both UNDP employees and the projects we work on. So, documenting our projects and the positive impacts they have on the lives of beneficiaries," said Patterson.

Her contribution was only a very small part of the whole. Boaz Paldi from the UNDP New York office said more than 26,000 filmmakers will submit an expected 8,000 hours of footage during the next month. The post-production burden falls to "One Day on Earth."

"We want them to be independent. We want them to have a film that is a global film that will showcase what they want to showcase, rather than what we tell them to showcase. We are just happy to support and be part of it," said Paldi.

Last year's inaugural efforts were filmed on October 10, 2010 and resulted in a geographically-tagged online video archive and a feature film to be screened in every country in late February 2012.  

This year, participation grew threefold and Paldi said that means a more comprehensive snapshot of what happened during a single day on earth.

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