International aid agency Concern Worldwide has launched its first ever 360-degree video, which gives viewers a deeper look at the realities facing millions of people living in extreme poverty around the world.
This eye-opening three-minute video - titled ‘A Journey to Hope’- places the viewer right beside a South Sudanese woman and her baby son as they survive on rations in a refugee camp in Ethiopia after fleeing a bloody attack on their village.
“My nightmares wake me up… Life is difficult here,” says Nyakoun Tut (24) in the video, which was filmed for Concern by Dublin based Nomos Productions using the latest in 360-video recording.
Nyakoun is one of 890,000 refugees living in what is one of the world’s largest refugee camps in Gambella, Western Ethiopia, after fleeing war, famine and drought in neighbouring countries.
The viewer will feel like they have been physically transported into Nyakoun’s home in Gambella and, when using virtual reality glasses, they feel like they are actually standing alongside her and her family.
The viewer sees the same scenery and hears the same sounds as Nyakoun as she goes about her daily routine and brings her son to a feeding centre where he is treated for malnourishment.
The video is part of a four-year Irish Aid funded initiative launched in September called Project Us, which aims to raise awareness of overseas development work and of the UN’s ‘Sustainable Development Goals” – which include ending poverty and conflict.
Concern said it hopes the 360 degree video will deepen the Irish public’s understanding of the necessity of these global goals and provide more insight into what life is like for people living in extreme poverty.
Concern’s Communications Director, Sarah Martin, said: “We hope this immersive form of storytelling will inform people about the daily realities facing millions of people around the world.
“I’ve been to Gambella and heard the stories of the refugees who have fled there from South Sudan. They are mainly women and children who saw their loved ones shot or maimed in front of them.
“South Sudan is not getting a huge amount of attention and this 360-video is also another way for us to try and do what we can get the stories of its refugees out there.”
Concern said members of the public can watch the video on its Facebook page and that while it can be watched without using virtual reality glasses, they recommend using them to get a more immersive experience.
The NGO recently showcased the 360-video in Dublin’s at the ‘Answer Ireland’s Call’ Youth Summit on Peace, Justice and the Sustainable Development Goals, hosted by Concern and the National Youth Council of Ireland, where it was well received by attendees.
Most of the refugees in Gambella, where the video was shot, are from South Sudan, which has been torn by civil war since 2013, just two years after it became the world’s youngest country when it won independence.
The South Sudanese conflict, as well as a collapsing economy, resulted in the United Nations declaring famine in February with 100,000 people facing starvation in some parts of the country.
The devastation has left 4.8 million of the country’s 12.2 million population severely food insecure and almost two million people have been forced to flee to neighbouring countries.