Women and Girls Lead, a public media–based outreach and empowerment program, has evolved into a broader international effort, seeking to drive positive societal change in Kenya, India, Bangladesh, Jordan and Peru. The public-private initiative grew out of the national documentary-based campaign created in 2011 by the Independent Television Service with funding from CPB. It is designed to build engagement around issues such as women’s leadership, violence prevention and economic empowerment. Films presented through the initiative include the five-part Women, War & Peace; The Interrupters, about a Chicago woman working to defuse gang violence in her community; and Strong!, profiling a champion woman weightlifter. More than 50 films have been distributed through the initiative so far, according to ITVS, and they have attracted an audience of more than 42 million through broadcast and online distribution.
This article has been updated and reposted with additional information. Women and Girls Lead Global, a public media–based international outreach program, is helping drive positive change in five countries, participants said last week during panel discussions in Washington, D.C.
The public-private initiative grew out of the national Women and Girls Lead, a 2011 documentary-based campaign created by the Independent Television Service and backed by CPB. Partnering with ITVS in the international effort, which launched last summer, are USAID (the United States Agency for International Development), the Ford Foundation and the humanitarian organization CARE. The March 13 event, “Media as Multiplier: Using Documentary Film to Boost Global Development,” provided a forum for the international development community to discuss the value of using media as a development tool, Kimberley Sevcik, ITVS director of international engagement, told Current. Speakers at the Meridian International Center included New York Times journalist Nicholas Kristof, whose book Half the Sky inspired a four-hour PBS film; Rajiv Shah, who leads USAID; David Ray, head of policy and advocacy for CARE; Judy Tam, e.v.p. of ITVS; and ITVS country engagement coordinators from Bangladesh, Peru, India and Kenya.