Participants in the East4South project | Friends of DW | DW | 30.10.2012
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Participants in the East4South project

"Big challenges, little sleep, lots of fun." That's how Estonian Barnabás Tóth summed up the DW Akademie's East4South production workshops.

It was the fourth and last round of the EU-financed project East4 South to develop exchanges between people in the media industries in Africa and Europe. Since the beginning of 2012, 30 European youth journalists have gotten the chance to work with experienced colleague from Sub-Saharan Africa on themes in development.

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The highlight of the undertaking was a weeks-long research trip to the home countries of the African partners.

The teams met again at the DW Akademie in Bonn to work on post-production. Shortly before the presentation of their films, they met with My DW. Tóth, his partner Christian Katsuva Kamate from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ekke Vasli from Estonia and Odelia Ofori from Ghana described their experiences.

What topics did you cover in your films?
Ekke Vasli: The working title is "Sodom and Gomorra," about the biggest slum in Accra, Ghana. It has a horrible reputation which is given by the media, especially the local media. Odelia and I wanted to discover how that affects the people, and how media is affecting people in general.

Watch video 14:49
Now live
14:49 mins.

Hors Pairs, documentary by Christian Katsuva Kamate and Barnabás Tóth.

Christian Katsuva Kamate: It’s about child protection. Girls often are accused of being witches, chased from their families and forced to live on the streets. There are organizations that take care of them, putting some of them in centers or camps or mansions where they can learn to live again in families. Because sometimes when they spend much time on the street, they are totally out of the family context.

What objective are you aiming at with your film?

Picture of team Ghana: Odelia Ofori und Ekke Vasli.

Team Ghana: Odelia Ofori und Ekke Vasli.

Odelia Ofori: I thought it would be nice to report differently than what international media report on Africa, and also differently than what we Ghanaians report about ourselves. I want to change the negative perception about Africa for my home country itself, and also change everything negative for the internationally community.

Christian Katsuva Kamate: The project is geared towards western viewers. Most NGO founders are from the west. [The goal] is to show them that something is being done, and that if there is something to give, they should give. And the second objective is for viewers in our country, to show them what NGOs from the west are doing, that they are helping. Lastly, I'd like to show the message behind the lives of these children.

Barnabás Tóth: Although they have a horrible past, they are still so positive, still thinking about how they can help their parents when they leave home. That is like a miracle to me. They are children.

What challenges did you have while working together?

Watch video 12:27
Now live
12:27 mins.

Sodom and Gomorra, documentary by Ekke Vasli and Odelia Ofori.

Ekke Vasli: I was surprised how many things need to be organized, especially in developing countries. You cannot just go and shoot. You first need to know somebody, who gives you a contact, to get another contact to get permission.

Barnabás Tóth: Time is different in Africa. One hour is five hours, one day is five days. Imagine: we were chosen for this project, were sent to produce a good video after 12 days, and with only 3 days left, did not have a second of material. So, of course I was upset.

Christian Katsuva Kamate: The biggest challenge was our different media backgrounds. Each of us came from totally different work environments and were put together to do something. For me, this is the best. It helps us put ourselves second and our plan first.

What lessons did you draw from the project?
Odelia Ofori: I learnt to be patient. Learnt to work as a team member. I like the proverb in my country, “Two heads are definitely better than one”. So we always came to a compromise. We always worked from a halfway point. That’s what the project is about.

Picture of team DR Kongo: Barnabás Tóth (left) und Christian Katsuva Kamate.

Team DR Kongo: Barnabás Tóth (left) und Christian Katsuva Kamate.

Christian Katsuva Kamate: What I learned from my European colleagues, and especially from Barnabás, was that sometimes, we Ghanaian journalists give up and don’t insist if we don’t get something. But you have to insist. Sometimes it put me in an uncomfortable situation. But it was a good lesson.

Ekke Vasli: Ghana is such a nice place, with very nice people. People are very helpful. You ask one person for directions, and ten people answer you and direct you to the right place.

Interview: Mona Emamzadeh
Edited by: Jeanette Müller

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