The Letter is an intimate family portrait, driven by impassioned characters as they struggle with an inter-generational conflict along Kenya’s coastal province.
Kaladze finds out on facebook that his grandmother, Margaret has been accused of being a witch and that her life is in danger. From the streets of Mombasa, Kaladze returns to his ancestral rural home in Kaloleni to discover that these accusations come mostly from members of his own family.
His love for his grandmother incites an interrogation which reveals greedy motivations behind these accusations. The most disturbing is that his family, the Kamango’s are not the only ones. This haunting trend has infected nearly every family in the region with identical indictments.
Witchcraft is being used as a cover-up for family disputes over land, inheritance and money. Elderly landowners are being eliminated without any legal recourse, and a wave of silence has descended over the region. Every month, more than twenty elderly people are accused as witches and killed by hired gangs, angry mobs, or even their own family members, while hundreds others are living in constant fear of attack.
With the loss of these elders, the film also documents the disappearance of valuable indigenous knowledge and history. This is a Shakespearian tragedy like no other. Family against family and progeny against elder veiled in greed and steeped in blood.
Will Kaladze earn his ground, reunite his fractured family and save his grandmother’s fate?
How does the project meet the aims of a philanthropic foundation?
Our goal is to make the end of elderly abuse a national priority. For a multi-media education and awareness campaign, we are seeking partnerships with philanthropic foundations with whom we can work to restore dignity to the vulnerable elderly, and build a framework for policy and enforcement for their protection.
We are also seeking academics and technologists who can offer advice and support towards a rigorous data collection project. This will ensure that an awareness campaign will have successful resonance amongst grassroots communities, while also building a solid foundation on which policies and campaigns can be built.
The film seeks to trigger conversations and interventions towards addressing and eliminating elderly violence. The Letter also aims to document an indigenous culture that is being lost to globalisation, while also serving as a warning of the problems that can arise when issues of traditional land ownership remain unaddressed.
With partnerships currently being discussed with Amnesty International, HelpAge International, British Council, Grassroots Organisations in Kilifi County, Kenya, and the Kenyan Government, The Letter's outreach campaign aims to tackle the issue with community screenings and workshops in schools, churches, mosques and community centers, both in Kenya and across the world.
What outcomes do you hope to achieve by making this film and how will you measure its impact?
Aims & Objectives
Our objectives for the film is to eliminate violence against elderly people and restore dignity to the elderly and their indigenous cultural practices.
The first step of our outreach strategy is a data collection project that consolidates existing research into a definitive report. Currently, data has been collected by NGO's, The Ministry of Social Services, Security Services, and The County Government, however these bodies are not sharing information with each other, and the data remains in fragments. Consolidating this data, and filling in any holes, will allow us to establish baseline statistics relating to violence against elderly people in Kenya. This baseline study will allow us to monitor the violence over time, and measure the effects of the outreach campaign.
An awareness campaign will be rolled out in conjunction with the film's release. This will include screenings & workshops in communities effected by elderly abuse, where land rights are a central issue, in partnership with NGO's, Christian, Islamic and Traditional Religious Organisations, Grassroots Organisations and Civil Society. The awareness campaign will also feature social media and online awareness campaign.
The awareness campaign will measure success based on metrics used in the Impact Field Guide, including but not limiting to:
- Number of people watching the film during community screenings
- Number of people participating in workshop
- Social media followers, impressions, and trending
- Traditional media appearances
- Policy change
- Festival selection
What is your education and outreach strategy?
Outreach strategy parts:
- Audience Engagement ( Educational program in schools, churches, mosques and community centers. Changing audiences from passive to active)
- Distribution (Festivals, Broadcast/DVD/Theaters, community screenings & events)
- Outreach (Marketing/PR/Advertising/Communications, social media & online)
Social change goals
- Increased awareness of elderly abuse
- Elimination of the killing of elderly people.
- Better standard of living for elderly people from income generating activities
- Integration of indigenous knowledge into development policies
Where is the movement now?
- Student activists fighting for elderly human rights
- County Government pledged US$70,000 for food and shelter for displaced elderly people.
- Ministry of Social Services giving monthly payments to vulnerable elderly people.
- Several grassroots organisations using their own resources to provide support to displaced elderly people, and victims of abuse.
- Interfaith Coastal Council of Clerics running community events highlighting the issue of elderly abuse.
- Media, both local & international, running occasional stories about the issue.
Partnerships formed so far:
Having participated in Good Pitch Kenya in October 2016, we have developed a network of potential partners and support, with who we are currently discussing their roles.
Amnesty International: Host an impact workshop for our outreach team at their Nairobi offices. Support outreach project, either in cash or in kind expertise. Enroll young activist from Kilifi County into their HREA program,a global human rights education and training centre.
British Council: Use the film in their Connecting Classrooms Network, covering 600 Primary and Secondary Schools in Kenya. Use video, puppetry, and elderly storytellers, to sensitize children on the causes of elderly abuse.
NCCK (National Council of Churches in Kenya): Hold a press conference, to make the issue a national priority. Conduct film screenings and workshops in thousands of Churches across Kenya.
HelpAge International: Committed their support
The Ministry of Labour and Social Services: Use the film to lobby within government. Present a bill to parliament.
Dec 2016 - Have footage translated & transcribed. Sign on an impact producer
Feb 2017 - Drafted Impact Strategy & Presentation Package. Begin fundraising for Impact.
April 2017 - Rough cut complete. Conduct and Impact workshop where all stakeholders of existing movement are invited. Workshop a strategy that everyone owns. Establish roles and responsibilities, and agree on deadlines in which these will be executed. Begin data collection project.
June 2017 - Shooting & Fine Cut of the film
Dec 2017 - Film Complete. Impact funds raised. Data collection completed
February 2018 - Begin Festival and Theatrical Screenings. Impact Strategy Rolled out
June 2018 - Broadcast
Dec 2018 - Impact report and evaluation