To fight violence against children in Liberia, UNICEF launched the Sara Let’s Speak Out book. The second in a series of illustrated books about a girl named Sara. The book aims to encourage victims, families and communities to speak out against the problem of child rape and to report the crime to the police. With a plot that conveys the possibility that victims can obtain justice for rape if they report it, and with characters who show supportive attitudes towards child survivors of sexual violence, the book also promotes prevention through community action, including individual choices that can be made by children themselves.

Sara Let’s Speak Out is being rolled out as part of an integrated initiative to end violence against children around the world. The book was developed for Liberia by UNICEF, in collaboration with the Government, and serves as the centerpiece for school based efforts under this broader initiative. 

Background: The Sara book series is an initiative by the UNICEF Liberia Country Office. The project centers on Sara, a young Liberian girl who we hope all Liberian children can relate to. In her books, Sara tackles issues of particular relevance to the Liberian context. The first book, Sara and the Plum Tree Palaver, was released earlier in 2013 and centers on the theme of peacebuilding. In the book, Sara plays a key role in resolving a land dispute in her community. In this second book, Sara Let's Speak Out, Sara supports her friend, Kema, in talking about and eventually seeking justice against an older man who raped her. The book shows how speaking to just one friend about the abuse and – more importantly – having it validated by that friend can help victims. It goes farther to show how if the community rallies around the victim – from teachers to parents to community members (including boys) to the police –the grief and pain of the victim can be lessened. To make the book even more culturally relevant to Liberia, Takun J, a top Liberian Hip co star, appears in it giving an anti-rape concert. To launch the book Takun J visited a school in Bensonville, Montserrado County, where he read the book to the students and sang songs to them, including songs with anti-rape messages.

Behind the Scenes: We were working with UNICEF on several films for their End Violence Against Children campaign. We traveled with UNICEF to Bensonville and filmed Takun J live while he sang to students at the school launching the new book for the campaign. We also interviewed key leaders at UNICEF who could explain the struggle to protect children from violence in Liberia. We were able to use this footage in this film as well as two others -- one a music video about a fictional story based on real life in Liberia and another video vignette on Takun J himself. The three films work together to tell different aspects of the bigger campaign.  

Client: UNICEF
Cinematography: Sarah Grile / Morgana Wingard
Producer: Morgana Wingard
Editor: Sarah Grile
Music: Candlegravity, Takun J