Monthly Archives: May 2012

Are we making a difference?

In 2000, the formation of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) sparked numerous campaigns to reduce extreme poverty by 2015. Organisations around the globe came up with innovative ways to address our most pressing social problem. The question we ask – Has the last 12 years produced any significant changes?

Let’s take a look at some of the major global campaigns developed to fight poverty. Often new media savvy and with the added clout of celebrity involvement, the following campaigns tapped into our social consciousness to make us aware of extreme poverty. Here’s some background info from their websites:

ONE is a grassroots advocacy and campaigning organization that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa, by raising public awareness and pressuring political leaders to support smart and effective policies and programs that are saving lives, helping to put kids in school and improving futures.

Every year for three days across the globe, events are organized of all types to bring attention to the worldwide crisis that we all face — poverty.

2005 is a year for campaigners to remember. They were part of the biggest ever anti-poverty movement and in doing so they made history. The fight against poverty continues and the passion, energy and momentum of 2005 will fuel future campaigning for the years to come. The call to MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY has inspired a generation.

In the fight to eliminate AIDS, 2015 could be the beginning of the end – it’s the year we can deliver an AIDS free generation. When you do the (RED) thing, a (RED) partner will give up some of its profits to fight AIDS .

Interesting article about the (RED) campaign using social media effectively here

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Posted by on May 31, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Top 50 documentaries from the last decade

Lists. Contentious pieces of information they are. Once again, this list from the Documentary Blog ( is sure to start a debate.

This time it regards the Top 50 documentaries from the last decade. Despite your tastes, this comprehensive list (with useful links) is a great effort to curate some of the best documentaries out there.

Click here for the list or have a look at Paste Magazine’s list of the Top 25 documentaries from 2000 – 2009.

Disagree? Then share your opinion with us.

Image from Paste Magazine

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Posted by on May 23, 2012 in Uncategorized


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The Best of East London [Report]

In 2011, Steps conducted a Training of Facilitators (TOF) workshop to various organisations about the use of film as an educational tool.

Two facilitators from Sophumelela Centre in East London not only liked the methodology but decided to intergrate in it in their outreach programme.The results have been fascinating. The use of film has significantly improved their programme and has made communicating difficult issues with the youth more manageable.

Under the guidance of a trained facilitator, the films have started a dialogue among young people on issues regarding peer pressure. The Steps films have been screened in communities such as Mdantsane, Duncan Village and others. The response from the schools reached has been overwhelming, not only from the learners, but the Life Orientation teachers that saw the films too.
After the screenings the participation from the audience was interactive and engaging. SMTs (School Management Teams) heartily embraced the concept. HODs (Head of Departments) at Sandisiwe High School in Mdantsane shared that it would have been great if we could screen the films to the whole school as all learners are desperately in need of such information from such interventions.

Young women at the Young Women’s Residence in Southernwood, East London, were very excited when the team from Sophumelela made a return visit after having been there earlier this year. During the screening, a few of them asked their boyfriends (who had come to visit) to stay for the screening and participate in the discussions. The manager at the residence extended the invitation to come again whenever possible to engage their young women on critical life issues.

The team was later presented with a newsletter that featured two testimonies by ladies that were involved in the screening of the film THREE AND A HALF LIVES OF PHILLIP WETU. The young ladies shared how great and informative the film was, and how it assisted them to make better choices as young people.

During these screenings in and around East London, 582 boys and girls from in and out-of-school as well as university students were reached.

Report prepared by Elaine Maane, Steps Outreach

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Posted by on May 22, 2012 in Uncategorized


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What makes a leader?

We all have different ideas about what makes a good leader. Charismatic, strong willed and brave are just a few characteristics bundled together with caring, authoritative and knowledgeable to create what we imagine a leader should possess.

But why are these traits apparent in some and not others? How do some people manage to exert influence – good or bad – on others? Are people born leaders or can it be taught?

Here are a few videos on the topic that might help us understand a bit more. Click on the titles to take you through to the videos.

Afravision Leaders series

Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action

Iron Ladies of Liberia

Image from Enjoyourmoments blog

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Posted by on May 20, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Documentary Workshops in Cape Town, South Africa

Good news for documentary filmmakers looking to expand their skills. Barefoot Workshops, a New York based NGO, is hosting a filmmaking workshop in the Mother City from 11 November – 2 December, 2012.

Another workshop to look forward to, is at Encounters. This long-standing film festival takes place in Cape Town and Johannesburg from 7 – 24 June, 2012 and has a range of workshops, seminars and masterclasses for filmmakers to attend. Make sure you visit our website regularly for more information regarding film festivals near you.

