Thursday, February 10, 2011

Our Weekly Logs @ UNIFEM

Week #1 - 4 to 7 Jan
Although some of us have been exposed to the various types of injustice that women around the world can suffer from (through lessons and the gender inequality IDE), we were still quite shaken and taken aback when we watched the videos that Minnie and Melissa showed us on the first day of the attachment. It is a constant reminder of how girls our age or even younger than us live such a different life, one that leaves them in constant fear and worry. It makes us feel even more strongly for this cause that UNIFEM strongly believes in, and makes the task assigned to us so much easier to carry out simply because we can at least sympathize with these girls/women that are denied of their rights. If planning and executing this video screening program would help to raise more awareness and encourage more people to be proactive in UNIFEM activities, our goal would have been considered reached.

Our task is to come up with a proposal in the form of a Concept Note. We are to plan a Video Screening session to be held somewhere in mid-February, so as to raise even more awareness about UNIFEM’s cause and to encourage more people to be proactive in playing an active part. We feel that coming up with a Concept Note as a proposal is creative and efficient as it allows all of us to fully visualize everything that we are planning for, and helps us all to get a clearer view of what we are doing. We feel that planning for this Video Screening Session is very meaningful as we ourselves are doing something that will further the cause in protecting girls and women’s rights.

Week #2 - 10 to 14 Jan
Once again, We are reminded of how tough event planning is. Just this week alone, we have edited and re-edited the concept note countless times. It might be rather frustrating at times to know that what we have done for the proposal so far is still not enough, and that we have to work further on it to improve it, but we realize that that is all part of the learning experience. Our video list is getting more and more extensive by the day, and we believe that it is not a biased or prejudiced view but an objective presentation of the current situation, allowing our audiences think critically and decide for themselves which side to stand on. By refining the proposal so many times, we actually get a clearer view of what is going to happen on the event day itself, and feel that we will be better prepared for the situation.

The session at UNIFEM this week was rather taxing as the concept note, feedback form, video list, poster, flow of events and etc had to be re-edited so many times. However, at the end of the day, we felt that the experience was rewarding because we finally felt that we were getting somewhere, and we could actually picture and see the event taking shape in our minds. Despite the fatigue because of the constant changes of almost every aspect of our project, we feel closer to our goal than we've had in the 2 weeks we’ve spent in UNIFEM. No doubt, there will be many more obstacles ahead of us, but right now we can see that our hard work and effort put in has finally begun showing results.

Week #3 - 17 to 21 Jan
Publicizing the event as well as finding a guest speaker is harder than we expected. It feels so difficult to let the world know about this small event that we’ve all planned so hard for, and to get them to take the effort to come down and attend this event is even harder. The concept note and video list are almost in the last stages of completion, which is a great relief, as we have almost 10 different versions of each respective document. Right now, our main tasks are to publicize the event and to confirm a guest speaker who will come down to educate the public about domestic violence. We have a feeling that this two tasks alone might be harder than what we’ve already done in the past two weeks, but we are determined to be tenacious in the face of any adversities that are to come.

We are currently trying not to feel too dejected, as all of the organizations that we have contacted have not gotten back to us on whether they will be able to provide a guest speaker for the event. We know that the presence of a guest speaker is perhaps the most important segment of the whole Video Screening event, and without a guest speaker, the event cannot go on. Thus, we are all quite worried and really hoping that at least 1 or 2 organizations from our whole list of contacts would get back to us on this matter soon.

Even though we wish for others to help us in this video sharing session, we find it very hard to publicize about this event so that others will be interested and would be more encouraged to help us. Also, we realize that although it is a video sharing session, the guest speaker segment is actually the most important segment of the night as it is the one with more power to impact audiences. The guest speaker has tons of experience in the area of domestic violence, and thus is the one who is the most apt to educate the masses on it.

On the last day this week, we were overjoyed that someone finally replied to our request for a guest speaker, and we’re heaved a sigh of relief at yet another difficult task that has passed by us. Getting a guest speaker has got to be one of the most difficult tasks throughout this whole attachment. It wasn’t something that required effort on only our parts, and a lot of waiting had to be done in order to get a reply. We know that we are not nearly done yet, as we still have to publicize the event, but I we're just a tiny bit alleviated to know that we have secured a guest speaker!

Week #4 - 24 to 28 Jan
True enough, our task is not yet over even though this was the last week of the wow attachment! We were still very busy, and it took a lot of effort to contact the schools and organizations in order to let them know about this event. We are glad for Minnie’s help in publicizing this video sharing event though, without her we might not be able to reach out to as many school as we are right now. Coincidentally, she will be giving many talks on domestic violence to the different schools in Singapore and she will use the chance to give out the posters at these talks, so that the interest that has been ignited in the students during these talks will not be wasted and they will be encouraged to attend the video sharing session. Hopefully, more and more people will learn about our video sharing session, and they will turn up on 17th Feb. Our effort will then not be wasted but most of all, we will be playing a part in protecting the rights of women and girls around the world.

Although this week was rather smooth sailing, we were in for a shock. Minnie came in one morning this week and told us that the picture that we had on the poster was inappropriate. It was really a shocker because we thought that we had already confirmed the design of the poster, and we thought that everything was okay. It was the last week, after all! Minnie had already printed hundreds of copies of the poster, and started circulating it at the schools that she went to give talks to. We were all quite stricken and worried because it is never a simple matter dealing with copyright issues, and we had to quickly do some damage control. Minnie helped a lot; she did not dwell on what we did wrong but immediately asked us to find another picture suitable to be put on the poster. Mellisa had sent an email to us in the earlier stages of the poster design but somehow, there was a communication error between all of us and the message did not pass through. So we continued working with the same poster, and Mellisa was shocked to see it printed out with the same design that she thought was inappropriate. Finding an appropriate picture was the hardest task for today, as almost everything on the internet is copyrighted. Minnie tried going through all the internal UNIFEM pictures to see if there was something suitable to be used, but there was nothing much. In the end, Minnie decided to use one of the internet photos, but to add the copyright on the poster. So one of us quickly set to work, making the changes to the poster while the rest worked to make the blurb sound more interesting so that others would be more eager to attend the UNIFEM video screening event. The dry run was rather successful, except for a few hiccups here and there, like the videos lagging and the audio jack went missing. Minnie was very encouraging and she told us not to be so nervous and to calm down if we were panicking on the actual day. She gave us many pointers and we made some minor changes to the script to make the whole thing more smooth sailing.

After this whole experience, we can definitely say for sure that events’ planning is not simple at all. It’s hectic, intense, and definitely heart-stopping at times. We used one month to plan an event that will last for two hours, and the effort put in is definitely not a small amount. There were so many obstacles to get through, so many hiccups, but we got through all of them in the end. Of course, this is not over yet, as we still have to find caterers, and come back for the event on 17th February. This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. Though it might be, the end of the beginning. This WOW attachment is only the beginning, and we're looking forward to all the other challenges that we will face, be it in events planning or in other areas of life.

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