Book a Free Video Consult

16 Documentary-Style Gender Videos for International Development Stories

So, you’re tasked with producing a video highlighting a great project overseas. The project is empowering women. What’s the best way to tell the story?

Dorst MediaWorks has produced gender videos for a range of clients, including the World Bank Group, the USDA, IESC, the IMF, MIGA, PIR, WRI’s Ross Center, and USAID.  Along the way, we’ve come up with some thoughts about what works—and what doesn’t.

First, check out our Washington DC Gender Video Production page, which contains 16 documentary-style gender videos we’ve produced lately—in Haiti, Ghana, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Lebanon, Brazil, the Philippines, Malawi, and India.

The first thing you’ll notice is we’re not scared of foreign languages. Our video production in Haiti is chock full of Creole, Hala’s story in Lebanon is all Arabic, and in the Philippines video, you’ll hear Tagalog. Of course, we master to English captions, but for the stories to be enduring and credible, viewers need to hear the voices of project beneficiaries. These women need to tell their own stories. And the video needs to make a personal connection.

1. Washington DC Video Production Services: SWaCH (Ross Prize Finalist)

SWaCH Pune Seva Sahakari Sanstha is a member-owned cooperative for waste pickers that is helping to clean up the streets of Pune, India. Our protagonist, Pinky Sonawane, speaks Marathi. She’s gone from being disrespected to working for the city, recycling, and earning more income than her husband! Yet, her world is so different from ours in so many ways: she lives in a slum, speaks a different language, bobble-nods her head “no” when she means “yes” … how do you make that connection? We elected to show her peers, then Pinky’s work setting, and then her family situation. By the end of the video, when we see Pinky welcoming her children home from school, it’s a recognizable moment. We’ve all either welcomed our children home or been welcomed home. In the span of 4 minutes, we’ve gotten to know Pinky and understand how her life has improved. This is the power of documentary-style video production, and why documentary is often the best solution for gender video production around the world.

2. Washington DC USAID Video Production Services: Haiti Private Sector Development

This is the story of USAID’s efforts to spur Haiti’s private sector. We see through the eyes of one factory employee, Hermine, who is one step closer to her dream of owning a home and providing a solid education for her son. How does Dorst MediaWorks tell the story? Compared to Pinky’s story above, we went a different direction, starting at Hermine’s home. The first frame is a stunning aerial shot at dawn over one of Port-au-Prince’s dense slums. In this context, we hear a rooster (added in post-production) and see Hermine and her son moving around their tiny shack in the half-light. A little color correction helps give the impression that all this takes place very early in the day. Before Hermine says a word, we have a strong sense of place and point of view (which only documentary style can provide). Despite the fact that they are living in poverty, their morning ritual is recognizable. And when Hermine walks her son (we don’t name him for privacy reasons) out the door for school and she says in her native Creole, “He’s always wanted to be a doctor,” we connect with this aspiration. As a parent, I also connect with this strong desire to help your child’s dreams come true. From here on, we are rooting for Hermine to succeed at her job, which she does thanks to USAID’s investments that have helped her company grow.

3. Washington DC USAID Video Production Services: Ghana & the Global Shea Alliance

This is the story of USAID’s work with the Global Shea Alliance to help 16 million women from 21 African countries to collect, harvest and sell shea products and thus earn more income. Rita Dampson is our protagonist, who works with shea collectors and processors in rural Ghana. How does Dorst MediaWorks tell the story? To an outsider, Rita (the entrepreneur) seems very similar to the village women. So we wanted to give the viewer a chance to bond with Rita and see life from her perspective to start the video out. So we made it a journey, filming her POV in the jeep, then as she greets all her acolytes. Our camerawork highlights that it is her story — filming over her shoulder, following her as she walks. Perspective is key, as is always keeping in mind what your target audience knows or doesn’t know.

4. Washington DC Government Video Production Services: “Mary’s Story,” Millennium Challenge Corporation Malawi

This is the story of Mary’s new business and her improved quality of life. It’s also the story of how the Millennium Challenge Corporation helped Malawian women in river communities develop new economic opportunities that also protect the rivers that power 90% of the country’s electricity.

5. Washington DC Sustainable Development Video: Empowering Women Farmers

After the war, Afghan farmers — particularly women farmers — were getting virtually no support from the government. This is the story of how the Afghan Ministry of Agriculture improves how it does business, which helps farmers, spurs the economy, and contributes to stability. This is a USDA program named CBCMP (Capacity Building and Change Management) that is uniquely effective.

