Two Award-Winning Documentaries Explore the Challenges of Growing Up Female in Rural Africa

25 Juin 2007
Author: UNFPA

UNITED NATIONS, New York — Two award-winning films produced with the support of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, underscore the challenges faced by girls growing up in two different parts of rural Africa. They also highlight the effect of harmful traditional practices such as child marriage and female genital mutilation/cutting, and the importance of education in helping girls achieve their full potential.

"Child Brides in Ethiopia," has been voted the Best Feature in the CNN International World Report Awards. The film, directed by Andi Gitow, explores the life of 12-year-old Saraye Todese, who always thought she'd be in school at her age. But instead she was forced to marry, tend house for and be intimate with a man she had never before met. 

In her region of northern Ethiopia, 40 per cent of girls of married by age 15, and one in five girls before the age of 10. This effectively robs them of the fundamental right to make their own choices and often puts them at risk of death or injury from too-early childbearing. A recent feature story documents some of the ways UNFPA is working with communities in the region to keep girls in school.

“Kakenya: Against All Odds" has received the Silver Award in the best short film category in a contest sponsored by the Media Communications Association and the UN Department of Public Information.

The film, directed by Mallory Gelb for Rockhopper Productions, was selected from over 200 submissions screened at a two-day festival. The video documents the extraordinary journey of a Masai girl from her remote village in Kenya to graduate school in the United States. Kakenya is now studying education with the goal of returning to her village and making sure that more girls have the opportunity to go on to college. Her story is also documented in Moving Young, the Youth Supplement to the 2006 State of World Population report.

These, and hundreds of other videos from every region of the world, including Too Brief a Child, can be viewed in the UNFPA Online Video Channel.

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