FilmAid's Research, Learning and Outreach

Ilana Sackler-Berner spent three weeks in Kenya working with FilmAid’s Outreach and Research and Learning teams in Nairobi and Kakuma. Here she reflects on her time with FilmAid.

This February, I had the incredible fortune of working with FilmAid in Nairobi and visiting Kakuma Refugee Camp.  I live and work in New York City as a public health professional.  This was my first trip to Africa.  I plan to return!

FilmAid delivers media content in Kakuma and Dadaab that is designed to inform refugees about critical issues affecting their lives (from health education to human rights, conflict resolution to economic empowerment) and to provide psychosocial relief.  In order to show that these programs have a practical impact on the lives of refugees, FilmAid conducts ongoing research to monitor and evaluate the reach, quality, and outcomes of programs.  I worked with FilmAid to design an approach to do just this.  Maybe not glamorous work (I love it anyways!!), but essential for continued and future funding.           

In Kakuma, I had the pleasure of conducting a training for the refugee facilitators of FilmAid’s Video Workshop Series.  These wonderful women and men are inspiring.  They are leaders. They are knowledgeable about the issues facing their communities, and skilled in delivering critical messages and facilitating engaging discussions.  They are kind, open-minded, and work hard to make a difference every day.  I am in awe of them.       

While in Kakuma, I attended an evening screening in the new arrivals section of the camp.  What a magical experience.  I think now I understand what FilmAid means by ‘the power of film.’  It is difficult to describe the emotion I felt in that moment.    

I am back in the United States now and I have taken many moments to ‘evaluate the impact’ my time in Kenya had on me personally.  I have no doubt it has changed me for the better.  I’d like to thank FilmAid’s staff in Kenya for being such wonderful hosts, teachers, and friends.  A very special thank you to Mordecai, FilmAid's Research and Learning Officer.  It was an absolute pleasure working with you.