|Generation 2000: Changing Girls' Realities|
Generation 2000: Changing Girls' Realities
Generation 2000: Changing Girls' Realities is a film about adolescent girls in Nigeria, conceived and narrated by Jane Fonda in collaboration with the International Women's Health Coalition (IWHC). This 15-minute documentary played an important role in the five-year review of the implementation of the Fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing + 5) in June 2000 and continues to have an impact on diverse audiences in many parts of the world.
Copies of the film are available free of charge from IWHC, in VHS, PAL, or CD-Rom. To order a copy, email Whitney Welshimer at email@example.com. Some background on the film follows.
Why the film was made
Ms. Fonda sought the advice of IWHC's President, Adrienne Germain, who suggested that Ms. Fonda visit Nigeria as a photojournalist to talk with and film NGO leaders, participants, community activists, and government officials who had created innovative approaches to girls' empowerment.
Nigeria was chosen for filming because it is the most populous country in Africa and plays a leadership role for the continent. IWHC's Africa Program had been working with women's organizations in Nigeria for over ten years and had supported the founding and steady growth of the three groups featured in the film that are changing young girls' lives: Girls' Power Initiative in Calabar, Action Health Incorporated in Lagos, and the Adolescent Health and Information Project in Kano.
How the film was made
Next, the film crew visited Action Health Incorporated (AHI) in Lagos, the largest city in Nigeria. This organization houses a reproductive health clinic and runs a wide range of activities for girls and boys after school that provide them with information about sexuality and building relationships based on equality and respect. AHI also works in Lagos's schools, where interviews were filmed with students, peer educators, teachers, and parents.
The crew then flew to Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, to interview government ministers of education and health. Ms. Fonda interviewed Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo who stated that taboos about discussing sex and providing sex education are harmful to young people. A prominent political and religious leader, Alhaji Abubakar Alhaji, the Saudana of Sokoto, talked about the need to support legislation to end early marriage for girls.
The final stop was the northern city of Kano, where the Adolescent Health and Information Project (AHIP) works with girls both in and out of school, married and unmarried. Filming took place at AHIP's project offices as well as in homes where young women who had learned skills at AHIP are now running small businesses. A Muslim religious leader was also interviewed about how his religion encompasses the need to address reproductive health for adolescents.
The film's influence
Equally important was its impact on the Beijing + 5 negotiations then underway. The success of the lobbying strategy by IWHC and its colleagues was demonstrated by the content of the final Beijing + 5 document. Most governments recognized the urgency of giving adolescents access to sexual and reproductive health information, education, and services, and stated that adolescents should be involved fully in the design of these programs. Moreover, the Beijing + 5 document indicates that programs should:
Our hope is that the success of this project will inspire continued and expanded support for adolescent girls in Nigeria and throughout the world. Click firstname.lastname@example.org.