An ongoing look at a few of the films screening at this year’s Wild & Scenic Film Festival |

An ongoing look at a few of the films screening at this year’s Wild & Scenic Film Festival

Editor’s Note: This is the second of a four-week series of Prospector and Spotlight reviews leading up to the 18th Wild & Scenic Film Festival in Nevada City and Grass Valley, Jan. 16-20.

Our Gorongosa

Nelson Mandela said, “Conservationists must take into account the needs of people around the reserve.” Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique follows this prescription well. It does far more than restore the wild animal populations that were reduced by 95% after years of a war for independence then a civil war.

The film “Our Gorongosa: A Park for the People” shows park programs that promote the well-being of Mozambique’s citizens. As is the case in other places in Africa and around the world, the programs key on empowering women toward improving everyone’s quality of life.

A program called “Model Moms” addresses hunger and the 45% of children who are malnourished. They educate women about nutrition and cooking and the ingredients they use. Kids get sick less. Besides help feeding kids, they provide seeds and help with farming practices.

A program called “Midwives” helps with births and infancy and includes bringing women to health clinics. Instruction introduces family planning, a sensitive topic.

Programs encourage that girls stay in school, emphasizing studying over teenager marriage and having too many children. Studying instills pride and provides opportunities beyond tending children and fetching water. The Park now hires women as teachers and rangers, traditionally men-only jobs. Girls – and boys – see women as role models.

Gorongosa exposes kids to the park’s wonders of elephants, lions, zebras, impala, monkeys and such, including the park’s economic importance. So often, social justice is a sibling to environmental justice. “Our Gorongosa” showcases the National Park as a fine example.

Chuck Jaffee of Grass Valley likes to plug people into the spirit of independent filmmakers. Find his other articles for The Union at

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