Behind the Scenes with ETI

Empower Tanzania has long been employing technology to deliver vital health information to those living in rural Tanzania. This month, staff and volunteers are hard at work on five new videos to be released next month in Same District and Kagera Region. The reach of these videos is wide — each will serve 630,000 people by using 141 trained Community Health Educators who will present each video 12 times per month! Here are a few behind-the-scenes highlights of our most recent video shoot:

THE WRITER: ETI Program Director Dr. Jeff Carithers wrote the scripts for five new videos being created in a new partnership with World Vision Tanzania to provide public health education focusing on pregnant women and children under two-years-old in northern Tanzania. Scripts are translated into Swahili and delivered by our actors.

THE VIDEOGRAPHER: Mark Burnham, videographer for Unity Point Health, shot the videos. We are grateful to Unity Point and Iowa Methodist Medical Center for allowing Empower Tanzania to use Mark and his studio for filming!

Mark Burnham films as the actors run through the scene prompted with a script shown on an iPad, which serves as telepromptor.

THE CAST & CREW: Gwantwa Mwakalundwa, MD, plays the role of a doctor in the videos, and Fatma Mohamed plays the role of a pregnant patient. Assisting with the filming are Jerusa Kamala, MD, Dorica Sempambo, Niruba Gopinathan, and Dr. Carithers.

Dr. Jerusa Kamala (far right) is a recently retired OB/GYN physician in Des Moines who is originally from Kagera Region, Tanzania. Dr. Mwakalundwa (in white) does AIDS research at the University of Minnesota and is also originally from Tanzania, as is Dorica (not pictured). Fatma (in white and black) lives in Des Moines and is originally from Kenya.

#OscarsSoWhite: Not here! We are thrilled with the role models of diversity Fatma and Gwantwa represent. One is Christian, one is Muslim; one is Black, the other is Arab; and both are women.

THE DEDICATION: We continue to be amazed by the dedication of our staff and volunteers. This devotion is exemplified by Gwantwa, who used vacation time from work to drive to Iowa from Minneapolis for the filming, and Fatma, whose family had tickets to Disney World, but cancelled the trip due to the filming schedule. Impressive commitment on the parts of both these women! We are so grateful.

Watch for the complete videos on our YouTube Channel!