A pandemic through a girl's eyes: 16 adolescent girls from nine countries film their lives under lockdown as well as their hardships, fears and hopes for a fair world.
COVID-19 has made 2020 a difficult year for everyone. But for millions of teenage girls across the world, the pandemic was just another worry to add to their already long list: gender-based violence, child marriage, a lack of education to name a few. In fact, statistics show that gender-based violence and harmful practices soar during emergencies. Many girls kept from school during lockdown will never return, their childhood stolen by child marriage or pregnancy.
Coping with COVID-19 video series was created to give these teenage girls’ voices a chance to be heard, with no film crew, no professional equipment and armed only with mobile phones.
Working with UNICEF and country offices, we indentified 16 inspiring girls from Bangladesh, Chad, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Madagascar, Mali, Nepal and Niger.
For five weeks between May and June 2020, the girls captured their ‘new normal’ and shared their thoughts on mobile phoes – not just on COVID-19, but on all the heart-breaking challenges they face daily. The entire project was conducted remotely, in line with COVID-19 guidelines across all countries, and not all the girls were technologically proficient. As a team we provided tutorials so that the girls could really take ownership of the project. The result was a video series that was unscripted and intimate, with the girls speaking candidly in a way that wouldn’t have happened with a film crew and cameras.
Each week of content from all the girls was then edited into a weekly episode focusing on how life has changed for these girls, including the challenges they’ve faced with access to education, gender inequality and harmful practices such as child marriage and female genital mutilation.
If the statistics are anything to go by, global audiences were as touched by the girls’ stories.