GSIF Post 8

List five compelling take-aways from the Art of the Start. 2. Articulate your value propositions for your diverse customer segments.

Five takeaways from art of the start:

The best reason to start a company is to create meaning
It is important to prioritize value over the price of a product, that is what makes it unique
Engaging with the people on the ground makes more of an impact than impressing those at the top
Using a mantra can make a pitch short, memorable, and unique
Keep it simple

Our Value Proposition
For mothers in Sierra Leone who are not aware of what resources they have access to, our educational video campaign brings awareness to resources near them while recruiting more healthcare workers.

GSIF Post 7

  1. Summarize and report out on the results of the SKS exercise. 2. Develop a detailed Collaboration Plan for your team clearly articulating your Goals (Small g and Big G), Roles,Procedures, and Relationships.


During last Tuesday’s class, our group brainstormed six goals that we would like to work on for the rest of this semester. We would like to start organizing video footage by category and creating a deadline calendar for better long term management. We want to continue to maintain the balance of our own work and group work delegation while creating shorts to push to the public. Some of our habits that we will stop is improving on the go communication and looking to make content over perfection, especially now that everything is remote/


These goals are a mix of small and large objectives, and we broke them down even further to make them more attainable. Our team is very organized, but we want to improve the rate of which we work through setting up more measures of accountability. Now that everything is remote, it is more important than ever to establish expectations and meet them. 


Our team wants to start creating 30 second shorts to continue our educational campaign, with the overarching goal of educating the people of Sierra Leone about how to access maternal healthcare resources. Another small goal we have that translates into a bigger goal is improving our editing expertise in wake of crafting a longer 90 minute piece. 

The editors of our team are more focused on creating material, while our marketing experts will help with the dissemination and creation of a network. These are currently the two biggest roles in our team, and we have a very interconnected experience with them. People in our group have multiple hats to wear, so it is important when delegating these tasks that we clearly communicate what needs to be done. 

GSIF Post 6

Does your work require IRB approvals? If Yes, articulate your detailed IRB strategy. If No, explain why you don’t need IRB approval and identify situations when you might need IRB approval. 


No, our work is considered to be journalism, and the film we make is very unique to the subjects we cover. So, it does not contain any generalizable knowledge and t does not involve any scientific research. Therefore, we probably will not need any IRB approval. However, we are still considering some forms of data collection as a measure of impact so it is possible we may need approval, just not this year.


Develop an outline for your mid-semester presentations. What supporting evidence will you provide for each point? How will you boost your credibility every step of the way?


We will open with an introduction – who our team is, our credentials, and why we are here. Then, we will create context behind our project by discussing the problem we are addressing. We will demonstrate the need for our project through data on the maternal mortality rate and information on the infrastructure of Sierra Leone. After, we will introduce the specifics behind our project. We will discuss the timeline specifics, the measurables, and our plans going forward. 

Since our film is an art project, it is imperative that we demonstrate its impact. Often, art can be seen as too abstract to make direct change. However, documentaries can make a wide impact through education, awareness, and community voice. To assert this claim’s validity we will draw from outside research and other examples of films that make a difference. Then, we will demonstrate the similarities between these and what we are doing with our film. This will enhance our credibility by comparing our project with established sources of impact and showing what commonalities we share. Furthermore, we will show with our timeline along with our outline of production (a visual for how a film gets made) that we have a system in place for how we are approaching filmmaking. 

I think that this is all we will be able to fit into five minutes, but everyone on our team will be prepared to answer questions from the panel after. Currently, this is our plan to present but it is still in the development phase.

