Jan 13, 2017

Stories that Touch our Souls and Hearts

Members of the Ouro Negro cast and crew
Members of the Ouro Negro cast and crew

Ouro Negro was born in 2013 as the flagship program to promote UNICEF’s Facts for Life program in Mozambique. It is now so popular that 70 radio stations across the country are airing the drama and it has become the most reliable popular source of information on safe maternal and child health practices. Having aired over 100 episodes since it went on the air in 2015, Ouro Negro is now Mozambique’s longest running series.  

The drama is set in the fictional town of Jambolane, a traditional African community confronted with the arrival of a foreign mining company. This clash of two worlds becomes the backdrop where tradition and modernity collide. Characters are woven through four major story arcs, focusing on the health practices of different audiences: both rural and urban families, as well as adolescents.

The mainstream success of the drama flies in the face of the notion that education cannot be both popular and entertaining. One actor described its success, saying “people feel they are represented in the drama ... The community says, this is our story. These stories touch the souls and hearts of people. If emotion grows in people, they’ll open their mind.”

The heart of the program is its ability to stimulate listeners to to adopt long-term healthy behaviors out of inner motivations associated with joy, satisfaction and freedom. Whereas a traditional health campaign, for example, might directly communicate, “sleep under a mosquito net or you will get malaria,” to tap into fears, we take an alternative approach. For Ouro Negro, the story will hone in on an ambitious young soccer player and expand to: “All your hard training is lost if you fall ill from Malaria before your next important game. You can prevent illness by sleeping under a mosquito net.” In an environment where listeners face so many threats to their health and wellbeing, they do not need to be soccer players to relate to the urgency and personalization of this storyline.

 We are grateful to our Global Giving donors for recognizing the power of broadcast media and storytelling to positively change communities and work towards our goal of helping many more Mozambican children reach their 5th birthdays.

Nov 10, 2016

#ISurvivedEbola Campaign Project Summary

We are grateful for the generous donations made through Global Giving to help us advance PCI Media Impact’s #ISurvivedEbola Campaign. This transmedia project mobilized survivors of Africa’s deadly Ebola epidemic from Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone to share stories of recovery to inform the West African general public about the virus and how they could protect themselves and their communities from it, reduce stigmatization, and promote reintegration of Ebola survivors. 

Over the course of the program, we shared the stories of survivors to their neighbors and to people around the world through documentaries in video, audio, and print formats that were disseminated broadly via local, national, and international media, online platforms, and other distribution channels. Educational radio dramas that told fictional yet reality-based stories about how to survive Ebola, and radio call-in shows that featured discussions with Ebola survivors and health experts, were foundational campaign activities.  

In sharing their stories of trauma, recovery and hard-won first-hand knowledge of safety practices and stigma, the Ebola survivors featured in PCI Media Impact’s #ISurvivedEbola campaign have elevated the awareness and sensitivity of Ebola-affected communities, despite a climate of mistrust and confusion. An inspiring outcome of our work with these survivors was the formation ofSurvivors Associations that are now mobilizing to help meet these challenges in their communities.  We provided these inspiring men and women with the training and resources they needed to lead activities with the following objectives:

  • Act as spokespersons for public health prevention and be positioned for rapid response should new outbreaks occur
  • Promote reintegration support for hundreds of Ebola survivors
  • Shifting the public outlook from fear and despair toward resilience and hope

 We are proud of having amplified the courageous voices of Ebola survivors to make a vital response to a deadly epidemic and to deepen their capacity to support the health and resilience of the survivor community in the aftermath of Ebola. Because of the incredible hard work of so many individuals, communities, governments and local and international organizations, the Ebola outbreak has ended. As a result, we have completed our program activities for #ISurvivedEbola and are deactivating this project at this time.

Please considering donating to another PCI Media Project in Africa—Help us Celebrate more 5th Birthdays in Mozambique—a vibrant, popular program that promotes maternal and child health through drama.

Sep 15, 2016

Connecting International Audiences to Nature

Creators discuss play at #NatureForAll Pavilion
Creators discuss play at #NatureForAll Pavilion

On the evening of September 3 2016, the Guardians of the Mist stole the hearts of an unlikely audience: a group of seasoned environmentalists and curious scientists attending the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawaii.

Occurring only once every four years, the World Conservation Congress is one of the few pivotal international meetings where conservation authorities and decision-makers within the scientific, governmental and non-profit communities come together.

Far from their usual audiences in Chiapas, the Guardians were brought to the Congress as the headliner to launch the #NatureForAll Movement – a budding community that is helping those who aim to preserve nature to ignite deep connections with nature among new audiences. The Mexican theater troupe does just that: listening to the story of Jaguara and the wise words of her leafy companion Mr. Ceiba prompted the groups in attendance to identify with the forest and its animal population.

Ana Valerie Mandri Rohen, one of the pivotal leaders who brought playwright Hiram Marina to the Cloud Forest and inspired his work on Guardians of the Mist, explained how the troupe is using theater to build a bridge between the precious rainforests and the Mexican people.

“Since only 60 people are allowed to visit the protected area each year, we faced a real barrier in connecting audiences with the forest so that they would want to protect it,” Ana Valerie explained. “So we brought small groups of ‘champions’ to the rainforest, in the hopes that these celebrities would be able to share the experience with their audiences. Hiram, a playwright by training, fell so much in love with the forest that he decided to write this play.”

The play’s typical audiences in Mexico, both young and old, are important ingredients of the ultimate protection of the forest. But in order for the precious flora and fauna to thrive, it is also crucial that the international community recognizes the value of this protection. By presenting to a packed house multiple times at the World Conservation Congress, the theater troupe was able to directly convey the importance of the forest’s conservation to more decision makers in the span of a few days than the number of visitors who are able to step foot in the forest itself in an entire year.

The magic of costume and theater successfully transformed the launch of the #NatureForAll Movement. The Guardians of the Mist not only inspired audience members to use storytelling and characters to create change in their own communities; they also reached the hearts and minds of a group of seasoned conservation professionals to understand the ecosystems of Chiapas with a new lens. Convincingly conveying both urgency and empathy, the play surprised conference attendees in its ability to capture their lasting attention.

“Countless people came up to #NatureForAll staff members after the performance to ask about the play itself, and about the rainforests of Chiapas,” said #NatureForAll Pavilion Coordinator Jeeva Jacob. “I was surprised by how much they internalized – not only about the play as a tactic for connecting people to nature, but about the ecosystem that it aimed to protect.”

Thousands of miles from Chiapas, Mexico, in front of an audience of environmentalists, the Guardians of the Mist still had a profound effect on its spectators – driving their curiosity, and ultimately their likelihood to engage in conservation of the Mexican cloud forest.

Jaguara shares her story with the audience
Jaguara shares her story with the audience
Mr. Ceiba poses for the camera -Photo: Nick Castel
Mr. Ceiba poses for the camera -Photo: Nick Castel


WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.