oo5. Philosophy of Engagement

Personally, I am very interested in collages and layouts. Ever since I was a child, I’ve always loved arts and crafts. I loved the physical action of moving things around to look at the bigger picture of all potential final results. Sometimes I would take a minimalistic approach with perfect, neat lines and shapes. Other times, I would take the more chaotic route where there is no white space available. I’ve never understood how to find the middle ground between the two styles until now. As I create my weekly bullet journal layouts, I use a minimalistic approach but forego the straight lines. If I mess up, I adapt and work around the mistake. If I hit a brick wall where my ideas stop flowing, I start to draw random lines. I doodle aimlessly until something appears in my mind. I think I can apply this approach to the Safe Motherhood project when drafting the narrative. Sometimes, I will want to make the storyline grand and other times, I will want to make it minimalistic. I don’t know what parts I will make which way but I do know that when I approach the brick wall, I won’t be giving up. I’ll just throw out random ideas or try to draw lines between existing ideas. Designing requires flexibility and adaptibility and I believe that I have that.

I will validate my¬†project by getting a variety of perspectives through the interviews we conduct on site. It’s important that we do not try to interpret things ourselves and create a narrative that is based on our American/western point of view. It’s essential that we give the stakeholders in Sierra Leone a voice that is prominent throughout the documentary. It is important that when this film is completed, it can change the way people view the Sierra Leone community. It is easy to have a perception of people in Africa being poor and helpless charity cases who are in dire need of western help. I hope that with this documentary, we can show that Sierra Leone has a resilient community. I want this film to preserve their dignity and show that they are innovative and intelligent people who should be respected and viewed no less than what they are. Additionally, technologically speaking, I hope to learn and sharpen my camera skills so that the documentary does not come out lousy and half-assed. Quality and aesthetics are the first steps to making an impression before a message can get across. If the camera work is messy and the film looks inconsistent and blurry, no one will want to watch. I also believe that the quality of a piece of work reflects on how committed I am to getting Sierra Leonean voices heard. Therefore, I hope to work well with my team to start the creation of a high-quality documentary.

As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, my goal is to give people a voice. In whatever I do, I want to make sure that I work in a collaborative environment where everyone has a chance to voice their thoughts and suggestions. I do not wish to establish a hierarchy of who’s “better” because I believe everyone has the potential to be the best in their own ways. I don’t want to belittle anyone or make them feel less than what they are. But I do want to encourage and give a kickstarting push to those who need it. Throughout my life, I learned that giving me the answer before I am given the chance to attempt it myself is both inefficient and ineffective. My mentors understood this and encouraged me to give it a try first. They gave me a voice. And that’s what I want to do as a social entrepreneur. I do this work in an attempt to exchange¬†knowledge and practices. I do this fully knowing that there are bound to be a difference, but also that that does not suggest that one is right or wrong. I don’t go in as an expert or someone with the hand of God. Rather, I engage with communities, partners, and markets hoping to get a learning experience out of it.

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