The past couple of years have brought just about everything that can be popped-up, from hotels and nightclubs to hair salons and spas. A curious re-mix of the pop-up idea is the inflatable movie screen range developed by the Open Air Cinema Humanitarian Program. NGOs and humanitarian agencies have used the technology to both entertain and educate small and large communities across Africa and beyond. One of the largest organisations using the inflatable screens is the FilmAid International.
FilmAid is a Global Implementing Partner of the UNHCR and currently operates in two refugee camps in Kenya, where it assists refugees from Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, Eritrea and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Its signature “Outdoor Evening Screenings” take place several nights per week and have reached up to 30,000 people in one evening. FilmAid’s “Daytime Screenings” are followed by group discussions enabling a deeper discussion about topics of concern. Topics addressed in these videos include conflict resolution and peace building, health education (e.g., HIV/AIDS, cholera, malaria prevention), landmine awareness, prevention of sexual abuse and gender-based violence among women and girls, repatriation information and more.
The Open Air Cinema program has also been used by the Shine Global and Fine Films organisation to screen the Oscar-nominated documentary War/Dance to thousands of refugees living in northern Uganda’s . They are also currently working with the Rwanda Cinema Center to bring films into remote corners of Rwanda.
The power of visual media is demonstrated both through the use of photography in mass media and the making of documentaries about socio-economic and political issues around the world. Apart from their more tangible impact on audiences, visual media such as film have a crucial role in educating societies that largely aren’t literate.
Image courtesy of the Open Air Cinema.