Documentaries

Documentary films are the core element of EnAct. By going into the field to capture – in real time – the personal and societal impacts of energy poverty, we aim to help both the public and energy sector players better grasp the associated challenges in diverse contexts.

While focusing on a personal story, EnAct will weave into each documentary expert opinion about solutions and barriers related to technology, policy and politics, pricing and finance, business models and scalability, and social and cultural contexts.

The web platform creates opportunity to present a concise story (5-7 minutes) while also giving viewers the option to view much longer interviews from main characters or experts.

As EnAct continues to develop, the web documentaries will be embedded into multimedia packages comprising editorials, news stories, infographics and interactive elements.

 

Great storytelling can expose the personal side of complex issues like energy, ultimately changing how people think and act."

The Bombay Flying Club

Darkness

Liberia, 2013 •  “You live in the darkest world,” says Harry F. Bombo, a student at the Kakata Rural Teachers Training Institute. “You feel very, very isolated. You can be harmed at any time because evil men like to travel in dark.”

EnAct’s first web documentary exposes the harsh reality of young professionals – doctors, nurses, administrators and teachers – forced to find workarounds in the context of short days and high fuel costs.

Ten years after back-to-back civil wars, marked by systematic destruction of the energy grid, Joseph Mayah, Deputy CEO of the Liberia Electricity Corporation, reflects on what that cost not just the company, but society as a whole.

Patrick Mantor, Assistant Administrator of the Ganta United Methodist Hospital, reports on compromises forced by a monthly diesel bill of US$ 9 500.

Recent reporting on the Ebola crisis makes little mention of the additional challenges created by Liberia’s low access to energy, including the fact that 1 000 doses of vaccine promised by Health Canada in August 2014 have not yet been delivered because of infrastructure concerns, such as unreliable refrigeration.

Each time EnAct is in the field, the Team will post diary entries reflecting their thoughts, experiences and personal challenges. Click here to read posts From the Team.

 

Reporting that seeks to empower

EnAct’s trailer video touches down in Nepal, Canada and Liberia to explore situations where energy access in inadequate, unaffordable or unreliable. It also highlights the enormous burden of labour that falls to women as managers of household energy in developing countries, the basis for EnAct’s fourth theme of examining how improved access is empowering for women.

We’ve also used the trailer to introduce you to members of our Advisory Committee who bring diverse experiences and perspectives:

  • Jiwan Acharya, Senior Climate Change Specialist at the Asian Development Bank, grew up in rural Nepal and saw his first electric light bulb at eight years of age. The memory of that moment still guides his work as a lead member of the ADB Energy for All initiative, which aims to provide energy access to 100 million people across  the Asia and Pacific region by the end of 2015.
  • Lawrence E. Jones, Founder of the Center for Sustainable Development in Africa, grew up in Liberia’s capital city of Monrovia — at the time, a thriving city where his father managed a well-developed electricity grid. A globally recognized expert on

smart grids and electricity innovation, Dr. Jones remains committed to improving conditions for African young people who lack access to energy – including those in his home country (see Darkness)

  • Sarah Strauss, Professor of Cultural Anthropology at the University of Wyoming, has explore the relationship people have to energy in diverse contexts. Her studies have included how people viewed the expansion of hydro systems in Switzerland, the alternative energy choices of a planned community in India, and the introduction of modern wind turbines in farming areas of the United States.

 

Other ways to get ideas across

The scope and scale of the global energy poverty challenge is daunting – and difficult to portray within a single web documentary.