FAST (Films as Advocacy and Sensitisation Tools) is a media-based advocacy project devised to trigger public dialogue on the human rights situation of women in the Niger Delta. The project leverages the films produced in MIND's previous projects as sensitisation tools, including the FEMSCRIPT movies and the 55-min documentary Daughters of the Niger Delta.
Enhanced public attention to the various ways in which women’s human rights in the Niger Delta are violated;
Increased public recognition for women’s current roles as breadwinners, bridge builders, and mediators in the Niger Delta, and for women’s potential roles as catalysers for development in the region;
Enhanced public awareness of gender injustices and how these interact with ‘mainstream’ human rights violations in the Niger Delta - including corporate irresponsibility, failing public service delivery, corruption and impunity.
Mobile Cinema & Local Advocacy
In partnership with our Yenagoa-based partner FACE Initiative, the FAST project team arranged a Mobile Cinema tour to display MIND's films to a wide range communities in the heart of the Niger Delta (Bayelsa State, Delta State, Rivers State & Akwa-Ibom State). The local facilitators used the films as tools to spark dialogues on a wide range of gender issues at the grassroots and engage community members in follow-up advocacy activities. The response was highly encouraging: most viewers animatedly participated in the post-screening dialogues, and were keen to explore possible solutions for the issues discussed.
In communities where a critical mass of stakeholders showed commitment to push for change, the FAST project team engaged community members in a multiple-session participatory Gender Needs Assessment (GNA). The highly participatory step-by-step GNA approach enabled community members to analyse the situation in their own community context, and set their own priorities. Once the most urgent needs were identified, FACE Intitative enagged community members in a range of advocacy workshops to jointly develop and implement localised advocacy strategies.
National & International Sensitisation
Besides local advocacy, FAST also pursues sensitisation at federal and international level. Thanks to the project's distribution support, MIND's film Daughters of the Niger Delta was displayed at film festivals all over the world and received many rave press reviews. The film won five global awards so far - including Al Jazeera's New Horizon award, two Audience Favorite Awards (at the AfryKamera Film Festival in Poland, and the London Feminist Film Festival in the UK), and two Best Documentary Awards (at the Abuja International Film Festival in Nigeria, and the La Femme International Film Festival in Los Angeles). These awards are a fantastic crown on the work of everyone who helped producing Daughters of the Niger Delta - especially the female filmmakers and interviewees from the heart of region, whose voices rarely are heard in public.
Besides film festivals, Daughters of the Niger Delta has been displayed to staff members of donor agencies and diplomatic agencies in Abuja and beyond, aimed at strengthening gender mainstreaming in development initiatives and donor programming. These activities have resulted in various powerful spin-offs. The film, for instance, is being used as a dialogue tool in the DFID-funded Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation Programme (NSRP) and served as a 'lessons learned' tool at a workshop in Uganda organised by International Alert on the gender impact of the upcoming oil production in Uganda.