The Umunthu Programme grew out of the AGHCA’s Students with Dreams programme. In 2013, Dreamer Mwizalero Nyirenda made the short, first person documentary Umunthu: An African Response to Homosexuality. The film follows three young Malawians – the filmmaker and two friends who hold opposing views on gay rights – as they cross the nation to discuss the controversial subject with a psychologist, pastor, secular humanist, journalist, human right activists, and ordinary Malawians.
The film won the Sembene Ousmane prize at the Zanzibar International Film Festival and was screened at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles, Boston International Film Festival, Harvard University and Boston University. It also won 4 awards at Lilongwe Shorts, Malawi’s first international film festival, in May 2015.
Following the film’s success, the AGHCA created the Umunthu Programme, which originally consisted of screenings of the film and facilitated discussions on stigma and discrimination against LGBTI individuals. In recent years, UP has expanded to include workshops and research projects partnering with institutions across Southern Africa.