THE WHY Works Towards Closing the Information Gap in Sub-Saharan Africa

January 31, 2023

Dorotea Zwolinski

In Sub-Saharan Africa alone 35% of the population is illiterate. Millions of people continue to be excluded from access to information due to poor educational opportunities and high rates of illiteracy. Access to education is not only a fundamental human right but also a vital component in ensuring sustainable development. Although in the past decades, significant advances have been made in minimizing rates of illiteracy, 244 million children and youth are still excluded from education.  An estimated 98 million or 40% of children with no access to education live in Sub-Saharan Africa.  

Education is the most sustainable and inclusive development strategy, and one of the most powerful tools capable of lifting marginalized youths and adults out of poverty.  Securing access to education functions as a bridge towards accessing other fundamental rights. Therefore, closing the existing information gap remains a prevalent obstacle globally.  As such, THE WHY continues to deliver educational and eye-opening documentaries in local languages to remote villages, schools and squares. These films cover important topics relating to gender equality, children’s rights, and democratic values, which spark important debates where people critically discuss complex issues.

New Partners 

By partnering with organisations globally THE WHY is able to expand its reach and deliver documentaries to marginalized communities. With the beginning of the new year, we have already partnered with five Sub-Saharan African organisations that aim to raise awareness about pervasive human rights issues, inspire collective action, and expand educational resources.  The organisations include The Umma Action organisation in Kenya, Free Tech Institute in Burundi, Corner Light International in Senegal, United World College East Africa and Lawyers’ Environmental Action Team in Tanzania.  These organisations work to empower and educate their audiences on important issues ranging from sustainability, environmental pollution, gender-based violence, human trafficking, and modern-day slavery.   

The Umma Action aims to carry out a community screening of the documentary ‘Maid in Hell’ in order to raise awareness about the human rights abuses experienced by Kenyan domestic workers in the Middle East and the need for protection of these citizens through grassroots work.  Whereas a student at United World College East Africa, Mo Chang How, participated in organising a sustainability conference in January, where THE WHY’s health related documentary films were used as an entry point for discussion. He highlights how, 

“Documentaries are a powerful tool for sparking conversations about complex issues and the world's greatest challenges."

Mo Chang How is actively engaged in sustainability issues and is currently planning to launch a roundtable discussion program at UWCEA regarding sustainable development goals.

Education as a Force of Unification 

A more inclusive and sustainable future requires the engagement of youth, as youth groups play a pivotal role in solving existing development challenges and inspiring social change.  Africa has the youngest population in the world, where 70% of the population is under 30 and an increasing number of young people are taking an active role in shaping their future.  Due to the growing youth population in Africa, the opportunities and choices made by the young population will play a pivotal role in shaping the continent’s development. Therefore, ensuring the involvement of young people in politics and society is vital for security, economic growth, and innovation.  This year, THE WHY will continue to build projects in key countries on the African continent in order to support inclusive development, where no one is left behind.  

Open Call

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