It’s been far too long since I shared news from YWI Headquarters. I was on the road in Africa in January and February, following five new inventors with camera teams in Kenya and Tanzania. Cameraman Abisae Maeda from the Kiliimanjaro Film Institute shot with Jodie Wu and with her best solar sales woman, Upendo. KFI are our partners in a village invention series we hope to produce Tanzania. Our first story there, “Village Innovation Opens Minds,” (below) stars our own Bernard Kiwia, whom we have filmed since 2011.
We partnered with Land O’Lakes International/USAID to do this story and bumped fiercely across potholed roads for three days with the LO’L team to learn that women who can’t read can become inventors in months, with the right coaches (Bernard and Noela). Then we went to Rwanda to meet the visionaries at GirlHub. We plan to find new stories with their guidance in September. We want to train a shooting team there and make a deal with TELE10, the newest TV station in Rwanda, who say they want to broadcast our stories. Finally, we expanded our production team in Nairobi, Kenya to include Pete Murimi and Elijah Kanyi. Elijah will come with us again to shoot updates on Cyrus and Payan in September/October.
I came home to Boston in March to look at footage and hire a stellar edit team and web producer. Now we are looking at content and story arcs and planning where to expand stories and which media partners to develop this fall. Ta-dah!
And for this very week, we have breaking news! More on that later…
Thanks to our new team (a few pictured L-R): Austin Corbett, Bill Cotter, and Jack LeMay, who have redesigned our website and shaped five new videos from the new inventors we met — all since May. A resounding shout out to Michele Meek (not pictured), Director of NewEnglandFilm.com, our web design consultant; she’s the Queen of WordPress!
Between Austin and Bill is Lucia Small, YWI’s trusty story consultant. When not at YWI, she is releasing (with Austin and Bill’s help), her new documentary, “One Cut, One Life,” to rave reviews in N.C., Boston, Woods Hole and New York, so far. Next to Jack & Lucia is me: Diane! (Signe was in Vermont that day, and Elijah and Abisae, in East Africa.)
I’ll be packing my bags for Africa in a few weeks to shoot new chapters with Cyrus, Payan, Jodie, Bernard, Sam, and Henri and to seek several new stories of girls in Rwanda finding their futures, through our friends at GirlHub, Africa Entrepreneurs Collective and The Office in Kigali, Rwanda.
Stay tuned for new news on Friday we are excited about here at HQ! Check in again.
And it DOES take a village to do all these fun things, so if you have a curious interest, share your thoughts with us, and sign up for our newsletter.