Social Impact Media Awards

Social Impact Media Awards

As part of the World Merit Day 2019 celebrations, we launched a global challenge in partnership with SIMA!

SIMA is the most renowned global curator in the social impact community, providing independent films to academic and global social justice industries around the world.

SIMA aims to promote sustainable social change, therefore this year SIMA partnered up with World Merit to give the World Merit community the opportunity to partake in the Social Action Media Awards 2019!

SIMA created seventeen films and documentaries, each linked to one Sustainable Development Goal (SDG). For the challenge, our members were required to host a screening, organize a panel discussion and to log the event on the World Merit Impact App.
The challenge was a great success with hundreds of people around the world watching educational films, inspiring action towards the SDGs. Each Impact recorded has positively inspired, educated and mobilized support for increased social action in each local community. The following stories are highlights from the challenge which showcase the diversity and impact the SIMA challenge has amongst the World Merit community.

This screening focused on SDG 3, Good Health and Well-Being.
Bukola Olalere Chose the film Juanita to inspire hope in those suffering with leprosy in the community. This film provided a glimpse into the everyday life of Juanita, a Mayan traditional doctor, and activist. Leader of “The Awakening of the Women who Heal,” organization of midwives in the Orient of Yucatan, Mexico. The screening aimed to remove stigmatizit’sation and discrimination towards the most vulnerable in the Nigerian communities. The screening has started to break down a barrier and give people suffering from leprosy the support and encouragement they needed to ‘go about life’ and achieve their goals. For example, the discussion following the screening provided one woman to express her doubts and fear about starting up a food business, however, with the support form the world merit council she is working on ways to achieve this goal despite evident hurdles due to her condition. 

Makata Blantyre, MALAWI
This screening focused on SDG 13, Climate Action.
This screening of ‘What would it look like?’ reflected on the state of the world and the human race and asked the viewer to think about actions that must be taken to ensure a sustainable future for all life on earth. This film was directly relevant to the Malawi community since the negative effects of climate change including floods, droughts and low agricultural production have a direct impact in the country, which all contribute to rising poverty. Notably, the event captured the attention of one young person who confessed that he is involved and profits from the charcoal business, which involves cutting down trees. After the event, he made a solid commitment to explore other environmentally friendly businesses and made a subsequent appointment with the government environmental health specialist to lobby for increased information for those working in industries that contribute to climate degradation.

This screening focused on SDG 1, No Poverty.
This screening showed SIMA film ‘Kayako.’ Which in the Ga language translates to ‘Girl-Carrier.’ In the capital of Ghana, 10,000 girls from the ages of 6 work as real-life shopping baskets. The film followed an 8-year-old girl and her experiences in the industry earning to support her family. The screening was hosted to the students at New Valley School to educate the children about the hardships their peers face in less privileged areas of Ghana. The screening brought many children to tears, nevertheless, many were inspired to work hard and achieve great things in order to create an impact amongst the Ghanaian populace

Liverpool, ENGLAND

This screening focused on SDG 14, Life Below Water.
Carlo from World Merit HQ set up a screening showing SIMA film, ‘Voices of the sea.’ This production highlighted the alarming decline of endemic species in their waters because of overfishing by international factory ships, as well as damaging plastic. The event further educated attendees about the biggest threat to our planet and successfully formed partnerships at local venues to motivate climate action projects.

This Screening focused on SDG 15, Life on Land.
Shaan World Merit Ambassador based Bangkok. Shaan showed the film, ‘Big Damage.’ This advertised the exploitation of who landowners are forced into signing documents by logging companies they don’t understand, for the promise of “development” – freshwater, health, and education, but these essential services are rarely provided. Instead, their traditional hunting grounds are destroyed, waterways polluted, and their way of life ruined forever.

This screening focused on SDG 8, Decent Work and Economic Growth.
 ‘Nobody dies here,’ is a film which highlights the desperation of some people in Benin to gain wealth. The film showed people digging relentlessly to their deaths at Perma gold mine, Benin. The film helped the audience to connect with the importance of workplace safety. The following discussion highlighted critical issues in Bangladesh such as human trafficking, modern slavery and especially the worst forms of child labour. The screening outlined the responsibility of every individual to act and speak out about these issues. Furthermore, it educated young people on the importance of receiving an education or training for a better future.

This screening focused on SDG 6, Clean Water and Sanitation.
 The film, ‘Mother of all Rivers.’ Follows Berta in Honduras as she fights to stop the Agua Zarca Dam being built. This story hit home for the attendees since South Africa was recently hit by the worst drought and service delivery for water and sanitation remains a big issue. Following the screening, World Merit South Africa started working with the Department for Water and Sanitation to draft a policy on issues highlighted during the discussion of the film. Emotion clearly is a powerful tool for movement, since Berta’s story ended tragically, with herself being assassinated in her bed- Nevertheless, she has inspired many to stand up for what is right.
Bujumbura, BURUNDI
This screening focused on SDG 1, No Poverty.
Leonidas also decided to show the film, ‘Kayako.’ Since it directly related to the hardships the people face every day in his country, the second poorest in the world. Nearly 50% of the Burundi populous is made up of children 14 and under. Burundi lacks the funds to effectively provide free education. Children are incredibly vulnerable and often are the sole providers for their families. The screening inspired the attendees to form an entrepreneurial club that will offer peer support to facilitate ideas to combat poverty in the area. For Leonidas, what was one entry into the SIMA awards surely became a national knowledge sharing movement seeing that screening of Kayako and other SDG films are shown monthly and at many other receptive institutions. This was all possible due to the drive and motivation of the attendees who were inspired by Bamunu’s story. This entry won the competition! Leonidas won £500 for his contribution which he intends to spend on transport and materials for further social action projects at universities ad schools.

The Social Action Media Awards have inspired us here at World Merit to continue to raise awareness through the medium of film, and we look forward to next year’s campaign!


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