Youth-led HIV documentaries screened in Jamaica & Canada
As part of an HIV awareness project, young persons from Jamaica and Canada joined forces to produce two 20-minute documentaries, receiving rave reviews at screenings in locations across the two countries.
Recognising the importance of bringing attention to the epidemic, the Ottawa-based Interagency Coalition on AIDS and Development (ICAD), in conjunction with the Somerset West Community Health Centre, the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition in Jamaica, and the African and Caribbean Council on HIV/AIDS in Ontario, joined forces to organise the project that saw youth contributing to an organized response to the epidemic.
The HIV Awareness and Caribbean Diaspora Project, funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), brought together 12 youth to produce a documentary aimed at educating individuals and highlighting youth response to HIV/AIDS.
“The overarching goal of the project is to raise awareness about the impact of HIV and AIDS, both amongst Caribbean Diaspora communities in Canada and in the Caribbean,” says Layla Rich, senior program officer at ICAD. “In addition, we hope to strengthen Canada’s contribution to global HIV/AIDS issues by increasing the involvement of the Caribbean Diaspora in Canada, raising awareness within the Caribbean Diaspora in Ottawa of HIV/AIDS issues in the Caribbean and improving the effectiveness of HIV/AIDS programs targeting youth from the Caribbean Diaspora.”
After months of intense training, interviews, filming and editing, the first documentary, which was filmed in the two countries, was produced under the theme “One Blood: Youth Linked In Action”. Capturing the synergy of the different youth from diverse backgrounds and experiences, the documentary also highlights the linkages between Jamaica and those in the Diaspora in Canada, acknowledging the bond that ties everyone together.
To complement the documentary, two youth journalists were also engaged to produce “The Similarities of our Differences. The Making of One Blood: Youth Linked In Action”, a ‘behind the scenes’ look at the work being done. By shadowing the project participants and conducting interviews with them, individuals will get a chance to see the personal impact of the project, why each person got involved and what lessons they will take away from the experience.
Jamaican youth involved in the project include: Cadine Forbes, Randy McLaren, Yannick Hemmings, Dwayne Brown, Marlon Thompson, Shane Joseph and Keresa Arnold (Youth Journalist). Also from Canada were: Ninnera Channer, Sheri Clayton, David Lewis-Peart, Jenica Greenaway and Shaunel London (Youth Journalist).
The videos can be viewed on the Interagancy Coalition on AIDS and Development website.