GSIF Post 5

  1. List ten things that make you feel human. 


  1. A morning routine – every day I spend at least an hour by myself getting ready. This is extremely important to me because I have days where this is my only hour of relaxation. So, I like to start my day by “becoming” a human and drinking my coffee while listening to music as I slowly wake up.
  2. Exercise – This also an act of self-care, but I really like intense forms of exercise. I have played competitive soccer almost all my life and I am a mountaineer. I find that when I push my limits physically I understand how far I can go and appreciate all that my body can do.
  3. Compassion – nothing makes me feel more human than socializing and empathizing. I just think that part of being a human is being around other humans- it’s how we were built. In being able to relate to others, you find more of yourself.
  4. Complete Isolation – As much as I love people, I also love being by myself. Giving myself space to just “be” helps me explore my thoughts and emotions more. Sometimes the world is a very busy place for me and I need to process in order to maintain myself despite the fluctuations around me.
  5. ART – First of all, art is the most human creation there has ever been. Art is an outlet of expression for humanity. It is how we make the darkest stories bearable to share and how we connect across lines that typically divide. I find that art makes me feel human by connecting me to the humanity of others. 
  6. Getting sleep – I have never taken for granted the impact of a good night’s sleep. I need enough sleep in order to feel human – I learned this the hard way in high school when I had insomnia. That experience made me irate and anxious, so now I never compromise my eight-hour sleep requirement.
  7. A nutritious diet – I was brought up to believe that what you put into your body deeply affects how you feel on the day-to-day. I have the privilege to access healthy, unprocessed food options and eat well-rounded meals. This ability gives me the opportunity to feel more human – I try to eat as organic as possible on a college student budget. 
  8. Authentic choice – Honestly, this is something that I don’t even have yet. This is one of those ideals I like to keep in mind when picking from the options I am given in life. Most of the choices we make are allotted to us by the powers that be, and it is easy to accept what is given as “freedom.” So, in order to be human one must be in touch with what they really want and unafraid to make a choice that is not advertised to them. 
  9. Accepting contradiction – Being a human means that we are not a binary creature. Often, I have beliefs that contradict one another and I feel conflicted in my beliefs. I find that by accepting contradiction is in my nature, I am validated to explore the two values as coexisting ideas instead of combative principles. This gives me more freedom of thought because it allows me to see the world as more complex than black and white.
  10. Pursuing joy – As cliche as it is, this statement repeats for a reason. Feeling human is really hard to live with sometimes, it can be an experience filled with pitfalls and pain. However, joy is something I find breeds resilience in life. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu put it, “Yet as we discover more joy, we can face suffering in a way that ennobles rather than embitters. We have hardship without becoming hard. We have heartbreak without being broken.”


  1. Articulate your philosophy of engagement as it pertains to your work with the GSIF / LVSIF. Specifically, discuss 1. Why should I engage? 2. How must I engage? 3. With whom must I engage? 4. What kinds of challenges, opportunities, and approaches should I care about? 5. What might my epitaph read?


When thinking about the reasons behind my work and the motives that have brought me to this opportunity, it is very important that I take into account my past circumstances and the philosophies I was raised in. I was raised in an environment that sought out truths – my mother is a journalist and my father is an accountant. Most of my mother’s work involved finding moral discrepancies in her environment while my father seeks to create numerical models for sustaining a comfortable life. 

Here at Lehigh, I incorporate these lessons my parents taught me and I think I bring many of their ideas to GSIF with a twist of my own. This fellowship gives me the opportunity to tell a story, and the coverage we are doing involves institutions as well as individuals. This lets me interact with people and gain a compassionate understanding of my project but gives me the opportunity to look at the maternal mortality crisis through an institutional perspective. I can balance empathy and analytics in my approach. To me, the Mothers of Sierra Leone project provides the opportunity to use art to engage with a community in a meaningful and measurable way. 

Right now, my level of engagement is relatively low – I am focused on my project but I don’t have as much awareness about the place quite yet. So, I try to supplement myself with outside readings to learn more about Sierra Leone – from politics and health journals to watching interview footage. But reading can only take me so far. When I get there I would like to think in questions and talk to anyone willing around me. I find that the best method of engagement (for me) is through conversational learning. I am a people person so the more people I interact with, the more I will learn.

I deeply care about collaborating with subjects and giving them autonomy in my films. I have been taught that ethical films tell the most accurate stories because they give a voice to the subject on and off-screen. Filmmaking is a very meticulous craft and small creative choices compound into a larger narrative. So, I like to ask my subjects for advice throughout the whole process. Overall, my philosophy is to balance the facts and the feelings while giving my subjects an empowering platform to use.

Blog Post 4

1)Based on your life experience, skills and interests what would a design process that is both uniquely yours and effective 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.


