In advance of this public viewing program, Sony issued a call for interns to participate in order to acquire on-site experience. From a host of enthusiastic applicants, two students were selected to be interns.
In Tanzania, the interns joined with Sony employees and engaged in work including the setting up and removal of equipment, and production of a video documenting the shows. They also had interchange with members of the staff of the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM). Through this communication, they obtained firsthand knowledge of the situation in Africa and insights into what we can all do to help.
* What did you feel about CSR activities?
I realized that big benefits could be induced by forming partnerships with local NGOs and international organizations, and then making effective use of their respective resources, as opposed to merely providing financial aid to the host country or organization. I also was attracted to the approach of instructing local NGO trainees in how to use the equipment and taking other steps to ensure ongoing effects instead of just having a one-time connection. In particular, I thought that perspectives taking account of continuing benefit into the future and effective use of company resources as only Sony could will not only contribute to attainment of the Millennium Development Goals but also be of value for the further advancement of the international community.
People conventionally focus on companies for their profit-making activities, but have come to realize that this cannot be the sole concern in the global community from now on. Companies as well are going to be increasingly called upon to mount approaches to global issues together with international institutions, NGOs, and other such entities. In light of this trend, I think the public viewing program was a landmark one as a case of private-sector action, for a number of reasons. Firstly, besides taking action alone, Sony engaged in close coordination with local NGOs and international institutions. Secondly, instead of providing funding and material aid, the program conveyed the joys of entertainment to the viewers. And thirdly, we gave the local people training in the technology so that the assistance would have sustainability. I felt that these features gave me both worthwhile and vital perspectives for considering social contribution as a responsible member of society.
Two students from Stellenbosch Academy in South Africa, which won the Student Focus category of the Sony World Photography Awards, were on the Sony team and documented the public viewing events using photographs and video. Sony presented the Academy with two AX2000 video cameras and two α55 digital single-lens reflex cameras. These products will be put to extensive use in photography classes at the Academy.
Our creative brief was to produce and record the Sony and AMREF documentary films with an emphasis on personal impact. Key to this was the program's ability to excite ones imagination in order to make HIV/AIDS awareness effective. The students were challenged with filming on both stills and video cameras. It was interesting to observe how they adjusted to new technicalities and creative experimentation. They also had to regulate to another pace and style of production and to work within a team.
Our two students, Wikus and Robert soaked up all the information they could from the team of experts with varying and overlapping skills gained from working in the film and photographic industry. Having come from a stills background the boys were suddenly faced with the challenge of filming. The concept of “the moment” shifts and methods of anticipating a worthy image are dealt with on an altered time scale. It was interesting for me to observe how the students learnt to adjust to new technicalities and creative experimentation. In addition to this they had to regulate to another pace and style of production and to work within a team. Not to mention acquainting to the heat and engaging in cultural differences. It has been an amazing experience for all involved, the academy is really appreciative of this opportunity by Sony and World Photography Organisation.
The Tanzania trip was an uplifting experience which stimulated our minds and hearts. It obliged us to question our own stereotypes and to challenge our mode of production. At the end of the day we realized that it's about stepping back, slowing down and using our skills with purpose and meaning as opposed to merely adding to the current global visual pollution.
By Jackie Murray, Head of Photography
Stellenbosch Academy of Design and Photography
We sent three junior engineers to Tanzania for the public viewing program to serve as members of the technical staff, in order to enhance their awareness of social contribution in remarkably growing markets, have them learn about the prevailing circumstances and needs in the region, and let them integrate this takeaway in future business activities.
In Tanzania, these employees helped to set up and operate the equipment used for the public viewing and contributed to provide technical instruction to AMREF staff.