Blog Post #4

1)Based on your life experience, skills and interests what would a design process that is both uniquely yours and affective look like?


Our team comes from a  very right brain background – we contain three filmmakers and a marketing major. This conglomeration of thought is primarily creative and artistic, and occasionally unorganized. However, that means that we are a team that thinks big picture and figures out how to follow through to achieve our goals. We complement our strengths through our collaborative process and we communicate our plans so we know what each person is doing every step of the way. So, in terms of design process we would list out our steps as this:

  1. Brainstorm
  2. Research
  3. Organize
  4. Pitch
  5. Validation
  6. Design
  7. Delivery 


2) *Identify your three most important stakeholders and list five UNIQUE attributes for each one of them.


  1. The mothers of Sierra Leone
    1. Muslim or Christian 
    2. In need of medical care during and after pregnancy
    3. Subjugated gender of the country
    4. Reserved about talking to us
    5. Not accustomed to Western medicine 
  2. Makeni Midwifery School
    1. Improving healthcare in Sierra Leone through direct training
    2. Students work towards Nursing Association Certificate
    3. Graduates about 100 midwives per year
    4. Located in rural Sierra Leone
    5. Since 2010 the school has graduated almost 500 midwives
  3. Surgical School
    1. Trying to incorporate Western medicine 
    2. Improving healthcare in Sierra Leone
    3. Students work towards Surgical Assistant Community Health Officer certificate
    4. Students train to complete life saving surgeries
    5. After training the students go to regional hospitals where they can perform their own surgeries 
    6. Contributes to 25% of all surgeries in Sierra Leone.


3) *Identify three ways in which you will validate your project concept, technology, usability, and business model.


We will validate our project by using a media impact evaluation model. 


We will first validate our project by determining how many people we reached, that is how many people viewed our film. For every person who has viewed our film or been exposed to it in some capacity, our documentary message gets distributed. When the stories we portray get distributed, people talk about our documentary and spread the word about the cause we are representing. 


Second, we will validate our project evaluating audience engagement. This evaluation is a continuation of the amount of people we have reached. After people have been exposed to the film, we are looking for our audience to respond positively to our film. A positive response would be one of empathy and a need to take action. This would be shown through reposting our video on other networks, sharing our video link, and through donating funds to the organizations we represent. 


Lastly, we will validate our project through its influence factor. A positive influence would show changes in the communities our film is shown in. For example, more women would apply to attend midwifery school. A positive influence would also exhibit changes in attitude towards the issue of maternal mortality. For instance, this could be Sierra Leoneans building a stronger trust with Western medicine. 


4) Give three examples of something very interesting you learned from a friend that was a completely alien concept to you.


My friend from high school taught me a lot about the nature of white privilege and microaggressions. First, she explained to me that from her experience as a woman of color, having people ask if she washed her hair and having people touch her hair without permission was very offensive. She explained that these acts are examples of microaggressions. Prior to this interaction, the concept of microaggressions was foreign to me. Second, she explained to me how white privilege manifests itself in a classroom setting at school. One example she gave was how the curriculum of our history class was based around European history rather than the history of South America or Africa. Lastly, she explained to me how many of the books we read in English class were by white authors rather than authors of color. 


Blog Post #3

  1. Top 20:

    1. Do people want us to impact their lives?

    2. Who are we catering to?

    3. Should we follow social politics or be accurate?

    4. Will this go beyond Sierra Leone?

    5. What are quantitative measurements of our success?

    6. Will our impact be sustainable?

    7. How will we know how many lives this impacts?

    8. Where will our financial proceeds go?

    9. How do we distribute our project?

    10.  Will generating film success (i.e. festival awards) make an impact?

    11. How do we accurately make a film without offending Sierra Leonians?

    12. When are we done?

    13. How do get men in Sierra Leone to care about our mission?

    14. How do we make our impact last after we leave?

    15. How do we craft a positive narrative around a health crisis?

    16. What is our timeline?

    17. How many subjects will our film focus on?

    18. How many solutions are we trying to highlight?

    19. Will our impact be positive or negative?

    20.  How will we maintain and foster mutual respect between our subjects and our film?

Blog Post #2

Give three compelling examples of how cultural issues affect your project.

  1. I speculate that certain cultural issues will affect my project but because I have not yet visited Sierra Leone or conversed with anyone from Sierra Leone, I cannot be certain what cultural differences with affect the outcome of the project. First, although the official language of Sierra Leone is English, I predict that there will be people Sierra Leone that we interview that will not speak English. Even though we will have a translator, certain words or phrases may not necessarily have a definition in English. The people we interview may desire to describe certain experiences and the English language may not have the vocabulary to properly define that experience. Second, from my student peers I have heard that often Sierra Leoneans operate on a looser understanding of time compared to the strict ways we might operate on time. For instance, if we schedule a meeting to occur at 10:00 am, the meeting might instead commence at 10:30, 11:00, 11:30, or might have to be rescheduled altogether. This might make it difficult to obtain the information we need to film on a timely basis. However, it is important to note that they spend their time talking to us is a privilege, no matter when exactly we are able to access that information. Third, though I am unsure of what level of religiousness the Sierra Leoneans we speak to will have, most Sierra Leoneans practice Christianity and Islam. Because of their religious practice, I am unsure how comfortable they will be revealing certain details about their bodies in regards to birthing children, especially on camera. Knowing these details would be extremely valuable in threading the story of maternal mortality in Sierra Leone, though they may be uncomfortable sharing this information. 

