Using Documentary Film to Boost Global Development

Meridian was honored to join ITVS in partnership with USAID, the Ford Foundation and CARE to host a special panel presentation on Media as Multiplier: Using Documentary Film to Boost Global Development on March 13, 2014. The event highlighted the impact and model of Women and Girls Lead Global (WGLG), a private-public partnership that uses film, television, new media and engagement strategies to support gender equality work in multiple countries.

Meridian’s President and CEO, Ambassador Stuart Holliday, opened the event with welcome remarks and turned the program over to Judy Tam, Executive Vice President, CFO and COO, ITVS. Ms. Tam introduced and welcomed the moderator of the panel discussion Tara Sonenshine, Former Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, U.S. Department of State, along with panelists, including Kathrin Pfeiffer, Country Engagement Coordinator–Peru, ITVS; David Ray, Head of Policy and Advocacy, CARE USA and Managing Director, CARE Action Now; Ghada Ammar, News Anchor “The Early News Show,” Ro’Ya TV, and Mahmud Hasan, Country Engagement Coordinator-Bangladesh, ITVS.

The panelists shared their perspectives on how media serves as a powerful tool for global development and how documentary films have the potential to support change makers on the ground. Ms. Pfeiffer noted that media has contributed to some impact on specific issues in ITVS-PERU’s pursuit for social change through films, using a unique combination of interactive activities and a call to action. Mr. Ray shed light on how CARE uses media, especially documentary films, in their work on the ground to facilitate discussions on how women can change their lives. Ms. Ammar shared her experience as a news anchor in Jordan to push women’s issues through media and influence decision making. Mr. Hasan discussed ITVS-Bangladesh’s two-pronged approach in preventing child marriage and keeping girls in schools. The panel discussion was followed by a Q & A session with the audience. Among the themes that emerged was the engagement of men and boys in bringing about gender equality and the importance of qualitatively and qualitatively measuring the impact of media in support of gender equality and global development work.

Cara Mertes, the Director of Just Films with the Ford Foundation, shared brief remarks before turning over the program to distinguished speakers, Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator of USAID and Nicholas Kristof, New York Times journalist, for a conversation. According to Dr. Shah, “It is absolutely critical to capture and tell stories of women and girls, because stories have power to transform and bring about social change.” He went on to reference that USAID is proud to be associated with Women and Girls Lead Global (WGLG), which promotes women and girls issues through public media worldwide.

Project summary

Using Documentary Film to Boost Global Development
Number of Attendees: 100
Regions: Western Hemisphere
Countries: Peru
Impact Areas: Empowering Women and Girls, Media and Journalism
Program Areas: Culture, Forums
Partners: Private Sector, Public Sector