Pursuing African Peace Through Film

Kodiak Based non-profit Media Action has been awarded an $119,595 grant from United States Institute of Peace. The Funding will support a training program in conflict resolution and peacebuilding skills for at–risk youth in the West Nile region of Uganda.

The grant from the United States Institute of Peace will allow Media Action to proceed with its proposal to implement a training project in filmmaking and conflict resolution skills for at-risk youth in the region.

Media Action’s Executive Director, Marie Acemah, states that “our team is eager to provide at-risk youth in Northern Uganda with an opportunity to explore post-conflict solutions via film.” Media Action empowers marginalized youth in rural Alaska and East Africa to share their stories through film. 

The United States Institute of Peace is our country’s global conflict management center. Created by Congress to be independent and nonpartisan, USIP works to prevent, mitigate and resolve international conflict through nonviolent means.

As part of its congressional mandate, USIP devotes a significant portion of its budget to grant-making in the fields of peacebuilding and conflict management. Over 20 years, the Institute’s Grant Program has awarded more than 2,100 grants in 46 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and in 87 foreign countries.  The Grant Program increases the breadth and depth of the Institute’s work by supporting peacebuilding projects managed by non-profit organizations including educational institutions, research institutions, and civil society organizations.

This project will implement three participatory film workshops for youth to create innovative films on conflict resolution and engage in intergenerational dialogue on peace.  Designed in cooperation with local West Nile governments, Makerere University’s Center for Lifelong Learning, and other community-based local partners, the project will also mount a regional film festival to screen and cultivate dialogue on these locally produced peace-oriented films.

Raya Barazanji, the Institute’s Grant Officer with oversight of this project, said that “this project aims to implement a sustainable model for enhancing the capacity of at-risk youth in conflict zones around the world, utilizing community-based approaches to foster healing and peacebuilding.” Acemah emphasizes that “youth in post-conflict contexts bear tremendous peace capacity-building wisdom that often remains unheard; our primary goal is to provide youth with opportunities to effectively articulate their knowledge as agents of peaceful transformation.”

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Media Action is an organization devoted to empowering youth and communities to share their stories through media production and education. They utilize cutting edge technologies and research-based best practices to provide communities with the skills and opportunities to share their stories and issues via media in order to both provide technological access for participants and to foster global awareness and action. Media Action specializes in film workshops, media production and training, and community collaborations. A team of expert filmmakers, educators, and media producers carries out their work.