Background: CARE believes a strategic entry point for education and engagement of policymakers and key stakeholders is through travel to see the impact made by effective development programs. Several times a year, CARE hosts high-level delegations in the countries where they work to experience firsthand the impact of U.S. investments on the ground. These learning tours can be transformative for the participants.
They asked us to travel with them on one of their learning tour delegations to Malawi and produce a film about U.S. Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL 23rd District) and child and maternal health. Representative Schultz sits on the House Committee on Appropriations and the State and Foreign Operations subcommittee. That means she has a lot of influence over how much funding goes to foreign aid. We wanted to make a film that connected Schultz's life as a U.S. Representative on Capital Hill and the people on the ground in Africa who are effected by top-level policy decisions in Washington. What we didn't expect was how much she would personally relate to what she saw on the ground.
We started by flying to Washington, DC to film her at work on Capital Hill so viewers could get a sense of what her everyday life is like as a policymaker and interview her before the trip.
Then, we traveled to Malawi in advance of the delegation to film the programs on the ground. Due to the Malawi's heavy reliance on agriculture, combined with climate changes and massive flooding, much of the population suffers from chronic food and nutrition insecurity. We interviewed one of the women effected by food insecurity who Schultz would meet and followed her around for a day to capture b-roll that would compliment the trip footage.
53% OF CHILDREN UNDER 5 YEARS OLD IN MALAWI ARE STUNTED.
On the trip, Schultz had a chance to sit down with Estrey--a Malawian mother who learned about better nutrition and finance through one of CARE's village savings and loans programs. Then, she learned how health workers plot the growth of babies and when their growth is below normal they put them on a 12 week program. As we were talking with her during the trip we learned that she had the same growth chart as the women in the village at home. When her twins were born, her daughter was underweight and she had to do the same things that women in the village were taught. She had to ensure her daughter got extra nutrients to make sure she was going to bumped up on the chart. She said, "It drove home how universal motherhood is." That's when we knew what our story was. We decided to do a second interview before she left where she could reflect on her trip and her revelations. The final piece beautifully weaves the story of Schultz's own experience as a mother with that of women in Malawi in a way that other women around the world can relate to.
The Client: CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. They place a special focus on working alongside marginalized women because, equipped with the proper resources, women have the power to help whole families and entire communities escape poverty. CARE's Pathways program aims to increase the productivity and empowerment of women farmers by providing expertise in smallholder agriculture, financial inclusion, nutrition, women’s empowerment and market engagement. Working in partnership with others, Pathways promotes transformative change in women’s lives and the lives of their families to improve nutrition and food security.