ABOUT THE PROJECT
This project focuses on using animation as a tool to educate kids about the Covid-19 Pandemic. Through the eyes of Wazi, the titular character of Wazi’s Wonderful World, children are taught about Covid-19 and how to protect themselves and their loved ones. This project was important for Tekano and The Children & Broadcasting Foundation For Africa because at the height of the first wave of the Pandemic in South Africa, children were prohibited from attending schools, but very little educational media existed to inform children of the dangers of the Covid-19 virus.
CHILDREN & BROADCASTING FOUNDATION FOR AFRICA
AFRICAN ANIMATION STUDIOS
The CBFA was established in 1995 after the first World Summit on Media for Children took place in Melbourne, Australia.
The CBFA hosted the Southern Africa Summit on Media for Children in 1997 in South Africa as well as the All Africa Summit on Media for children in 1998 in Accra, Ghana and hosted the highly acclaimed 5th World Summit on Media for Children in Johannesburg in 2007
The CBFA created the Africa Charter on Children’s Broadcasting through a series of Summits from the Southern African Summit in 1996 (JHB, South Africa) and the All Africa Summit in 1997 (Accra, Ghana) and ensured that all African and Commonwealth Broadcasters ratified the charter, which became the guidelines for children’s programming for all African Broadcasters.
The CBFA is a member of CIFEJ –International Centre of Film for Children and Young people (www.cifej.com). CBFA was instrumental in setting-up ABC- Africa’s Best Channel (A Pan- African Children and Youth Channel in Nigeria)
The creation of an African Animation series based on Wazi’s Wonderful World -to teach children and their care-givers about #Covid-19. The animations are between 30-90 seconds and have covered several important aspects of learning about covid19. The ones we are producing for TEKANO are on:
1) Wazi showing the importance of wearing a mask
2) Wazi explaining about #covid-19 and disability especially as her best friend, Jozi is in a wheelchair and she needs to clean her assistive device/s
3) Wazi is excited about going back to school but she is also apprehensive and she explains the protocols of going back to school such as social distancing, wearing a mask and washing hands
We produced the first #Wazi animation to introduce the characters Wazi and her younger brother Musa. The two of them reinforced the #StayAtHome message.
The animation was sent to our social media platforms: Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter. We managed to get the Health Department to Tweet the animation and we started to ask #influencers to also Tweet the animations.
We are pleased to share that we now have 7 animations that have been Tweeted by the National Dept of Health as well as several #social media #influencers. The Multichoice Channel405 Newsroom Afrika showed #Wazi on its platform. We shared it with the Asia Broadcasting Union and they immediately accepted the animations for their website and for their members to download. The Specialized Association of Children and Media in Iran asked if they could take #Wazi animations and produce the same with Persian (Farsi) characters so that they could also share on their media and Broadcasting platforms. We agreed and were very pleased with the results. #Wazi Animations are also shown in Nigeria on local TV Station MiTV.
As part of the creation of Wazi’s Wonderful World -which is a Children’s Animation series about an 8-year old girl Wazi who goes out to learn and explore her amazing African continent.
We realised that as lockdown was looming due to the pandemic that it would be important to communicate with children and their care-givers about #covid19. So instead of going out to explore the wonderful world, Wazi is told to ‘STAY AT HOME’.
So in the first Episode you see #Wazi rushing to the window with her younger brother #Musa to look at the big exciting “World” outside, but then she sees the notice #StayHome and so all her adventures change to learning about the #CoronaVirus and sharing with her friends the information she is learning.
We thought this was important because as South African film and media producers we needed to ensure that we take children seriously and that we communicate with them in a respectful and appropriate manner. Past events that our children have had to deal with without clear information are the 911 events of the USA when children were afraid when they saw “airplanes flying into buildings” and the Tsunami when a “big wave” caused many children and their families to drown. These were major crises that the local broadcasters did not manage well for children. However, during that period social media was not such a phenomenon. Thus, not producing content for children although alarming, could be managed.
Today, children and their peers are given mobile phones and access to social media at a phenomenal rate. We therefore need to find the correct medium and tools to communicate with children. The Children and Broadcasting Foundation for Africa (CBFA) in partnership with the African Animation Studio (AAS) and Moments Entertainment having already been in pre-production on a children’s series Wazi’s Wonderful World to teach children about African culture, basic hygiene and travel to historic African sites, decided immediately, to change direction as the #covid19 pandemic started to become a clear concern for the global community.
Our concerns were that children will be lost in this communication and information process and we needed to immediately offer solutions for children, we needed it to be short, factual and fun animations that children could identify with.
We started to research #Covid19 in terms of children’s behaviour patterns and that of their caregivers. #ChildrenCopingCovid19 showed that South African parents and children were struggling with what it means to be in #lockdown, #wearing a mask. We hosted an International ZOOM meeting to share and learn from our global partners. The ZOOM brought together partners from Africa, Asia, Middle East, Europe and the USA. We were pleased that as a South African NGO we were at the forefront of this meeting and showing our international peers what we are doing to accommodate the concerns of children, parents and caregivers.
We are now in the process of producing an international comparative study on the Intersectionality of #ChildrenCopingCovid19 for a UK-based Film Journal at Glasgow University.
Each episode highlights a different concern – we emphasised ‘Stay At Home’ as a main theme.
We have a SEPEDI version- A South African local language (Episode 1)
English version of episode 1
Kiswahili version for the mainly ‘migrant’ and ‘refugee’ community in South Africa but we could also share with our partners in Kiswahili speaking countries for example East Africa
We gave the children basic information on the #covid-19 virus and how they can protect themselves.
We wanted to involve children in the ‘live action’ – on washing hands whilst singing Happy Birthday- we managed to get children from South Africa in partnership with Greenside Primary School and UNICEF, South Africa and United Arab Emirates children from Sharjah International Children’s Film Festival. We wanted to show children how their friends in difficult situations are also managing to wash their hands even though water is scarce. So we have a few live-action videos of children saving water and still washing their hands from Eastern & Western Cape communities.
We managed to get Yvonne Chaka Chaka (South African music icon) to also speak to the characters especially about #Ubuntu (I am because you are) and #Sharing is #caring as regards the Food parcels.
We will include Disability in the series to show children and care-givers the challenges for people with disabilities and how they need to ensure that their wheelchair or other apparatus are continuously disinfected.
The grant is being used to produce 3 #Wazi Animations and 1000 #Wazi masks for children (see attached)
The African Animation Studio is a partnership between CBFA, Moments Entertainment and Dipopaai.
We have been working with a few animation interns who have been learning on the job.
This has been a huge opportunity for the interns.
The animations have been very well received.
The animations have been shown on South African TV (eTV) and received 40% market share for the children aged 4-15 years.
The Dept of Health in South Africa has been using the animations to assist children, parents and caregivers. It’s on the Department’s website as an additional resource, and the Heath Minister has been Tweeting the Animations.
The animations have just been short listed amongst the best at the Prix Jeunesse 2020 in Munich, Germany. We are in the same company as SESAME STREET, USA!!
The animations were used by the Asia Broadcasting Union for their members. The Iranian Animation school dubbed the animations into Farsi. The Sharjah Children’s Film Festival posted the animations on their website.
SABC and the Dept of Basic Education have a pending Agreement to show the animations.