These workshops are pitched at filmmakers with various levels of training. Barefoot’s workshops teach attendees a range of skills; from filming to editing to photography. They state:

“Past participants have included new and established filmmakers, writers, journalists, artists, photographers, graphic designers, theater actors and directors, musicians, educators and non profit organizations. Previous experience with filmmaking is NOT required. Producers, cinematographers, editors and writers with narrative experience who are considering working in non-fiction filmmaking are also encouraged to enroll. Photojournalists and print journalists who are looking to make the move to video journalism should strongly consider this workshop.”

More information can be found here

Image from Everythinginbudget

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Posted by on May 18, 2012 in Uncategorized


4 Documentary Series You Must Watch

Documentary films fill an important space in the media landscape. Informative and engaging, they turn pressing social issues into visual reflections of society.

Fitting a multifaceted issue into 90 minutes is not easy, but this is where a documentary series is most effective. Creating a number of films on the same topic but with different viewpoints is challenging but also rewarding.

This approach has been adopted by STEPS and has provided remarkable results. Creating projects on our most pressing social issues (HIV/Aids, Democracy, Environmental Change and Poverty) has given a fresh insight into important topics. The films are from all over the world and while they show how diverse we are, they also show how we all face the same challenges.

These four series have used the Internet in an intelligent and informative manner, spreading their message to a global audience.

1. Urban Survivors
Urban Survivors is a multimedia project by Doctors Without Borders/ Medicines Sans Frontieres (MSF) in collaboration with the Noor photo agency and Darjeeling Productions, highlighting the critical humanitarian and medical needs that exist in slums the world over

2. Women, War and Peace documentary shorts
The series reveals how the post-Cold War proliferation of small arms has changed the landscape of war, with women becoming primary targets and suffering unprecedented casualties. Yet they are simultaneously emerging as necessary partners in brokering lasting peace and as leaders in forging new international laws governing conflict. Featuring narrators Matt Damon, Tilda Swinton, Geena Davis and Alfre Woodard,Women, War & Peace is the most comprehensive global media initiative ever mounted on the roles of women in war and peace.

3. New York Close Up
New York Close Up is Art21’s documentary film series devoted to artists in the first decade of their professional career, living and working in New York City. This innovative project provides an intimate look at the next wave of artists—artists close up. Structured as an open-ended cinematic collaboration, Art21 (a nonprofit based in New York) is partnering with local artists to imagine new ways of telling stories about their creative process, political and aesthetic philosophies, personal backgrounds, and community perspectives.

4. Why Poverty?
Lastly, Steps International’s Why Poverty? is building on the unprecedented success of Why Democracy?

Why Poverty? creates an international partnership with broadcasters, NGOs, institutions and concerned citizens around the world. Broadcasting in late 2012, it is designed to reach the largest possible global audience – using every available platform and a massive outreach campaign.

Image from the Why Poverrty? Storytent Initiative 

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Posted by on May 14, 2012 in Uncategorized


Engaging the Youth

Scalabrini, in partnership with Steps, is coordinating the Unite as One project which facilitates film screenings in various schools in the Western Cape.

The project’s initial screenings kicked off in De Doorns, a picturesque town in the Southern Cape where Scalabrini, with mentorship support from Steps, is engaging young audiences about important social issues.

The first screening, held at Hex Vallei, was to Grade 11 pupils at a predominantly Afrikaans speaking school. The screening was attended by 36 learners, both male and female, which included Xhosa speaking learners

The screening marked the beginning of the 40 screenings scheduled as part of the Unite as One project with the purpose to engage learners on the subject of “diversity”. This six-month project is due to end in September 2012. The film screenings are part of other activities planned during the six months.

The Steps film, Kwerekwere, will be used to initiate the project in all the schools. The film was filmed at Maitland High School, by youth wanting to gather information among learners about their views and
perceptions of each other.

The Screenings

The screening at Hex Vallei was received well. To start off the discussion, the facilitator asked learners if the type of music they listened to was part of what identifies them. The mention of music made the screening more conducive to sharing as several hands flung up to indicate what sort of music they enjoy most.

It was clear in the discussion that young people defined culture to be part of what adds to their diversity particularly due to the genres they listen to, namely:

• House

• Kwaito

• R&B

• Rap etc.

As the discussion was being summarized, learners at Hex Vallei indicated that they were not bothered by the presence of foreign nationals in their communities. The learners seemed to be accepting of the diversity in the farming community.

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Posted by on May 9, 2012 in Uncategorized