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Using Visuals to Change the World - With David Gough

While we sit at ease in safe environments there are many communities around the world going through vulnerable situations with inadequate or even non-existent resources, threatened in terms of health, safety or well-being.


This week, I would like to introduce to you - Mr. David Gough. He is a filmmaker and journalist with a special expertise in humanitarian issues. He has worked as a correspondent in east Africa for The Guardian Newspaper. He established and ran an award-winning United Nation’s Film Unit in Africa before taking over the UN Film and Special Projects Unit in New York.



David ran an award winning film unit with the United Nations


David discovered his passion for portraying monetary issues through films and through visuals in the late 1990s while he worked for ‘The Guardian’ based in Nairobi (Kenya). Out of the twelve countries he worked, ten were at war at that moment, thus, he was constantly running around from one crisis to another and seeing the situations up front. Being frustrated about the decline of audience in newspaper and people transitioning into TV news led him to work for Sky News. After he found out that the Editors weren’t interested in his taste of stories and rather preferred stories of British tourists and wildlife, he joined the UN and set up a film unit to start telling humanitarian stories in a way that brought this crisis to people's attention.

“The courage in journalism is sticking up for the unpopular, not the popular”

Mr. David stuck to the ‘unpopular’ stories of Africa and portrayed the gravity of the situation through a lens, in an ever-increasing attempt to try and get the message through to as many people as possible. Having seen immense sufferings from his eyes he took an initiative to make the world a better place.

“Every work brings its own challenges”- working as a Journalist and a Seeker in Africa came with its own set of challenges. All the facilities we take for granted became a gruesome challenge in Africa. David was no exception to this as he had his share of hardships and challenges.


One of the most impactful events in David’s time in Africa was the first significant Al Qaeda attack which took place at the U.S Embassies in Nairobi (Kenya) and Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) simultaneously and he being one of the few journalists on ground zero. The number of deaths and large-scale injuries had never been witnessed by him in any other crisis or conflict before. The carnage borne by this type of terrorism was not rampant the way it was then. People helping each other in such a scenario really moved him immensely.






With the ongoing catastrophes in our environment, the situation is likely to get worse with time if left unattended. It is heroes like David who leave an impact on us, changing the view of our world. Even after witnessing the depth of the human suffering he never backed off, kept his courage and acted for the greater good. Thus, David comes as a unifying force capable of bringing us all together in support of a common ethic. Listen to his full interview here.

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