Empowering Communities - one documentary at a time

Across the world, communities continue to face large barriers to accessing information. This Information Gap presents itself in a variety forms:

  • Globally, there are an estimated 750 million adults who cannot access written information due to illiteracy. Two thirds of these adults are women.
  • Limited resources are invested in making information available in local languages that communities can understand. This means that while there are over 7,000 languages spoken globally, 90% of all online content is available in only 10 languages.
  • For those who have access to information, a rise in disinformation threatens the reliability of these sources. In total, at least 70 countries have experienced disinformation campaigns, where false information is spread deliberately to deceive.

Without reliable and accurate information in a language and medium that can be understood, it is difficult for communities to make informed decisions related to their rights and to become actors of positive, sustainable change.

Group of people standing on steps next to two organization banners for THE WHY and CDE Great Lakes.
THE WHY partners with organizations all around the globe. Pictured is a screening with one of our local partners, CDE Great Lakes in Burundi.
People look on intently at film screening.
Screening in Kenya organized by Awareness Against Human Trafficking (HAART)

Democratizing knowledge - using film

With a strong audiovisual component, documentaries effectively bypass barriers related to illiteracy. THE WHY’s fact-based documentaries provide access to reliable information about pressing social, political and environmental issues linked to human rights.

THE WHY makes these documentaries available in local languages, thereby offering an alternative mode for communities to learn and access information. From schools in remote villages to rural areas that have been neglected by the state, we ensure that our films reach a wide audience so that no one is left behind. The information shared through documentaries plays a critical role in empowering communities to become active change makers both locally and globally.

Drawing on impactful stories from the real world, THE WHY’s documentary films raise awareness and build empathy among viewers by motivating and inspiring them to support and engage with human rights issues in their communities. Our longstanding experience shows that documentaries have the potential to promote much-needed discussions, creating spaces for communities to question inequalities while also enabling them to define their own solutions to overcome these inequalities and promote sustainable development.

Through our unique film selection, all of THE WHY’s documentaries have linkages to the Sustainable Development Goals. By watching our films, communities enhance their understanding of these goals and how they can contribute towards achieving them.

Finally, documentary films have the unique power to bring together community members from different backgrounds – students, policy makers, health care workers, businesses and more. They are brought together through a common curiosity and desire to learn about human rights issues. In this way, we open up an avenue for multi stakeholder dialogue and for finding common solutions to human rights challenges by working together.

For more information about how we empower communities through documentary films,
visit our

Impact Report