Amplifying the 90’s UNICEF Animation Initiative
Have you ever watched a film that you felt so emotional and could truly relate to? A movie that made you laugh so hard even tears started coming out! Yes, that is how watching animations films can affect you.
Tai Studio is an initiative by youth that aims to influence positive change by using creative multimedia content. We use 3D animation video content to educate adolescents and the youth by raising awareness and inspiring behavior change.
Animation films can be very powerful and a source of learning, it’s not only for children, but also for adolescents, youth and everyone that enjoys these films.
However, in Tanzania and most other countries we do not have enough local animation films showing easily relatable struggles that help craft the fictional figures into genuine people that the viewers can attach and look up to.
Only in 1996, UNICEF created and produced one of the first edutainment animation series called Sara. This animation series was revolutionary as it used local and familiar situations, which made it easier for people to relate to the stories and characters. Sara became an instant success in most African countries and it has been translated into many different languages Including English, Kiswahili, French, Portuguese and a number of other African languages.
Sara raised a lot of issues that people do not normally talk about, such as sexual and reproductive health issues including, FGM, HIV/AIDS, Teen Pregnancy, Early Marriage, Education, Gender Equality and Poverty. By doing so, the character of Sara became a role model to young girls in Africa.
One thing I loved about Sara was how most of us wanted to be like her. Things that I learnt from Sara was critical thinking, problem solving, risk assessment and decision making which are all important skills to have when coping with the challenges in life. She was our hero and role model as her way of life was something that any girl would like to copy.
That was 1996! The number of pregnancies in girls aged between 15 – 19 in Tanzania continues to rise – increasing from 23% in 2010 to 27% in 2015. This is higher than it was 20 years ago, highlighting the need for new and innovative approaches. From the impact I have seen Sara having, I believe we need more of such approaches.
In Harakati za Lucy series we are looking at ways to take findings from the Tanzania Children’s Agenda by UNICEF and will initially be focusing on the issue of teen pregnancies.
Apart from reflecting the findings of Tanzania Children’s Agenda we will also engage with and get real life stories from girls in our local communities.
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We will also be working on raising awareness on puberty, early sexual activity, inter-generational sex and social pressure. At Tai Studio we have already seen how the first episodes of our edutainment series Harakati za Lucy has brought positive change within our community. Therefore, we strongly believe that the production of more episodes will have a positive impact on adolescents and youth in Tanzania.
Sara was a 2D animation that reached the society through comic books and Television and radio, but that was 22 years ago. Now we are producing 3D animation that will reach people through Social Media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instragram, and LinkedIn, as well as radio, TV, Mobile Apps and community engagement events. This way, we will work towards reducing teenage pregnancy and promoting positive behavior change with regards to issues that are affecting adolescent girls.