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Empowering women through film

8 March 2011

The centenary today of International Women’s Day (8 March), is being marked with the launch of a BIG Lottery-funded film tackling the traumatic issues of violence against women in Zambia.

Penelope, the film’s director, and her fellow filmmakers


The film has been part funded by Big Lottery Fund (BIG) which invests in projects that promote opportunities for women both in the UK and overseas.

Camfed International is launching Hidden Truth, a film that tells the harrowing stories of five women who have suffered abuse at the hands of their partners, and shows the severe impact on the children who have witnessed this abuse. The inspiring and thought-provoking documentary was produced by disadvantaged women in rural Zambia who were trained by Camfed to become skilled filmmakers.

The BIG-funded project has employed this emotive way of raising awareness of violence against women while at the same time empowering them through film.

Ann Cotton, Executive Director, Camfed International, said: “In supporting the production of Hidden Truth, the Big Lottery Fund has helped amplify the voices of women whose perspectives are too seldom heard. I have tremendous respect for the courage of Penelope, the film’s director, and her fellow filmmakers, the women who have spoken out.  Together they have broken the silence around abuse and brought the truth to light.  In a culture where women have traditionally been discouraged from expressing their opinions, these brave filmmakers are opening up unprecedented dialogue on the issue.”

The film is part of Camfed’s four-year Combating Violence Against Women project funded through BIG’s International Communities programme. In 2007, Camfed International received £515,509 to tackle issues of domestic violence and sexual assault in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Ghana.

Camfed’s project has already succeeded in increasing protection for women from gender-based violence, and engaged men in discussions and the championing of women’s rights. Camfed have also encouraged wider discussions about this often taboo subject and raised its importance across communities.

Peter Wanless, Big Lottery Fund Chief Executive, said: “This sensitive film shows the real impact of domestic violence on the lives of women and their families. The issues that it raises are relevant to communities around the world, especially today – on the notable landmark of the centenary of International Women’s Day.

“BIG is proud to support Camfed in its work with some of the most disadvantaged communities overseas and I feel that the launch of this film can only serve to strengthen their important message.”

To view an excerpt from Hidden Truth and to find out more about other work Camfed is involved in to promote International Women’s Day, please visit

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