I had the opportunity to meet Celia Grenning who is CEO of Kyeema Foundation. Celia and I clicked immediately as we both lived in Africa and we feel very strongly about issues and challenges that the continent faces. Celia has a rich history of professionalism in NGOs and humanitarian efforts all over Africa.
Kyeema Foundation supports local solutions to empower lives. This is a significant and meaningful sentence and we talked about the many initiatives which are well-intentioned in Africa but somehow fail to translate into positives for Africans. Kyeema is an Aboriginal Australian word which means "of the dawn". The foundation was started in 2003 to help a group of Australian vets and agricultural scientists with a programme of vaccination for backyard chickens making a sizeable impact on the lives of many Africans.
A lot of African families rely on the few chickens they have in their backyard to supply them with eggs and meat. They are what can be conveniently described as "petty cash on legs." They don't have to spend too much to get the chickens and feeding them is also inexpensive. So chickens are a very good source of protein and food for many low-income families. But the chickens are vulnerable to something called Newcastle Disease, which kills the chickens.
Australian vets and scientists have developed a vaccine which is not heat sensitive (hugely important in Africa where there may be no refrigeration) and which can effectively reduce the incidence of this disease. It is extremely cost-effective and the results are significant for the poor in Africa. So this is an idea which is successful and doable at reasonable costs and makes a huge difference to those backyards where the chickens are needed most.
This is empowering for the women, who often are looking after the chickens and is a sure way to offer better nutrition for their families.
The Australian Festival of African Film Brisbane launch is a fundraiser for KYEEMA and the future of the festival in Queensland. It is a delightful programme of films from Africa, panel discussions, an African buffet and much more.
It is on for just for one day here in Brisbane, so take this opportunity to enjoy the films, eat African food and engage in meaningful discussions on how you can be the change.
The Festival is divided into two sessions.
In the first session between 4 - 7 pm there will be screenings of two documentaries followed by a panel discussion featuring Peter Greste who has had a rich, varied and challenging time as a journalist in Africa and who now teaches Journalism at the University of Queensland. This will be followed by two short films by Australian directors Santilla Chingaipe and Eddy Belly, with live performance responses by two local artists.
In the interval Mu'ooz Eritrean Restaurant & Catering will provide a delicious dinner, whilst the audience is entertained with music, fashion and in language audience interviews about the films.