Bringing WEEMA's Stories Into Focus

 Mary Olive filming at one of WEEMA’S Beekeeping Cooperative programs.

Mary Olive filming at one of WEEMA’S Beekeeping Cooperative programs.

As we announced earlier this summer, we've engaged Emmy award-winning director, producer, and cinematographer, Mary Olive Smith, to create a series of videos about WEEMA's programs and their impact within communities.

In October, Mary Olive traveled with the WEEMA team to Kembata-Tembaro to film stories highlighting some of WEEMA’s core values: inclusion of women and marginalized individuals, holistic development, and sustainable programs in partnership with local government.

We're looking forward to sharing these videos with you soon, but in the meantime, we've asked Mary Olive to share some of her reflections on her trip: 

"This trip was my 13th time filming in Africa, but in all my travels I’ve never witnessed such an impactful program, lifting up an entire community on so many levels. What stood out to me most is how WEEMA gives people the resources they need to find their own solutions to the challenges of poverty."

 Mary Olive filming WEEMA's mHealth project

Mary Olive filming WEEMA's mHealth project

“Part of the excitement of making documentaries is not knowing exactly what to expect, but my trip to film WEEMA’s work was incredibly satisfying. Our plans to capture the experiences and voices of people in ten different WEEMA initiatives seemed ambitious. But from our first day of filming to our last, every person we interviewed and every scene we captured told the story of how people’s lives were improving -- not by what they were receiving but instead through the active role they were playing to bring about change.

My favorite shoot took place with the Masino women’s self-help group. After filming the dancing and group meeting, we followed the women to the hillsides and watched as they worked together weeding their crops. They were self-empowered, proud and hopeful. The cool air and lush and verdant landscapes added to the sense of hope I felt. I could envision returning in 30 years and smiling at the transformation I would see."