  1. *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 number 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 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

Recently, I was out on a hike with a friend. As we were walking down the trail we began to talk about anything and everything – the changing weather, the differences between the coasts, and all of the strange mysteries on this planet. During our walk, he brought up something completely new to me – oceans in ur ocean. Apparently, there is a deep-sea phenomenon where brine lakes form under the ocean because they have higher salinity levels than the surrounding water. The brine lakes hold thousands of small creatures and fish dive into the lake to eat them. However, they must dart quickly because the lake is poisonous to them and can cause as much harm as it can sustain their livelihood. 


Another fun little tidbit of knowledge I learned recently was how Walmart has a monopoly on gas prices in Arkansas because they sell the cheapest gas. Apparently, they can afford to have a very low price because they are such a large entity. So, they undercharge and get the most customers, while their competitors cannot afford to lower their prices as drastically.

Another concept I have been introduced to recently is how to collect data. I have an internship with the Bethlehem School District, and I have been tasked with creating a method to collect data that can reinforce our claim regarding the lack of digital access within the community. I have always been interested in the process of education reform, but I have never realized that it required such a scientific approach. So, I am learning how to create a data collection structure in the community so we can gain a more accurate understanding of the problem. I have started this a week ago and my supervisor has been pushing me to consider every point of access – language, location, and target demographic. This is an entirely new experience in regards to policymaking, and I am learning a lot on the go.



Logic Model and Priority Questions

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 the 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?


Input Output Outcome Stakeholders
  • Time
  • Camera and Sound Equipment
  • Relationships with Subjects
  • Research
  • Community Partnerships
  • More people going to clinics and hospitals
  • Views on film
  • Increase in nurses, doctors, and midwives
  • Number of screenings/Number of (film festivals, the African Narrative)places screened
  • Proceeds Generated towards community partners
  • More medical resources
  • PR
  • Lower maternal mortality rate
  • More funded healthcare system
  • More trust between community and western medicine
  • Go viral→ “media impact is demonstrated when people are talking about the issue of the film even when they have not seen the film.” 
  • Midwifery
  • Mothers in Sierra Leone
  • Surgical School

Post 2

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


From what I have gathered during our last lecture, there is a different emphasis on time in Sierra Leone. I am used to the hustling, bustling world where time is money so you cannot waste it. This approach has led me to live a very structured, scheduled life where I know what I am doing every minute of the day. However, it seems that SIerra Leone may be different. From what  have learned it is much more relaxed and laid back. People think of time as more circular and infinite whereas western culture has enforced my perception of time as something finite and measurable. So, when Kanjan gave his example in class of his lecture being scheduled at 1 PM and people showing up at 2:30 PM, I was a bit taken aback. Here, some people would take offense, however the concept of time is just seen differently.

Another cultural issue I need to be mindful of is religion. I grew up in a very liberal, agnostic environment where my religious views did not dictate much of my lifestyle. However, the majority of people in Sierra Leone are muslim, with a high population of Sunni Muslims. I think that this difference in culture isn’t really an issue, however navigating the society of Sierra Leone is something I need to be mindful about. I cannot be as loud about bodily issues as I am here or as uncensored with my language. So when I go out into the field I need to be aware of how I carry myself in order to respect the community I am working with.

However, my main concern of what will affect the project is how women are treated in Sierra Leone. Women have extremely limited reproductive rights. In fact, women could be forced into marriage without consent until 2007. This will be hard to navigate coming from a country with progressive women’s rights – I need to be careful not to control the narrative of my project and create a biased story surrounding this. THis is imperative because I am working on the Safe Motherhood project – a documentary focusing on the initiatives being taken to improve the maternal mortality rate. Most of the subjects I work with will have firsthand experience with this area of oppression, so I must be mindful when navigating my topics. 

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


Growing up, I lived in a very diverse environment surrounded by people from every walk of life. One of my friends was from Palestine and in eighth grade, she told me that she was in an arranged marriage since elementary school. Now, she was not married but she was already promised to a boy our age that was the son of her parent’s friends. This was a shock to me, but she was okay with it so I was okay with it. I think this situation resonates with the cultural differences I will be experiencing on site – it is not my job to enforce my beliefs on the lives of others. 

Or in terms of censoring myself a bit, when I visit my grandparents I have to tone it down. They are very kind, conservative people that don’t really appreciate it when I am outspoken about the things we disagree on. Sometimes, it is best not to talk politics on Thanksgiving – out of respect for the people around me. 