6. Washington DC Video Production Services: “The Power of Education,” The IMF & Vietnam

For the IMF: Vietnam has invested heavily in education, allowing young people to fulfill their dreams of starting their own business. Hear how Nguyen Thu Ha thinks her studies will enable her to be a successful business owner.

7. Washington DC USAID Video Production Services: Lebanon and Hala’s Flower Shop

This is the story of Hala, who had a passion for flower arranging and used to dream of starting her own business. And the microfinance institution Vitas, which is extending loans to women entrepreneurs in Lebanon for the first time.

8. Washington DC USAID Video Production Services: Ethiopia & Sara’s Handicraft Passion

This is the story of Sara, a fashion designer from Ethiopia. Not long ago, she had 7 employees and only served the local market. Today she has more than 400 employees and her designs appear in major retailers such as J. Crew.

9. Washington DC Video Production: “Women Powering Africa,” MIGA’s Gender CEO Award

MIGA hosted its 2nd Gender CEO Award on International Women’s Day (March 8) to recognize the accomplishments of a CEO, or equivalent, from one of its clients with a record of seeking to create opportunities for women and promoting gender equality.

10. Washington DC Gender Video Production Services: “Innovative Solutions to Gender-Based Violence,” World Bank Group

The World Bank hired Dorst MediaWorks to produce five videos from innovative projects fighting gender-based violence around the world, in Bangladesh, Moldova, Kenya, Lebanon, and Pakistan. Here are some highlights.

11. Como é Tua Experiência .ORG? — DANCA — Agência de Redes Para Juventude (Português)

This is the story of Agência de Redes Para Juventude, a Brazilian nonprofit that fights for social transformation through dance and culture. And the story of the Public Interest Registry, the global institution behind the popular “.ORG” Internet suffix, which is popularizing “.ORG” around the world.

12. Maxima’s Story: The IFC in the Philippines

This is the story of Maxima, who goes from waiting in line every day for hours for well water to having clean running water in her own home. And the company Manila Water, which is connecting low-income famiies to water for the first time.

13. Washington DC Government Video Production Services: “Annie’s Story,” Millennium Challenge Corporation Malawi

This is the story of Annie’s tragic loss and her new passion. It’s also the story of how the Millennium Challenge Corporation helped Malawian women in river communities develop new economic opportunities that protect the rivers that power 90% of the country’s electricity.

14. Washington DC Government Video Production Services: “Emily’s Story,” Millennium Challenge Corporation Malawi

This is the story of Emily’s new business, beekeeping, and her improved quality of life. It’s also the story of how the Millennium Challenge Corporation helped Malawian women in river communities develop new economic opportunities that also protect the rivers that power 90% of the country’s electricity.

15. Washington DC Government Video Production Services: “Judith & Alice’s Story,” Millennium Challenge Corporation Malawi

This is the story of Judith and Alice’s new business and their improved quality of life. It’s also the story of how the Millennium Challenge Corporation helped Malawian women in river communities develop new economic opportunities that also protect the rivers that power 90% of the country’s electricity.

We at Dorst MediaWorks are proud to be Washington DC’s go-to video production company for producing gender videos around the world. We’ve worked with some of the most impactful international organizations out there. We are committed to showing how important their programs are through the lives of the women and girls that are benefiting.

Dorst MediaWorks, Inc is centrally located in Washington DC, a few minutes from the DC Convention Center and the Mt. Vernon Square metro station, conveniently located on the green and yellow lines. We’re a short walk or Uber ride from dozens of US Government buildings.

<iframe style=”border: 0;” src=”https://www.google.com/maps/embed?pb=!1m18!1m12!1m3!1d12420.7105989793!2d-77.0384906094033!3d38.8970526731648!2m3!1f0!2f0!3f0!3m2!1i1024!2i768!4f13.1!3m3!1m2!1s0x89b7b713bb0240af%3A0xb4bd33ad4ccbe2a0!2sDorst+MediaWorks%2C+Inc!5e0!3m2!1sen!2sus!4v1556145084412!5m2!1sen!2sus” width=”800″ height=”600″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen=”allowfullscreen”></iframe>

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up for Dorst Mediaworks’ Email Newsletter

Email Collection