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REF NO.: 184

SUBJECT: Memorial University student to make documentary on local women's issues in Nepal
DATE: June 11, 2003

{Lisa Hoffe}
Lisa Hoffe
(click for large version)

Lisa Hoffe, a student in Women's Studies at Memorial University will travel to Nepal to film a documentary on the lives of women living in the region for four months this fall. Funded by a $10,000 Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) Innovative Research Award, Ms. Hoffe is using this award to fund the project which will stratify the degree requirement for a Masters in Women's Studies. She was the only Memorial student among the field to win the distinction.

CIDA funds graduate students across Canada to undertake projects with a variety of community-based organizations throughout the developing world. While Hoffe was looking to complete her master's, she is also an avid traveller and hiker, and was intrigued with a unique opportunity that would allow her to do both. Hoffe's 10 years of experience in media and communications, as a reporter and producer for radio and television, also gave her a set of practical skills that she wanted to put to use.

While looking at potential organizations, she settled on SAS, a feminist non-governmental organization in Nepal. Its membership is comprised of 47 women in the media in Nepal, consisting of journalists, creative writers, new media, etc. They develop media advocacy campaigns on gender quality as well as offer gender bias awareness sessions to other media professionals. She immediately felt that there was a "fit" with her and the organization, as she could take her professional skills and put them to use with her academic interests in a tangible way, as well as develop her own skills professionally.

While the details of her project are still being hammered out, Hoffe intends to put together a 30-minute documentary or video production dealing with issues of women living in Nepal.

"I'm delighted at the opportunity to work alongside women of the same work experience in Nepal, to see what challenges they face as women communicators there compared to here in Canada. I'm hoping that the communication tool that gets produced as a result can be used by both the organization and me to help tell the story of women in Nepal to potentially larger audiences." Upon her return Hoffe will contact Canadian networks and film festivals to gauge the interest in broadcasting it.

This is not only a challenging project, but an expensive one. While CIDA's award is indeed generous, the funding must cover all the student costs including travel, living expenses in country and equipment and supplies. For this reason, she is seeking a video camera to be donated, or loaned for her trip. EdTech at Memorial has agreed to provide a professional edit of piece when she returns as part of their ongoing contribution to students. She estimates this at about a $3000 in-kind contribution.

Lisa Hoffe is grateful for the CIDA award that is making this possible and encourages other students who are completing their academic goals to expand their horizons of what's possible and consider this kind of international development opportunity that CIDA has to offer.

Information and applications for CIDA awards can be found at the Canadian Bureau of International Education Web site at: www.cbie.ca.

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