Lastly, I have many friends that view time differently than me. Sometimes I will make plans and they don’t come through until hours after they were supposed to. As much as it drives me crazy to be late, I have started to learn that there is no reason to rush for most things. Time will continue and I will live on, I will just have to make say things are an hour before they actually start.

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

One networking tool in SIerra Leone is Whatsapp – it is the primary communication source. Currently, my team is looking to use it for a part of our marketing campaign because of how accessible and popular it is.

Another wonderful cultural practice is the Midwives of Sierra Leone. We have already covered a local midwifery school, but if we were able to document the life of a midwife by following them throughout their day, it would be an interesting way to show how one community member can have such a big impact. 

Also, by implementing more contraceptive health and family planning services in schools, the education system of Sierra Leone can help lower the maternal mortality rate. This may be a bit harder to do considering how controversial it would be, but it could make a hige difference.

GSIF Post 1


I enrolled in this course because I have a genuine interest to make films that matter. This past semester, I started exploring filmmaking – the techniques, styles and ethics behind it all. I took a class at Lafayette and it changed my academic course. Also, I have always had an interest in journalism. This past year I wrote for a newspaper covering the civic governance of the Southside community. In high school, I wrote for my school newspaper. I have always loved to write and I have always wanted to film. So, when I heard about the Safe Motherhood project I was genuinely over the moon to hear there was an opportunity like this at my school. First of all, I have a passion for community building. I work as a CSO officer, which means I interact heavily with the community partners on the Southside. Coming from Oakland, I have witnessed a lot of unnecessary disparity that was extremely deep rooted in the education system. I went to a school that always fought because they always had to fight for the basics – printers, paper, and the wages of teachers. We would strike or walkout, sometimes marching to city hall if it came down to that. So when I came to Lehigh, I still wanted to be involved in the world around me. It started with the CSO but with the GSIF I have the opportunity to be even more involved in the world. 


One thing that was discussed that really resonated with me was how this fellowship is going to push my boundaries outside of the classroom. Traditionally, I have been taught to listen to what I am told and do what I am supposed to. This model of authority based learning has followed me throughout my education – from elementary school to college. I am used to taking notes on what my professor in front of the class says. So, when the students mentioned how the majority of their work is independently structured I was beyond excited. Right now, I feel stagnant in my academics. I am getting tired of only soaking in what I am told and I look forward to learning more from the world around me. For example, during the panel there was a question asked about how to respectfully interact with the residents from Sierra Leone, and the panel agreed that the best thing they did was ask questions. We are learning from each other with every step of this process, not looking to be guided by our advisors. I have just started being exposed to this framework of learning, and I have a ways to go before I see my professor as my peer. So, this class will help me be a better student by pushing me to think for myself and learn from the people around me.


There is actually an eye care hospital in India that uses a philanthropic business model to meet the needs of people while making a marginally positive profit. This model, created by Dr. G. Venkataswamy, allows further access to affordable eye care in regions that have high rates of cataracts. Cataracts have become an epidemic in India, despite how easy it is to treat and prevent them with modern medicine. IIt is all too common for people in the regions Dr. V works with to have never received professional eye care their whole life. In fact, 75% of eye care cases in India are considered avoidable. The extreme poverty creates financial boundaries that prevent people from seeking preventative care and treatment and oftentimes communities go their whole life without realizing that this condition is treatable. There is a lack of treatment and a lack of awareness regarding eye care which means that proper eye care, even if financially accessible, is not always taken advantage of. So Dr. V charges regular patients a reasonable price which sponsors two free eye treatments for his clinic patients. Furthermore, his pop up clinics cater to the communities that need it most by being fairly mobile and moving from town to town. This business model has proven to be extremely successful. It allowed Dr. V to open up his own lense production factory above his clinic, creating eyeglasses for eight dollars apiece and distributing them to nearby clinics. This vertical production strategy lowers the cost of production and increases the rate of distribution. So, I propose that Lehigh partners with Aravind Eye Care Systems to send students interested in ophthalmology to India to learn more about this business practice and work with Dr. V’s team to expand his realm of influence. Maybe, with the help of interdisciplinary collaboration and Lehigh funding, Aravind Eye Care can bring its mission statement to other medically isolated communities in other parts of the world.