Award for Afya Serengeti campaign

The Afya Serengeti campaign, of which we reported earlier in our blog, has won an Award of Excellence in the category Animal Health. With this award, founded by the RX club, the campaign is honoured for its creativity and execution. The campaign was developed by Circa Healthcare in order of Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health, and focuses at the prevention of rabies in the Serengeti area in Tanzania. The campaign supports vaccination teams that vaccinate all domestic dogs in the communities surrounding the Serengeti National Park. We were involved in this campaign through the production of a video-series where we followed these team in their year around vaccination campaign.

Rabies is a lethal disease that still claims more than 25,000 Africans per year, mainly children. While rabies is preventable with vaccination, fighting it is a huge undertaking. The Afya Serengeti project alone encompasses an area inhabited by more than 6 million people and 500,000 domestic dogs.

This Award of Excellence is a fantastic recognition for this sympathetic campaign.

Advertisements

Afya Serengeti Episode 3 – Announcing vaccination

It has been a while since we’ve posted an episode from our Afya series. Well, I think it’s time to catch-up. Here is episode 3:

The day before the Afya team starts vaccinating all dogs in a village (for free), they go around the area in a jeep with a large speaker mounted on top, loudly announcing that that they are coming the next day. Join in and see how Afya swings!

 

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.

The Afya adventure – part one

Just landed in Nairobi, after spending 4 days and 4 nights in and around the Serengeti. Tomorrow morning I fly back to Holland. Since there was no internet available in the places where we stayed, I was not able to give an update earlier than today. But apart from that, the trip was unique, amazing and breathtaking. I realize I have had one of the best experiences in my life. Let me share these with you in the following days, step by step…

I arrive in the Serengeti on Wednesday, May 28. A small propeller plane takes me into the park, taking off with a delay of 1.5 hours. From the air I can get a taste from what is waiting for me down there. Large herds of wildebeest and zebra’s are visible from the sky. The plains are drying up and the wildebeest are migrating north of where there is more food and water available. This has started already a few weeks ago and the herds I am looking at are only a fraction of the number of animals that have already moved over the plains of the Serengeti. Although I find these (give or take a few) 3,000 animals, running in a large stream of an amazing size, compared to the 50,000 that are seen at the start of the migration it is peanuts. Current estimations of the wildebeest population range from 1.1-1.2 million animals. That’s 4 times the size compared to 45 years ago, clearly showing the benefits of this protected area of 14.500 square kilometers, roughly the size of Northern Ireland.

Sarah Cleaveland, leader of the rabies control project has been waiting for me for more than 2 hours at the Seronera airstrip. Not only did the plane took off too late, it also has flown a different route, leading to a much longer route than intially planned. No reason for me to complain, referring to the earlier described sights, but the downside is that we will be too late to join the team that is vaccinating the dogs in Rung’abure, a small village west of the Serengeti. Later I hear from the team that this was a crazy day, with over 400 dogs vaccinated, hundreds of people surrounding the team, laughing and cheering children and a dog giving birth to three puppies…

We have lunch at the residential place of the Frankfurter Zoological Society, close the airstrip. Here the research team resides when they operate in the field. It is an amazing place. While sitting on the porch, we see grazing zebra’s, a family of water-buffalo’s, two warthogs and a baboon passing by. I can hardly believe my eyes, wildlife in your backyard…

After lunch we have to move. Paolo Charles, the vehicle manager of the team, will take Sarah and me to Mugumu, a village west of the park. Here we will stay two nights as the vaccinations take place in villages in the surrounding of Mugumu. We have 4 hours of travel ahead of us. In about 2 hours we will reach the border of the park and Sarah assures me that I will see tons of wildlife in this period. Within 15 minutes, we encounter a herd of zebra’s, drinking at a small pond. We decide to wait and observe them for a moment. I take my camera and start filming them. Suddenly the zebra’s seem to be alerted by something and leave the water. We think to see the outline of a crocodile in the water…or not? The zebra’s aren’t sure either and return to continue to lessen their thirst. Again, a sudden move and the huge reptile raises from the water in an attempt to grab a small foal, but misses. Nonetheless, I caught it on tape and Sarah ascertains me this being a rare sight, as she has been waiting for hours next to similar sites where nothing happened. (In a few days I will publish this scene as I currently do not have a high-speed connection to upload the video).

We continue and after watching wildebeest, more zebra’s, giraffes, hippo’s, ostriches, Thompson gazelle’s, eland and more we arrive in the town of Mugumu. We stay at ‘Anita’s place’, a nice hostel, far less primitive than I expected. Although there is no running water, it is clean. I have a large two size room, even including TV. Shortly after we’ve arrived, the team returns, tired from, as said earlier, a crazy and hectic day. I meet the remaining members of he team; Idi Lipende, a veteriarian and coordinator of the campaign, Israel Silaa, the driver, and Kaneja Ibrahim, the field assistant. With the team is also Tendeka Matatu, our cameraman, Suzanne McNabb, a researcher, who is working on her PhD and James Desmond, a recently graduated veterinarian from the USA.

