Afya Serengeti Project – episode 2

I am glad to announce the second episode of the video series The Afya Serengeti Project. As you probably know, the Afya Serengeti Project deals with the prevention of rabies in and around the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. This research group, lead by Sarah Cleaveland, has demonstrated that rabies, a terrible and lethal disease that can affect all mammals (yes, including people), can be prevented when you vaccinate all the dogs in the area. So, it’s about saving lives!

The video series gives you an impression how this vaccination team works. In this second episode Kaneja Ibrahim, one of the team members, shows us around the so called CDP House or Disease House. Here the team resides during the vaccination campaigns. Get to know them a little better and see what impact this work has on their personal lives, but also how dedicated they all are to make rabies a memory.

Hello from the Big Apple!

We usually start our US New Media trip with the intention to meet some celebrities. Last year we met Ryan and the Dorkman, kind of celebrities in the new media space, this year we wanted it to upper it a notch. So I met Leonardo DiCaprio in the plane. I was thinking to do a short interview with him about new media (after all, he was using a MacBook Pro) but I was too busy preparing myself for the upcoming workshop. Sorry Leo, may be next time.

I won’t dive too much into my first impressions of this amazing city called New York (we are not a traveling blog) but let me say that I think Peter Stuyvesant did a pretty lousy job giving the city away to the English in 1664. I can see why the workshop about innovation in communication is held in this trendy place.

It’s now 11 pm and I look back to an inspirational first day. We started off by introducing ourselves to the group. The group is split into two, a group of end users (the target audience) and a group of people who know a thing or two about digital media (the experts). What followed was a mapping of the digital media the young women are using on a daily basis (yes, I did take some notes since some of it was new to me) and other available tools brought in my the experts.

Obviously I can’t go into details about the outcome of these sessions but in general I observed that some of the new tools like Twitter for example were completely unknown and not seen as very relevant, and that reading books which they buy -of all places- in a bookstore (“since you can wander around there”) is still very popular. So may be this generation is not completely lost after all? ;-).

When you look at the overview, it’s really amazing what a modern human being has to deal with on a daily basis to get all the information he or she wants. We identified 19 media touch points, and I’m sure this list is not complete. 

In the second half of the day we brainstormed about ideas based on these digital media touch points, trying to relate that to the marketing of a pharmaceutical product. These ideas were later presented to the target group who could score the ideas. Interesting to see that augmented reality was scored quite high.

Like I said, it was inspirational. It’s a special experience to be in a group and talk about digital/new/social media where everybody is on the same level. A lot of geeky talk about new iPhone apps, the newest and coolest website technologies but also about the social implications of social media on society and the never ending discussion about privacy and the internet (always interesting if someone from Google participates in the discussion).

Gave a lot, learned a lot. A fair balance of this first day. Tomorrow we’re heading to the Google offices for the final part of the workshop. Need to buy a new camera too, since I realized that the internal mechanism can not handle a 1 meter drop on a wooden floor…

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