Screenings and Debates Workshop

NomadsHRC teamed up with the National Union of Sahrawi Women (UNMS) and FiSahara to offer a film impact workshop that was training women community leaders from the Sahrawi refugee camps to organise film screenings and debates. The film impact workshop took place in October 2020 with COVID-19 preventative measures.

Fifteen women from the five wilayas or camps (Ausserd, Smara, Dakhla, El Aaiún and Bojador) were learning how to use film to spark conversations and debates around vital themes for the community using cultural, communication and educational films and videos, many of them produced in the refugee camps.

Sahrawi instructors Nura Bena Baha and Ebneta Najih, from the refugee camps, in collaboration with Algerian trainer Nadia Brahmi, were training participants on how to identify main issues, define and identify target audiences, curate issue-specific films that are appropriate, informative and engaging to these target audiences, identify guests for the discussions and organize speaking panels. For closed-door screenings and discussions dealing with particularly sensitive topics, participants learnt how to make target audiences comfortable by providing a welcoming, secure environment.

Projectionist and technical trainer for the workshop Liha Abderrahman, also a graduate of EFA Abidin Kaid Saleh, shared her own experience and the difficulties she has experienced as a woman filmmaker, given Sahrawi women’s multiple responsibilities as carers and providers in their homes.

Film is a relatively new art form and tool in Western Sahara, where culture is mostly transmitted through oral traditions. The sessions delved into the value of cinema and explored how film can also act as a catalyst for discussions that can produce profound social change through education and outreach.

The film sessions included:

  • The power of cinema as a tool for social change
  • Women as peacebuilders
  • Confronting Taboo and Sensitive Issues through Film
  • A Discussion on the impact of new technologies in the camps


The participants have returned to their communities with newfound skills, which they are putting into action through community screenings. In addition, the women said that they have sharpened teamwork skills.

We are now ready to use film to raise awareness and educate and, in essence, to better our society” One participant concluded.

Most importantly, participants explained that many Sahrawi women lack self-confidence, especially to speak out in public. “This workshop has given us a boost in self-confidence because we worked in at atmosphere of mutual respect and group encouragement” said one of the participants. “Public speaking is generally very difficult for us, particularly when audiences include men. We are now ready to take them on“.

Partners: National Union of Sahrawi Women (UNMS), FiSahara

Supported by: Movies that Matter, Dimes Foundation, Bertha Foundation.

Privacy Preference Center