“HandiVIH” is a current project from the French Research Institute for Development Aid, IRD. The aim of this study is to explore the relationship between disability and HIV infection in Cameroon. Alexander Schücke and Alexander Lorenz from mindnapped traveled to Yaoundé to film interviews with 5 participants of the study as well as 2 experts during the final week of fieldwork. The result of the shooting will be a documentary that communicates the results of the research project to the public.
The scientists involved have conducted interviews with more than 1,600 people with disabilities. Amongst those were people with visual and auditory impairments, mental handicaps and different degrees of physical disabilities. This is the first research project done in this area. In future studies, the scientists hope to address more precisely these particular types of disabilities. Nevertheless the results of this study alone may lead to concrete proposals for action for HIV prevention and hopefully people with disabilities will be better protected.
For the recording and cinematic presentation it was important for us to be flexible, to work with discrete technology, and to set a high visual standard. We wanted to give the people portrayed a lot of space and did not want to intimidate them with technology. We therefore opted for using DSLR cameras. This allowed us to work in a small team, which was a great advantage, when visiting our interviewees at home.
The interviews required a certain amount of tact to allow the people to speak freely. It was important for us not to repeat the questions already asked in the scientific interviews. We were accompanied by different researchers, who had already worked with the participants. This made the connection easier for us, as we were able, despite the short time we had, to get to know the interviewees and encourage them to describe their difficult experiences. We were impressed by the strength of the people we were privileged enough to meet through this project and we are grateful that we were able to share these moments with them.