USAID Oceans is a partnership between USAID and the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC). Their joint mission has the goal of building a more sustainable fishing industry across the Asia-Pacific region.
The organization hired Lexicon to produce two videos about gender inequities in Southeast Asia’s fisheries. The intent was to use the videos as training materials, to raise awareness of the unique challenges that women face in the industry.
Lexicon in Action
The project involved script writing, storyboarding, graphics and animation, a 5-day shoot onsite at a fishing community in General Santos City in the Philippines, as well as extensive video editing. To do the job right, Lexicon needed all hands on deck.
The topic is both sensitive and complex, so our writers had to put their researcher hats on before putting together the two scripts.
They discovered a complex but fascinating dynamic:
In Southeast Asia’s fisheries, men generally perform the more dangerous and physically demanding tasks – fishing out at sea, and hauling their catches to shore. But women make up 50% of the industry’s workforce, performing essential tasks like mending nets, preparing boats, and selling the processed fish at markets – not to mention unpaid labor such as managing family finances, caring for the children, and completing countless other household chores.
Without women, fisheries simply couldn’t function. And yet, women often face workplace discrimination and harrassment. Moreover, they are largely excluded from holding influential positions and participating in crucial decision-making. Better education could empower women in Southeast Asia’s fishing industries to reach their full potential – ultimately leading to more equitable, sustainable, and prosperous fishing communities.
Our content writers worked closely with the client to incorporate these ideas into two clear scripts: the first offering a general survey of the issues, and the second delving more deeply into the potential solutions.
Next, the design team – working closely with the content team – sketched out visual storyboards for the two scripts. These served as a guide for the video team, while giving the client a better idea of what the final videos would look like.
With these storyboards and scripts, the video team was nearly ready to go. Before departing for the Philippines, the video team worked with USAID Oceans to develop an itinerary for the shoot. This step made sure everyone was on the same page regarding timing and locations for filming.
The video team spent five days shooting around General Santos City. Locations included the local fishing community of Bula, the main port, and the fish markets.
The team was up at 4am each day to make sure they caught the very earliest activities at the port, along with shots of the sunrise and surrounding natural scenery. They returned in the late afternoons, for extra shots of the empty port and fish market. To capture panoramic shots of the bay, the video team also flew the Lexicon drone over the port.
While shooting, the team spoke with many different people in the fishing community. These conversations gave the Lexicon team a deeper understanding of what working in the fishing industry is like – for both women and men. These perspectives would help shape and inform the final videos.
After an exhausting but highly successful shoot in the Philippines, the video team got to work on the editing process.
Our voice-over artist recorded the scripts, delivering the narration with empathy and gravitas. The video team then spent many long hours arranging and editing shots around the voiceover, adding sound effects and on-screen text to enhance the impact of key moments. The next step was to color-grade the footage to make everything look consistently smooth.
The design team also created animation to illustrate important concepts like ‘Equality vs Equity’ and the ‘Gender Resource Map’.
After the client signed off on the final videos, the final step was to add subtitles – English, Thai, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.
The final videos capture the essence of working in a Southeast Asian fishery, while offering a powerful message of equity and inclusion.
The two videos were posted to the USAID Oceans website and social media pages. They were widely praised, and even retweeted by the Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries Section (GAFS) of the Asian Fisheries Society, another NGO working in the field.
The videos will help USAID Oceans in their mission to develop gender-sensitive solutions in the region. Over time, efforts of this kind will hopefully lead to more equitable communities, as well as more sustainable and successful fisheries across Southeast Asia.
The Hidden Half, Part I
Of course, the video team treated this project with the seriousness it deserved. But there was still room to have some fun behind the scenes …