"Sanitation" (2013)

featuring artists Shadow, J-Glo, 5YA, Jacob-V, Chiller Coolnanee

Directed and edited by Faron Films Production, Liberia
Instrumentation: Shadow's Entertainment, Liberia
Mixing: Kells Records, Liberia
Mastering: Ari Mastoras, Rhodes Recordings, Edmonton, AB, Canada
Executive Production: Michael Frishkopf, University of Alberta, Edmonton
Funding: Rotary Club of Calgary

"Sanitation" is a critical documentary music video about the dire health issues afflicting post-war Liberia and much of the developing world: unsafe water, inadequate waste facilities, and resulting disease.

Created entirely by Liberian musicians and producers, supported by an ongoing international partnership, this short fuses documentary and music video genres to address public health issues, raising awareness, educating, and engaging community aiming to change attitudes and behavior, both locally and globally.

For the developed world, Sanitation confronts viewers with an uncomfortable ethical challenge: How can the viewer enjoy both physical and moral comfort without addressing the most basic needs of fellow human beings?

Simultaneously, Sanitation asks Liberians to recognize and address known environmental risks, through practical, affordable strategies to reduce them.

The video's power relies on the triple impact of music, text, and image, amplified through the mass media, and guided by the broader partnership with experts in ethnomusicology, media arts, and public health.

Music - centered on West African hip-hop/R&B with both local and global appeal draws attention. Images stir visceral emotion, but also suggest solutions. Lyrics critique, warn, and advise. Mass media disseminate via web-based social media, and on Liberian television.

"Sanitation" represents one cycle in an ongoing, expanding international participatory action research network, Giving Voice to Hope (GV2H: bit.ly/gv2hwikia),
including Liberian artists and media companies, alongside people and organizations from the University of Alberta (the Canadian Centre for Ethnomusicology, the Centre for the Cross Cultural Study of Health & Healing), the Edmonton community (e.g. Rhodes Recordings), and international charitable organizations (e.g. the NYC-based GroundUp Global; the Liberia-based Center for Youth Empowerment).

The Rotary Club of Calgary (rotaryclubofcalgary.org/) generously funded this video project as part of a series entitled "Songs for sustainable development and peace" (bit.ly/songssdp). We are most grateful for their support.

We welcome other individuals or organizations who wish to join us in Giving Voice to Hope.

Michael Frishkopf (michaelf@ualberta.ca)

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