We are back from Nigeria. The trip was very challenging and I was clearly over-optimistic about the amount of editing that we were going to be able to do in the field. So, alas, we have nothing to post yet, but here is a quick outline of what we did and what our plans are.
We are helping the Social and Economic Rights Action Center (SERAC) in its efforts to protect Lagos’s slums from forced eviction, and to help them develop in a healthy way. Bear in mind that as much as two thirds of the population of Lagos — the biggest city in sub-Saharan Africa — lives in these slums, so SERAC’s mission is extremely ambitious and its reach is very wide. We shot footage in four slum communities, as well as several rural fishing villages that SERAC is working to protect. Our brilliant producers, Ben Wu and Leigh Iacobucci are hard at work editing as we speak.
We plan to make one “long” movie (about 15 minutes) which will tell the story of SERAC and help to spread its work model and successes to other organizations throughout Africa and beyond. We will also then make about 6-7 shorter videos which will be designed for much more specific advocacy purposes. Two of these will profile specific slums and argue for their protection. Another will educate government officials on one of SERAC’s success stories to show that that there is a precedent for governments actually negotiating with local communities instead of just demolishing them . One will be used for a case before the African Commission and another will be used to much more aggresively persuade the Lagos government that it is very much in their interest to settle that same case.
It will be several weeks before we start posting much of this on the blog. But here’s something very quick to whet your appetite. This is a very short video of Ben and I interviewing Sunday Eyong from SERAC. We are at Ilasan (a slum community in Lagos) discussing the Lagos government’s symbol for houses to be demolished — the red “X.” Leigh edited this in about 10 minutes while in the field so it is very rough — but it still gives you an idea of the conditions in which we were shooting and working.