Twenty girlswho were selected out of a total of 40 are undergoing a three-week intensive course to acquire fundamental skills and competences in photography, video production and storytelling for multimedia.
The participating girls were selected from former beneficiaries of Imbuto Foundation, through five of its programmes: Promotion of Girls Education, Edified Generation, Mentorship, Toastmasters and Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights.
Even with the growing evidence of the future potential of multimedia, very few girls have been able to apply for the course since the inception of Africa Digital Multimedia Academy (ADMA), a vocational training programme in Kigali, Rwanda.
“The reason we made it a dedicated group of women only is that even though in the past we had some girls coming in to study together with the boys, we want to train these women to be excellent, be hard performers and role models.
“Some cultural beliefs might have hindered the participation of girls and I think that one way to break big problems is to make them smaller. It doesn’t make sense talking about developing Rwanda if we are not elevating women as much as we do men,” explains Christopher Marler, the director of ADMA.
In an effort to build capacity and promote gender equality in media and entertainment fields in Rwanda, ADMA in partnership with Imbuto Foundation and Workforce Development Authority (WDA), enrolled an “all-girls intake” for a 14 month long course in multimedia.
Marler points out that through a recent survey, the institution had achieved 91 per cent of its goal which is to provide graduates with jobs, albeit the biggest challenge is that only 10 per cent of the applicants were female.
“We wanted the girls to change perceptions about multimedia being just something affiliated to university, but as a viable career that is an alternative to go to university. And from my experience, when presented with the opportunity, women perform better in multimedia. Our hope is that these young women will inspire women in Rwanda to take a chance in the multimedia field, as it encourages creativity, and is an exciting career choice,” Marler says.
At the end of the programme, the girls will be able to do basic video and sound production, planning and post-production, studio production, develop content for print and have a solid grounding in digital photography and photo-editing.
“Multimedia fits well here because it’s about giving people tools for telling stories. They are learning post production and other skills like mental stability because the world is changing rapidly with technology and we need to know what the principles are and that also ties back to the creativity. This is why grades were out of the selection process because all we looked for is the passion to learn multimedia from the girls,” Marler says.
The girls who are already three weeks into the programme will also have the opportunity to study further for advanced skills in various multimedia functions, ranging from live-streaming to 3D modelling and cartoon animation.
Barbra Burabyo, 24, one of the beneficiaries and a student of mass communication, says that multimedia requires one to be creative and innovative which is necessary for digital online communication skills.
“One of the things we learn is storytelling and my goal is to get the skills that I need to be able to tell stories on matters that concern society. We are also taught life skills like time keeping, being extraordinary, and knowing your passion,” Burabyo says.
Another beneficiary, 21-year-old Sharon Kalimba, wanted to learn software, storytelling through interesting graphics, Photoshop, video editing, script writing and animation and acquire skills that cannot be got in school. She believes that her passion for poetry and writing will be enhanced by such skills.
“I feel like women have their own perspective towards life and I feel that our creativity and imagination has been ignored yet we are very competent. I feel like this should be the time to let women shine and expose these opportunities to more girls. Image has more power than words, and these skills will enhance my passion for poetry and writing through creativity,” she says.