BRITISH HIGH COMMISSION TRAINS 25 YOUNG SIERRA LEONEANS ON CLIMATE CHANGE

By Foday Moriba Conteh

Freetown Media Centre, British Council and Nova Studios in Hull earlier this year ran a training workshop for 3 days with 25 young Sierra Leonean aspiring film makers who have been trained to film, edit and produce stories of climate change issues in Sierra Leone.

Freetown Film Lab is a programme aimed at providing young Sierra Leoneans within the creative industry access to skills, networks, business development and technical assistance to strengthen employability and entrepreneurship within the creative industry sector in Sierra Leone.

This training workshop was funded by the British High Commission and is part of the UK’s COP26 campaign, and the final films will be used as part of the International Climate conference being hosted in Glasgow in November next month. The films focused on five topics around climate change and environmental issues and the impacts in Sierra Leone.

This covered different short stories highlighting biodiversity, deforestation, sand mining, plastics in the ocean and environmental waste management to raise awareness and effect change in Sierra Leone. These talented young filmmakers told Sierra Leone stories across issues of climate change from Sierra Leone voices.  Raising awareness of the action that needs to happen fast to adapt and mitigate against the impacts of climate change.

With less than 6 weeks to go until COP26, the new High Commissioner has made climate change top of her priorities. The UK will host the UN climate change conference COP26, in Glasgow with Italy and provide an opportunity for the world to come together and commit to urgent action.

The UK is committed to working with all countries and joining forces with civil society, companies and people on the frontline of climate change ahead of COP26.

Sierra Leone will have an important role to play in COP26, and President Bio will be attending the World Leaders Summit. Climate issues directly affect Sierra Leone’s future economic and human capital development plans. Maintaining natural resources are critical for Sierra Leone’s growth and human capital development, as well as conservation. The five films explored different topics relating to Sierra Leone’s climate and environment issues. They premiered at the British High Commissioner’s residence on the 23rd of September, where climate change activists, members of the international community and Government got to watch the films for the first time You will be able to watch the videos for yourself on the UKinSierraLeone social media pages on Twitter and Facebook.

British High Commissioner Lisa Chesney said: “Sierra Leone is hugely important in the climate debate – as a country of significant biodiversity, an important actor in the region and as one of the world’s countries most impacted by climate change.

This is why I’m so pleased to be here today and am happy we have been able to support young Sierra Leoneans to take the lead in raising awareness of climate change and its effects.

I have seen such great talents here today, the films are not just entertaining, they can inform and inspire change, I encourage you all to make the most out of these skills and expertise to build the narrative for Sierra Leone as a country of internaurttionally significant biodiversity ahead of the COP26 stage.”

The British Council Director Kelly Ferguson said: “I’m delighted to see these amazing films come out of the Freetown Film Lab project which aimed to challenge young filmmakers to stretch their thinking and highlight a range of local climate change issues facing Sierra Leone.  I hope the films will support the ongoing conversations to tackle the climate crisis.”

Courtesy of Calabash 27 September 2021

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