UN Millennium Campaign tasks African Film Practitioners on human development

Lagos, Nigeria.-The United Nations Millennium Campaign (UNMC) has called on African film practitioners to use their medium to promote good governance and human development on the continent.

In a goodwill message delivered at the annual Nigerian Integrity Film Awards (HOMEVIDA) in Lagos, Nigeria, the Regional Director (Africa) of the United Nations Millennium Campaign (UNMC), Mr Charles Abugre Akelyira, stated that the growth of the film industry in Nigeria and across Africa has been phenomenal and ought to become a veritable tool for the promotion of Pan-African values, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and socio-economic development of Africa.

Mr. Akelyira who was represented at the occasion by UNMC National Coordinator, Mr Hilary Ogbonna, emphasised that Africa is at a critical stage in achieving the MDGs with some of the goals still lagging behind, underscoring the need for strategic partnerships, communications and advocacy using multiple platforms including films. Mr Akelyira charged African film makers in the development of contents and values in films which will serve as advocacy tools to policy makers and other stakeholders to take actions necessary for the attainment of human development on the continent. In his words: “As we countdown to the deadline for achieving the MDGs and with the work on a post 2015 agenda in an advanced stage, Africa needs more initiatives like HOMEVIDA which will project African aspirations, messages and expectations from this once in a long time development process.”

He commended HOMEVIDA as an “excellent initiative which if supported can serve as a veritable tool to mobilise Africans and their leaders to pay attention to current and emerging development challenges on the continent.” He further stated that Africa “needs greater commitments such as the ones shown by PPDC from both State and non-state actors on the continent and in the diaspora.”

The UNMC Regional Director promised that the organisation and its partners in Africa and beyond are committed to supporting the use of “the medium of films to project best development practices and values of good governance, peace, human security and other enablers of development.” He stressed that “films, more than any other art have the capacity to promote values and mobilise people of different faiths, tribes and tongues for common goals and objectives.”

Also speaking at the occasion, the founder of HOMEVIDA Awards, Mr Chibuzo Ekwekwuo commended the United Nations Millennium Campaign for supporting the awards and making available the goodwill of the UN across Africa to support film makers in producing movies that will enhance human development and contribute to the acceleration of the MDGs. HOMEVIDA, an initiative of the Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC) is in its fourth year. Since inception, it has become a rallying point for film practitioners and the entertainment industry in Nigeria interested in promoting good and accountable governance through their works.

It will be recalled that in April this year, UNMC signed a cooperative agreement with PPDC and endowed prizes for the best script and feature films that projects the themes of human development and the MDGs. For the 2013 maiden awards in the human development and MDGs category, Mr. Ebuka Njoku won the prize for the best script with ‘Bola’s Dirge’, while the best feature film in the same category was clinched by ‘Victims of the Society’ produced by Elvis Chuks.

The success of this initiative has spurred UNMC, PPDC and other partners to initiate a Pan-African Film project which will be bringing film makers, government institutions, private sector, civil society and development partners together to promote African values, project African voices and messages to the rest of the world to advance human development on the continent.