UNICEF Global Mapping Study

II was contracted for this project by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to conduct a global mapping of best practices in communication for development (C4D) to support peacebuilding and conflict transformation around the world.

This study, commissioned by the UNICEF C4D unit, was a direct contribution to the four-year Peacebuilding, Education and Advocacy Program, an innovative, cross-sectoral program focusing on education and peacebuilding. Its overall goal is to strengthen resilience, social cohesion, and human security in conflict-affected contexts, including countries at risk of, experiencing or recovering from conflict.

Through a combination of literature review and key informant interviews, I was tasked to undertake a 5- to 10-year retrospective study of how communication strategies have been integrated into overall peacebuilding processes around the world. The results of this study fed directly into the national-level, Country Office-driven conflict analyses and peacebuilding strategies in 2013 and beyond.

Norwegian Refugee Council Somalia-Kenya Country Program

In 2010 I was hired by the Norwegian Refugee Council to lead the documentation of their program activities in Somalia and Kenya. For this task, I hired a team of media pros that included several photojournalists, one graphic designer, and e Final Cut Pro editor.

A multi-media set of products was produced to highlight the agency’s work in Somalia, one of the most dangerous areas for humanitarian workers to operate in.

As the lead Project Manager I was responsible for selecting and supervising the team of professionals, was the main liaison with the contracting agency, and the lead writer for the publications. I also did the photography in one project location (Dadaab refugee camps), wrote the script and narrated three out of four audio-digital stories.

CARE Rwanda Celebrates 25 Years

In 2009 and 2010, I was contracted as Project Manager for CARE Rwanda to mark their 25 years anniversary in the country (1984 to 2009).

In this role, I was tasked with designing and implementing a communication strategy to mark this important date. In this process, I selected and managed a team of media professionals to help me document CARE’s work in a variety of mediums, including video, photography, and graphic design materials.

In addition to being the main liaison with CARE Rwanda staff and supervising the work of the media professionals, I was also responsible for all the writing and research of the commemoration publication, the press materials on the day of the launch, and the development and standardization of all the project posters.

Led a Fair Trade Delegation to Kenya and Rwanda

In 2009 I had the opportunity to organize a trip for a small delegation of socially conscious European entrepreneurs to visit small business enterprises in both Kenya and Rwanda. The entrepreneurs own a fair trade store in Spain and are well connected to the fair trade movement in Europe.

After much research, I selected four places in Kenya and three in Rwanda that already produced for the global market or had the potential to do so. In Kenya, I took the European delegation to visit Amani Ya Juu (refugee women making beautiful home décor materials with textiles from all over Africa), Lulu Trust Works (Shea butter-based products made by South Sudanese women), Uniqueco (an environmentally friendly project that makes ‘unique’ products out of recycled flip flops), and the Pendeza Weaving Project of Kisumu (a mom and pops enterprise that makes cotton-based clothes and kitchen props).

In Rwanda, I organized a visit to The Urban Village (urban fashion and home décor from Rwanda that benefits Rwandan women), Gahaya Links (high quality weaving products that already sells to Macy’s retail store in the US and benefits widows), and Bourbon Coffee (high quality Rwandan coffee that benefits small-scale farmers in different parts of Rwanda).

Conversations with Kenyan Women Leaders

In 2006 I worked closely with author and writer Carmen de Tord as the portrait photographer for a book project on Kenyan Women Leaders.

This experience enabled me to focus entirely on photography and to meet some of the most remarkable women leaders in modern Kenya. These women leaders represent different sectors of society from business and information technology to education, finance, healthcare and politics.

I got an insider’s perspective into a rapidly growing African economy. From a photography point of view, I shot with a Canon digital camera, did the final portraits in black and white and often used a tripod.

Some women were easier to shoot than others and the process turned out to be a new and fascinating experience each time we ventured on a fresh interview.

15 years after the Genocide Is Healing Possible?

By far one of the most rewarding and exciting projects I have ever done. The project, which I started in 2008 and is ongoing, introduced me to the work of extraordinary Rwandans who are committed to spearheading reconciliation and healing in their country.

As a writer, I wanted to reframe the genocide narrative from one of death to one hope. Rwanda’s challenging journey towards peace and reconciliation sparked my interest on how people overcome adversity and learn to forgive one another despite the pain they have endured and inflicted upon each other.

In this project I worked with American photojournalist Sarah Bones from Philadelphia.

Assistant Production for the following films

As a writer, there is nothing more humbling than working closely to broadcast people on the hunt for a good story.

My experience in these circumstances taught me that logistics is key to the making of a successful film or documentary.

Luckily, I have had the pleasure to work with a number of extraordinary directors who are extremely knowledgeable about Africa and care deeply about the issues they cover.

I don’t think I would have survived otherwise… 

Production Assistant and Project Manager for the Following Films:

Women Seeking Justice Impunity in Kenya’s Post Election Violence
Produced by Canvas Africa Productions in 2009

This 5 minute news clip captures glimpses of the post election violence that rocked Kenya at the end of 2007 and into early 2008. CARE’s work with women victims of sexual gender based violence is highlighted together with the issue of impunity and the need to seek justice. The video was produced on the occasion of the one year anniversary of the peace deal achieved as a result of the disputed elections. It was distributed to different media houses and it generated significant media coverage, including a mention on CNN.com, The Huffington Post and widely viewed on You Tube.

Empowering Women in East and Central Africa
Produced by Canvas Africa Productions in 2007

This 25-minute film focuses on the impact of women’s empowerment programs implemented by CARE in the East and Central Africa region. The objective of the film was to document in a compelling narrative and through the voices of those affected, the impact of programs that aim to empower women. Filming took place over the course of two months in Burundi, Tanzania and Ethiopia. The film was also accompanied by a publication that reflected on the overall programmatic theme. This video was used as a learning tool among development practitioners and donors.

14 Million Dreams
Babelfish Productions 2002, Miles Roston Director

Filmed on location in Kenya and Malawi over a period of 4 months, "14 Million Dreams" is a 1-hour film that captures the stories of 5 children who have lost their parents to AIDS. The stories, told from the children's points of view, show their struggles, triumphs and their hopes and dreams of becoming doctors, nurses, hired car drivers and jet pilots. These children are not alone in facing the future without parents as a result of AIDS. Every 14 seconds a child loses one or both parents to AIDS. UNAIDS, UNICEF, and USAID have estimated that as of 2001, 11 million children under the age of 15 were orphaned by AIDS, in Africa alone. As HIV/AIDS destabilizes families and entire societies, it is leaving children with out the care and support necessary to grow up, survive and thrive. Yet, children possess unlimited potential, as we will see in the film.

Wedding Photography

I started shooting weddings since I have lived in Kenya. This too gave me a unique opportunity to step inside the culture and to forge new friendships. A wedding is something extraordinarily special and intimate.

I have deeply enjoyed every wedding I have shot and learned a great deal in the process about people, lighting (too much or too little), image composition, the importance of details and framing. I look forward to more of these opportunities.