The Awra Amba Experience

An interactive web documentary

Directed and Produced by Paulina Tervo and Serdar Ferit

“The Project Development Fund from WorldView allowed us to take the first steps in the development of our very ambitious cross media project ‘Awra Amba’. In 2 years, the project has grown from an independent short documentary to a much bigger project, that touches upon some of the most important development challenges we are faced with today. WIth WorldView’s support, we were able to travel to Ethiopia to shoot more content for our web documentary and edit a trailer. The team has been very supportive of our project from its early stages and their backing has been vital in securing further support for the project. For documentary filmmakers like us, passionate about examining complex global issues (often ignored by mainstream news channels), organisations like WorldView are very important”.
Paulina Tervo

What is the Awra Amba Community?

Awra Amba is a small weaving community located in the Amhara region, in Northern Ethiopia. Despite being in one of the poorest and most conservative areas in the world, they have been able to achieve something extraordinary.

Founded in 1972 by Zumra Nuru, now an old man, the community consists of 400 people from different tribal and religious backgrounds. They follow a humanist philosophy including gender equality, democratic decision-making and solidarity. Early marriage has been replaced by education. Instead of aid, they work hard and strive for sustainable development. Religious practices have been abandoned, instead respecting all human beings, despite colour, race or gender, equally.

Lately, Zumra has become a prominent national figure, whose community development efforts have earned him an honorary PhD. People from all around the world make the journey to learn from his teachings. Now Zumra is keen for his message to spread outside of his country, and to see equality and peace in the forefront of a global debate.

What is the Awra Amba Experience?

The Awra Amba Experience is an interactive web documentary about the Awra Amba community’s philosophies and lifestyle, produced in collaboration with the community. You will be able to explore the village virtually on your computer or a tablet device, clicking on 10 huts in an interactive landscape. Each hut opens an immersive 360 environment inside, where you will meet the people and discover their fascinating stories through films, photographs and discussions.

Over a period of 10 weeks, we invite audiences to discuss 10 global themes, which not only represent the values in Awra Amba, but also reflect contemporary issues that we are all faced with. By taking part in the discussion, both with the Awra Amba community and other viewers from around the world, you will contribute to a collective weaving project. Every single audience contribution will be visualised as a new thread in a growing scarf. The more you contribute, the more the scarf grows and the richers the discussion becomes.

After 10 weeks, Awra Amba will use the emerged pattern and weave a real scarf, as created by the audience. This product will be available to purchase from the website, launching a new fair trade textile business.


Featured on BBC World News
Review in The F Word
The Guardian
Deutsche Welle