United Nations - Great Green Wall
Ghana & Burkina Faso
Africa’s flagship initiative to combat the effects of climate change and desertification,
the “Great Green Wall” refers to a patchwork of productive, green landscapes across North Africa designed to address the challenges faced by the people of the Sahel and the Sahara brought about by drought and degradation of natural resources. The project involves over 20 countries and the collaboration of 23 regional and international partners seeking to help communities mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change, supporting the sustainable management of forests, rangelands and other natural resources.
In partnership with the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, I travelled to Paga in northern Ghana and Burkina Faso with Aduna to make a film about Julius Awaregya and his work with the baobab harvest.
Baobab trees grow across Africa and can live for up to 5,000 years. Many Savannah communities chose to centre individual homes around a baobab tree; providing shelter, food and water for animals and humans, but migration to cities and other countries in recent decades left the baobab endangered; communities simply forgetting about their value.
Julius's organisation (ORGIIS) supports 35 communities in northern Ghana and Burkina Faso to harvest and process their baobab fruits, considered a superfood internationally, and the partnership with Aduna has provided vital access to a market for the fruits to be sold outside Ghana. This has both generated a new and sustainable source of income for the women who look after the trees and helped to preserve the natural environment.
This project has been a highlight of 2019; an adventure and a fantastic story. The people I met were some of the happiest I’ve ever crossed paths with and the welcome and hospitality we received was unforgettable. It was a privilege to spend time in these communities, gain some insight into their way of life and hopefully shine some light on one amazing part of the Great Green Wall initiative. An inspiring, moving and challenging experience that I’m lucky to have been part of.
Filmed over three days with plenty of time on the road between our base in Bolgatanga, Julius’s HQ in Paga and the rural communities, the production needed a lightweight and easily portable camera setup. Excluding the pieces to camera, I chose to shoot handheld with the Canon C200. Sound was recorded on camera through the Rode NT3 shotgun microphone and interview lighting was controlled by a Matthews Roadrags II kit and Litepanels Astra 6X Daylight.
Produced by Aduna
Directed and filmed by James Ward
Based in the UK and travelling all over the world, I make cinematic films that tell stories for a diverse range of clients spanning commercial to charitable and everything in between, including M&C Saatchi, Mr & Mrs Smith, GlaxoSmithKline and Alzheimer’s Research UK.
I studied in the UK and South Africa, graduating with a degree in Politics and International Relations in 2012. I’m passionate about anthropology and adventure; my job allows me to explore both in the creative telling of brand journeys, fund raising and marketing campaigns; personal missions and achievements; and stories about us and our environment.
Approachable, consultative and usually involved from the outset with storyboarding and script-writing, I work hard to develop and realise my clients’ ideas to the best of their potential. I’m proud to have produced films that have variously supported multi-million pound fund raises, received 60+ million social media views and given a platform to quiet heroes.
1 Burr Close
17 Spottiswoode Street