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Children Weigh in on the Environment in Ghana Through Film

A film festival in Ghana's capital is highlighting issues on the environment, with special focus on videos produced by children.

Films being screened at the festival are from Africa and elsewhere. The video reports by children, however, all come from Ghana. This is the second time children are taking part in the program which started nine years ago by non-profit group Creative Storm.

One of the group's managers, Mawuli Afatsiawo, said the participation of children is meant to encourage the predominantly youthful population of Ghana to express their thoughts on the environment through films. “Most of the time, we hear the experts talking about things on the environment but hardly do we hear about the views of children,” he said.

Twelve girls and four boys took part in the filmmaking for the festival. They were first given rudimentary training on film making before being asked to tell their own stories on the environment.

“We let them watch films. We get them into the mindset of a film maker. We supply them also with little cameras. We encourage them to create video diaries about themselves," explained Afatsiawo. "It’s a way of building their confidence, building their ability to speak for themselves.”

The work of the children had a common objective to enhance audience understanding on environmental issues. Their styles of presentation differed however, ranging from use of rap music, dance drama and story-telling by moonlight.

Themes covered in the three-minute movies included environmental cleanliness, pollution and degradation, and the negative effects of standing water.

The children, who worked in groups of four, did their own script writing, shooting and directing. Fifteen-year-old Kadijah Dawuda, a pupil of Korle Gonno St Mary’s RC Basic School, was tasked to produce a script using concepts such as ‘miner’ and ‘a depleted forest’. She said her final work highlighted the negative effects of illegal mining.

“I had to put all those elements together and create a story out of it. Those who practice illegal mining should be arrested. People should have license to prove that they are qualified to mine and they should use proper machines otherwise they will destroy the Earth,” said Dawuda.

Twelve-year-old Emmanuella Foade, a pupil of Association Community International School, shares some challenges she encountered with the cameras.

“In some scenes, we were asked to lie down so that we will get the correct angle to be able to view and shoot the movie. Sometimes we had to stand for long hours and there will be something like ‘cut’ and ‘start again’. Then we will have to start again. It was tiring but exciting,” said Foade.

The movies will be screened in some Ghanaian schools after the two-week festival.