Have you experienced or observed any of these social situations at home? Describe at least three such situations.

  1. When I conducted my interviews for the documentary I filmed last year, I ran into all three of these problems. Some of the maintenance staff and kitchen staff at my school had a difficult time speaking English and could not fully articulate what they wanted to say. I unfortunately could not provide them with a translator. As a result, I was disappointed because I felt that I was not able to accurately portray them in the film. In addition, I had a couple instances, though not many, where some of the staff showed up late to interviews or had to reschedule them. However, most did show up on time for the scheduled interviews because as employees working in America, I think they adapted to the social structures. Many if not all of the staff I interviewed were not comfortable revealing certain information about their experiences on camera. Many of them expressed concern about the way they would be portrayed. I assured them that the documentary would only display them in a positive light, but despite this, much of the staff chose to withhold information about the way they felt working in the school. In fact, many of them asked to be emailed the questions beforehand so that they could prepare answers. Some of them composed a script for themselves which made the documentary not as authentic as I intended it to be. 

Give three examples of cultural practices that can be leveraged to address community / market problems.


  1. One example of a cultural practice is religion. Sierra Leoneans are made up of mostly made up of Muslims and Christians. These two religions live side by side in harmony, learn about each others religious practice in school, and even intermarry. The peacefulness of these two religions creates a community that is respectful of one another, which I believe is more important than market growth. One of the ways that the two religions have come to live peacefully is through their cultural practice of dance. Dancing is a big part of Sierra Leone culture, and there are many dance festivals that showcase heritage, community, and even comedy. This cultural practice not only strengthens the bonds of Sierra Leoneans, but also can be a tourist attraction to leverage the market of performance. Another cultural practice that can be used to leverage the market is their hand-made crafts, clothing, and jewellery. This practice not only creates income for Sierra Leonoens but also showcases their unique form of artistic expression. 


Blog Post #1

I enrolled in this course because I was extremely drawn to the three core elements of the program: impact, impact, and impact. For much of my life, I have been apart of community service initiatives that have been dedicated to raising money. While I see the immense value in this, I have always preferred doing tasks that make an immediate impact, such as working at a soup kitchen or a nursing home. Since I am studying science journalism and documentary film, the Safe Motherhood Project was a perfect fit for my interests and passions. My career goal is to create investigative documentaries that reveal truths and provide individuals a platform to speak from who normally aren’t able to do so. For my high school independent project, I created a documentary about my school’s kitchen and maintenance staff. Revealing their stories strengthened my high school community and since its making, I have always wanted to continue that type of work. I envision this course enabling me to improve my interviewing, filming, and investigative journalistic skills. The Safe Motherhood Project corresponds very well with what I am studying in my classes. I anticipate the project will also make me a more insightful and thoughtful student. I will have a deeper understanding of people who have had vastly different experiences than myself which will make me a more open-minded learner. In addition, I envision that I will form powerful connections with those who I interact with in Sierra Leone. I think I will also become more appreciative of the privileges in my own life, such as my education, and because of that, I will be more motivated learner. Finally, because I will have to collaborate with other students, I envision myself becoming a more effective teammate. 

I have a couple proposals for this to combat the issue of lack of access to eyeglasses. The first would be to start programs in other countries to donate their used eyeglasses to those in need. Just like donating coats in the winter is a big service initiative, the donation of glasses should be as well. From there, people in Kenya for example could go and try on glasses to see if their vision is at all improved. I also propose that in these developing countries, jobs should be created that enable individuals that need visual aid to do productive work. There are many jobs that don’t necessarily require individuals to use their eyesight heavily. For this to be effective, there would first need to be an assessment to see how visually impaired a person is and whether they are unable to see up close, far away, or both. The assessment would also evaluate other skills or interests the individual has. From there, there would need to be a committee of people that would be in charge of placing that individual in an occupation that suits their visual needs. The presence of this committee would also create more jobs. I suggest that the job responsibilities that normally just one person possesses, would be split between more than one person. For example, for a travel consultant, one person would be in charge of the legal documents or computer research. This person would possess normal eyesight. This person would explain this information to a person with weak eyesight. The individual with weak eyesight would be in charge of making phones calls or meetings with people about vacations and tours. This would overall generate more jobs. I think that by creating more jobs for those who need visual aid, they may eventually gain enough money to travel to an optometrist. I also suggest that there be programs in place to teach individuals with weak eyesight ways to use their other senses or skill sets in the workplace and also how to navigate life outside of work as well. For example, in the program it would suggest that those with weaker eyesight should avoid ever traveling alone and especially not explore places they have never been before. I would also want to start an organization that raises money for individuals to visit optometrists in other countries. Lastly, I would like to put in place transportation programs. After those with weaker eyesight have been evaluated, they would be provided transportation services to get to work and back. This would also overall generate more jobs in the transportation area. In order for all of these programs to be established, of course fundraising would need to occur. I believe that the establishment of these programs could possibly combat this issue.