Equipped with vaccinations, medications and cultural awareness training, two members of Memorial’s Distance Education and Learning Technologies (DELT) team landed in Malawi, Africa, in January. Kevin O’Leary, producer/director, and Mark Shallow, production technologist, travelled to Africa on a training mission as part of the Marine Institute’s (MI) $1.5 million Sustainable Fisheries for Food Security project.
The project represents a partnership between the Fisheries and Marine Institute and the Malawi College of Fisheries, the training entity of the Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Mines, Natural Resources and Environment. In Malawi, fisheries supply about 75 per cent of the nation’s dietary animal protein and employ approximately 250,000 people in catching, processing and marketing. In the past decade, the total catch decreased from 70,000 tons per year to 45,000 tons largely because of over-exploitation and post-harvest loss.
“One of our goals is to work with the Malawi College of Fisheries (MCF) to expand its mandate and capacity to deliver training in post-harvest processing, thus reducing post-harvest losses,” explained Kelly Moret, International Project Officer, MI International. “To do this involves awareness raising initiatives among mid-level fisheries officers down to the grassroots community level. The project team identified one of the most effective methods for delivering training to large groups in this environment would be video.
“Through funding provided by the African Development Bank, the Department of Fisheries purchased two media production vehicles. We called on the expertise of Kevin and Mark to provide the much needed video production and editing training.”
It was down to business for the two DELT employees almost immediately upon arrival. Mr. O’Leary began the first week teaching video production. He challenged his trainees to develop their own script for a short program they decided to make their college the focus.
The second week Mr. Shallow concentrated on digital editing. “We actually put together the video, I gave technical advice and Kevin helped with the content and creative decisions. On the last day we premiered the video for the entire college. It was very exciting for all involved,” he said.
The pair returned to Newfoundland and Labrador on Feb. 4, 2007. They both said it is something they would do again.
“It is almost eerie to look at our province’s fishing history and the depletion of our fish stocks, and experience first-hand what the people in Malawi are going through right now,” said Mr. O’Leary.
“It is gratifying to be able to contribute to an effort to increase awareness, with the goal of ensuring environmental sustainability.”
“Kevin and Mark did an exemplary job in what can only be described as a very challenging work environment,” said Ms. Moret, adding that she looks forward to future collaborations with DELT. “There is incredible talent and expertise contained within the DELT unit, we look forward to future training and production opportunities with the Department.”
The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC-UPCD Branch) administers the partnership project with financial support ($1 million) largely contributed by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).