VIDEO: ‘It’s a battle to survive’

An intimate short doc charts one family’s struggle to get through Sierra Leone’s hunger season.

When we meet Alie Kamara, he has one bowl of cassava root in his store room. It’s all he has left to see him, and his family, through the hungriest three months of the year.

His story – told by citizen reporter Mohamed Dauda Kamara – paints an intimate portrait of seasonal hunger, a silent crisis that affects over a million people every year in Sierra Leone, West Africa.

In 2021, Dauda filmed Alie Kamara’s family over three months – July to September in 2021– on a mobile phone. The resulting seven-minute documentary film follows Kamara, a farmer and stone-miner, as he and his wife, M’balu Kanu, who is seven months pregnant, navigate the toughest period of the year.

Their struggles are mirrored worldwide – in 2020, the numbers of people who lacked adequate food jumped by 320 million. As climate change threatens to play havoc with harvests in the tropics, the vulnerability of families like Kamara’s, who rely on agriculture, will only increase.

This film has been produced by On Our Radar’s Sierra Leonean citizen reporter network. It was commissioned by New Internationalist for the Food Justice files.

Credits: Reporter, director, camera: Mohamed Dauda Kamara. Producer, co-director: Chris Walter. Editor: Owen Kean. Executive Producer: Paul Myles. Additional camera: Jengie Amara Olux. Sound mix :19 Sound. Translation support by Musa Bundu and Eastina Taylor.

With special thanks to Alie Kamara and M’balu Kanu


The Food Justice files are funded by the European Journalism Centre through its European Development Journalism Grants programme, which is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.