The power of animation lies in the possibilities it holds. When producing an animation you are not confined by the concrete walls of reality: animation gives you the power to create something creative, engaging and highly effective. For this reason it makes an astonishingly powerful educational tool.
The Global Health Media Project, supported by various NGO’s and working together with internationally acclaimed animator Yoni Goodman, has produced two animated shorts which are changing and saving lives on a daily basis. The Story of Cholera (2011) and The Story of Ebola (2014) educate both health workers and ordinary people living in poorer countries about the two deadly diseases.
Deborah van Dyke, founder of the Global Health Media Project, realized the potential of using video to educate health workers in the developing world when, on a trip to South Sudan with Doctors without Borders, she saw health workers struggling to resuscitate a newborn. Deeply affected by the experience, Deborah conceived the idea of using video to teach health workers basic but life-saving skills.
Animation is enormously powerful in providing healthcare education in developing countries for several reasons:
- It visually demonstrates facts, processes and techniques in an easy to understand way.
- It is a highly engaging medium and this is particularly significant since UNICEF’s S. Michiels notes that ‘one of the big issues with health comms is that they are seldom appealing to our audiences.’ The Story of… videos are appealing because they are not purely didactic: they tell a story that resonates with their target audience. Their visual nature itself is also appealing since as Bruno Kenne of Laboel, a Cameroonian NGO notes, ‘Health workers… do not have enough time to read the documents we give to them, but were more attentive to video.’
- The story can easily be told in different languages as all that needs to happen is for the voiceover to be changed.
- The videos are able to reach huge numbers of people all around the world at very little cost. They are shared online and for areas without internet access TV and radio broadcasts, mobile cinemas and make shift classrooms mean that everyone is able to watch them.
The success of both films is entirely irrefutable. They have empowered whole communities by providing them with the knowledge necessary to save lives. The Story of Cholera has been narrated in 27 languages and has been shown in almost every country in the world. Red Cross volunteers Garber Joseph and Daniel James summed up the impact of the videos perfectly when they said they had ‘reached the unreachable’ in Sierra Leone. Indeed, in Sierra Leone showing The Story of Cholera led to a 28% increase in people knowing how to make water safe.
Animation provides a medium by which life-saving lessons can be taught to those in the most deprived and hard-to-reach areas of the world. Moreover, not only are animated films reaching these people but they are making a huge difference to individuals’ lives every single day as a result of the unique benefits of animation.
To read more about the wonderful work of the Global Health Media Project click here.