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About the editors

  • Ruth Spencer (EJC)
    Ruth Spencer is a journalist, Editor, producer and hails from Montreal, Canada. She has worked for the European Journalism Centre since September 2008 and has edited all three rounds of TH!NK ABOUT IT. She has production experience in print media, theatre and broadcast television. She tweets via @thinkteam and is currently based in Toronto.
  • Guy Degen
    Guy Degen is an Australian freelance journalist and is based in Germany. He travels widely contributing stories to international broadcasters and is regularly commissioned by UN agencies as a multimedia producer. Guy writes for the Frontline Club blog and tweets via @fieldreports. Guy also trains journalists in multimedia skills and mobile journalism.


Partner Updates: Winners of ViewChange Contest

Published 18th November 2010 - 0 comments - 3149 views -

On November 18,, a multimedia website created to spark progress in improving the lives of people in developing countries, funded by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will announce the winners of its first international online film contest.

Aaron Kisner, the winner of The Grand Prize ($20,000) for his “Vital Voices:  Kakenya,” has pledged to donate the award money to the subject and inspiration of his film, Kakenya Ntaiya, a woman who made her simple dream come true - opening the first primary school for girls in her Maasai village in Kenya, a region where girls are discouraged from getting an education and often fall by the wayside of progress.  The money will help her build a dorm at her school to host girls who travel for many miles to receive an education.

New York filmmaker Aaron Kisner also won the $5,000 prize in the “Overcoming Conflict” category with his riveting film which uses animation, photography, and video to tell Kakenya’s incredible story. (He won $25,000 total). You can view his film below:




The other category winners include:

o   EMPOWERMENT CATEGORY:   “Chocolate Country,” by Robin Blotnick (New York, USA): In the backcountry of the Dominican Republic, poor cacao farmers have been fighting a losing battle with the global economy for as long as anyone can remember. The Loma Guacnojo Cooperative has found a way to turn the system on its head. 



o   INNOVATION CATEGORY:   “Burning in the Sun” by Cambria Matlow (New York, USA): Twenty-six-year-old charmer Daniel Dembele decides to return to his homeland in Mali and start a local business building solar panels - the first of its kind in the sun-drenched nation. Daniel's goal is to electrify the households of rural communities, 99 percent of which live without power.



o   LEADERSHIP CATEGORY: “The Witchdoctor” by Robby Bresson (Kenya): In Africa, traditional Healers have a great influence on how societies perceive new ideas and react to change. “The Witchdoctor” is a comical drama that seeks to affirm the role of the traditional healer, who at the grassroots level is doing his part to fight against H.I.V and AIDS.



o   LOCAL/GLOBAL CATEGORY:   “Rising to the Top” by Ana Cetina (Washington, D.C., USA): Can flying through the air with the greatest of ease improve the lives of impoverished people?  That’s the premise of the Sarakasi Trust, a non-profit organization in Nairobi, Kenya, that empowers young people through the arts.  “Rising to the Top,” follows two of the artists who have built better lives through acrobatics.



o   SUSTAINABILITY CATEGORY:  “Trash is Cash” by Peter Jansen (Nairobi, Kenya): This music video by the hip hop group, Wafalme, features 18 kids ages 8-23.  Rapping about pollution and climate change in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya, Wafalme and the Slum Talent Trust seek to enlighten us about the ways recycling can lead to self-employment and a better, more sustainable world.



Other contest info:

o   They were among more than 136 entries in the contest.

o   Filmmakers telling stories based in 49 countries, including Iraq, India, Tanzania, Nepal, Nepal, Rwanda, Namibia and others submitted short films,

o   All films can be viewed here.


Judging included online voters along with a celebrity panel of judges. Celebrity judges include Gael Garcia Bernal, actor and director, Wim Wenders, director; Danny Glover, actor, director, and UN Ambassador; Senator Daniel K. Inouye, Chair of the Committee on Appropriations; Angélique Kidjo, Grammy-Award winning musician and UN Ambassador; Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, author of “Purple Hibiscus” and MacArthur Fellow; and Charles Annenberg Weingarten, filmmaker, philanthropist, storyteller, and Director and Vice President of the Annenberg Foundation.


The film contest is part of Link TV’s official launch of – a multimedia website created to spark progress in improving the lives of people in developing countries, which is funded by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


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