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The value of video storytelling – Q&A with winners of Every Footstep Counts 2014

Video is a powerful way for community based organisations to engage with remote audiences and show how they make a difference in local communities globally to tackle HIV.  

Every Footstep Counts (EFC) is a video competition designed to showcase and celebrate community groups that are focused on the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. EFC is a special initiative of the Positive Action for Children Fund, which is an integral part of ViiV Healthcare’s commitment to communities affected by HIV and AIDS.

For the second year, EFC invited community based organisations to create video shorts about the work they do to support women and children in their area. All videos submitted are put to a public vote. The public favourites are then reviewed by an expert panel of judges who select the winners.

During the first EFC last year, 45 community groups submitted videos and 24,000 votes were cast. The 2014 winners were Help Lesotho with “Breaking the Cycle” and Public Health Research Institute of India (PHRII) with “Saving Children, Improving Lives.” PHRII is also a current grantee with the Positive Action for Children Fund. As the winners of EFC 2014, Help Lesotho and PHRII were awarded an unrestricted $10,000 grant each at the 2014 International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia.

Here, Help Lesotho and PHRII’s share reflections on participating in EFC 2014, and how the award has helped to further their work:

2014 EFC Winner

How has your organisation put the EFC 2014 award to use?

What impact has the EFC 2014 award had on the work you do?

Help Lesotho

The EFC 2014 award was used to support young mothers who were enrolled in Help Lesotho’s Young Mother Support Program. This 6-month program provides 150 pregnant girls and young mothers with the support and information they need to prevent mother-to-child transmission, promote healthy child development, provide good nutrition, and give their children the best start at life.

Beyond the financial benefit of the award for our Young Mother Support Program, the EFC 2014 award provided us with a great platform to raise awareness about the issues around gender inequity and teenage pregnancy in Lesotho.

Public Health Research Institute of India

We train and collaborate with a cohort of tribal women to hold regular community educational programs on reproductive health, STIs and HIV. We also hold reproductive health clinics that integrate HIV testing with antenatal care, and ensure people are accessing the care they need. Finally, we actively reduce stigma by training National Rural Health Mission health workers to provide respectful and non-stigmatizing services, and to be our ‘eyes and ears’ in the community if there are people in need of services.

The EFC 2014 award has allowed us to train our staff intensively, bringing in specialists from hospitals, medical schools and the National Rural Health Mission to hold workshops. We are very proud of the expertise our staff brings to their work, and even more importantly, we are humbled by the level of commitment and humanity they bring to their programs and community clinics.

Looking back on EFC 2014, Help Lesotho said that they were proud to see their film “Breaking the Cycle” receive a positive response from the EFC community and public at large.

"Making the film allowed us to give a voice to vulnerable young mothers who so rarely have the opportunity to share their challenges,” Help Lesotho said.

HIV organisations like Help Lesotho and PHRII use video to document their impact in the community as much to share their story with audiences as to engage with the people they work with in a different way.

“The pragmatic answer of course, is that documenting our work helps us to realize our achievements and not forget our mistakes. The communities we serve have a right to know the results of the programs in which they are participants,” said PHRII.

“Sometimes we forget that the most important work we do is not simply to serve each individual; but to change the communities where we work so that every person participates in our work in whatever way they can. That is the real reason why we document our work—it is more than work—it is a seed that we plant at every level in our communities.”

EFC is back this year in partnership with MTV/Staying Alive Foundation, the International AIDS Society and Keep A Child Alive. The EFC 2016 winners will be awarded an unrestricted grant of $10,000 and will be invited to attend the International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa.

EFC 2016 showcases 45 videos from community groups working to eliminate mother to child transmission of HIV across the globe. The public vote is open for you to support your favourite videos! Make your voice count here.