Sunday, April 11, 2-6pm
Bay Street Theatre, Sag Harbor, NY
$10 at the door
You must walk with life or you will be left behind.
Senegalese proverb
On Sunday, April 11th, the public is invited to the premiere screening of Kenny Mann’s latest documentary film, WALKING WITH LIFE – THE BIRTH OF A HUMAN RIGHTS MOVEMENT IN AFRICA.  The screening of the 40mn documentary will take place at Sag Harbor’s Bay Street Theatre.   Doors open at 2pm.  Preceding the screening, the Balafon Band from Senegal will play traditional Senegalese music on stage.  The screening will start at approximately 3pm, followed by a Q and A.   The afternoon continues with a reception, dancing and 50/50 raffle.  Tickets are $10 at the door only.
Whisked from the placid villages of the Casamance to the harsh desert of the Fouta and the teeming streets of Dakar, viewers of WALKING WITH LIFE become eye-witnesses to the empowerment of people through human rights education.
Since 2006, Kenny Mann has been traveling to Senegal to document the work of the award-winning NGO known as Tostan, with headquarters in Dakar. The word “Tostan” is from the Wolof and means “breakthrough” or “the hatching of an egg.”  Founded by Executive Director Molly Melching, an American who has lived and worked in Senegal for over 30 years, Tostan uses African dance, theatre, song and poetry to lead the largely illiterate Muslim population toward their own understanding of democracy and human rights.  Once people understand that their human rights are included in their country’s constitution, they realize that they can make demands of their government, as well as improve their own lives and that of their home communities. 
The most dramatic outcome of the program is the decision by women to abandon the customs of female genital cutting and forced early marriage – both violations of the human rights to good health and to a life free of discrimination.  Their public declarations are held before the media, government officials, donors, villagers, religious leaders, and participants from Mali, Burkina Fasso, Mauritania and Guinea. Accompanied by the dynamic music of traditional drummers and dancers, they are a thrilling testament to the power of the exploding human rights movement in West Africa.  
 WALKING WITH LIFE illustrates how Tostan’s staff – which is 99% African – builds partnerships with local religious, political and community leaders, forming community management committees whose decisions are based on the human rights framework.  Health, hygiene, girls’ education, citizenship and environmental issues are commonly addressed.
 “I was born and raised in Kenya, where both my parents were deeply involved in ‘development aid,’ says Ms. Mann.  “I saw so many well-intentioned programs flounder because they just didn’t understand African culture, and I had many questions about aid efforts in general.”  Ms. Mann decided to document Tostan’s work because, as she claims, it works.  “I believe that Tostan has found a way to form true partnerships that transcend ethnic, racial and international boundaries.”
WALKING WITH LIFE is the umbrella title for three related documentaries, all available on one DVD.  The second film, titled TOSTAN: BUILDING PARTNERSHIPS THROUGH HUMAN RIGHTS EDUCATION, reveals Tostan’s profound philosophy after more than 30 years in the field in West Africa.  The Third film, HUMAN RIGHTS CITIES: Paths To Peace, documents the formation of cities around the world that pledge to run all aspects of city government within the human rights framework.  The process is documented in Thiess, Senegal (Tostan) and Washington, DC – the first Human Rights City in the USA (American Friends Service Committee).

The trailer for WALKING WITH can be viewed at 

For further information, please call Kenny Mann, 646 479-5884 or 631 725-2620.