Thinking about ways that Africa is represented by NGO’s and other international organizations (reference: various posts at Africa is a Country), it was nice to run into this project put together by UNICEF that seeks to find new ways of representing crises in Africa.

In order to re-orient our perspectives on the drought and pending food crisis in the Sahel, UNICEF went up to Harlem to find people from the region, and ask them about their experience with the crisis and their memories of living back home. The video doesn’t go too far into the details of the campaign, and what the international community might actually do to avert a long-term food crisis. But, by allowing for those who are directly effected (in our hypothetical backyards) to speak their own voice, it’s a step in the right direction towards facilitating genuine empathy, and away from the sensationalistic portrayals that have come to define awareness campaigns.

Watch part two of “Memories of the Sahel” here.