Tendeka tells me that he has found in Kaneja the host for our podcast show as he is a charismatic guy with no fear for the camera and someone who has a talent for improvisation. And that’s not his only talent, as I will find out in the next days. Although they have spectacular stories of which many is caught on tape, I am not allowed to see it yet. “No, you have to experience it yourself first, before we can show you the footage, for that it is too special”, Tendeka promises me, with a smile on is face.

So, I just need one more night of patience. And I can tell you, he was right…

To be continued

Today is World Rabies Day!

Today, 28 september 2010, is  World Rabies Day. World Rabies Day is an initiative of the Global Allience for Rabies Control and their mission is to raise awareness about the impact of human and animal rabies, how easy it is to prevent it, and how to eliminate the main global sources.

Through a selection events (of which World Rabies Day is one of the annual highlights) WRD has reached over 100 million people and vaccinated over 3 million animals against rabies. Despite that, 50.000 people still die annually of rabies, most of which are children. One of the vaccination campaigns is the Afya Serengeti project of which we reported here before. Aim of this project is to vaccinate all privatly owned dogs that live in the villages and communities surrounding the Serengeti Park in Tanzania. And with succes, as outbreaks of rabies has not been seen in areas where more than 70% of dogs are vaccinated since the start of the campaign in 2003. One of our clients, Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health has supported this campaign the last couple of years by donating a dose of rabies to the project for every dose of vaccine sold. We’ve made a videoseries in 2008 about the campaign to give you an impression of the effort made by the team. This campaign was nominated for the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Award 2009 by the Royal Dutch Veterinary Association.

WRD uses various social media tools to promote their activities like Twitter and Facebook. In addition to that they use video and webinars for educational purposes. Today, for examples, they organize throughout the day 4 webinars. Besides that, you can also demonstrate your support to WRD by sending specially developed  Health eCards or by placing special buttons on your website or below your email messages. No matter how small, it’s one step closer to the ultimate goal: a world free of rabies.

World Rabies Day Contest Video

Every year, 50,000 people die of rabies, most of them children. Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health and Merck jointly fight rabies by supporting the Afya Serengeti Project and World Rabies Day to put a halt to this preventable threat. They do this by donating one dose rabies vaccine to the Afya Serengeti for every dose rabies vaccine sold. The Afya Serengeti Project Team is vaccinating privatley owned dogs in all villages surrounding the Serengeti National Park and with this they successfully prevent rabies within these communities, especially amongst chilren. We spoke about this before and participated in the project through the production of the Afya video-series. Last year Intervet/Schering-Plough brought the Afya Serengeti project under the attention by organizing a draw contest for the kids of their employees. The winning drawing was printed on mugs and T-shirts and used during World Rabies Day. This year they decided to repeat the contest and extended the scope to the entire Merck organization. Although the contest is not open for the general public, we don’t want to withold you the announcement of this contest, cutely made by last year’s winner, Ishika.

Year’s end: time for some reflection

oddreflection1It’s that time of year again. Having visited your family and survived the turkey again, and in a few days a New Year’s celebration with Dutch oliebollen en cheap champagne. Time between Christmas en New Year; a mental vacuum in which you are forced to think. To think about the things you did, and didn’t. And why.

For me 2008 was one of the most inspiring years of my life. Suddenly becoming really responsible for a human’s life is breathtaking. The birth of your child can not be compared to anything else. Ever. Seeing her growing up and recognizing little things in her about yourself is fun and confronting at the same time. I can’t stop wondering in what kind of world she will grow up in. What about health, climate change, peace? And on a less heavier subject, what kind of technologies will she use?

For DigiRedo it was a moment of truth. In 2007 we had some interesting projects, but we were both still on the payroll of our employer. This year, René stepped out of his day job so things were becoming more serious. We had to make some money. Well, the good thing is that he stepped out 1st of April and has not been sitting still ever since. Long days of hard work, for the both of us. Our efforts in 2007 were getting some traction and many prospects became customers. We did some great projects, such as the Afya project in Tanzania, or participating in an expert panel group with some big guys such as Google in New York. Let’s not forget some amazing congresses we went to: Plugg Conference in Brussels, CMS in Nijmegen, National Marketing Day, Web 2.0 and our all-time favorite, the New Media Expo in Las Vegas. Not only did we acquire a lot of knowledge and new ideas, we met some great people too. 

Looking back I can truly say that I did not expect things going so fast. I learned many things along the way, most notably:

  • Get a very clear vision for your company and a strategy to get there. Stick to it. We as DigiRedo truly believe that companies can achieve so much more in communication when they use new media (preferably with us).
  • Finetune that vision and related strategies and tactics somewhere were you can not be distracted. It’s too important to get distracted. We plan a session in the middel of the forrest twice a year for this. Can you believe it, two days without internet?
  • Having said that, always look for opportunities and don’t be too stubborn to change your tactics. But keep faithful to your vision. We have wandered around too, changing our structure, products and services along the way. But the vision remained.
  • When you do business with a partner: talk, talk, talk. Having a (right) partner can bring you to unchartered heights, but sometimes it is not easy to deal with. Two personalities, often strong ones, might conflict so now and then. The only way to sort thing out is to talk about it. We have been doing ‘appraisel interviews’ with each other twice a year. We discuss our co-operation and each other’s way of working. We make plans for the future.
  • Divide the roles there are within your company with your business partner. You can’t do it all. And some people are better in some things, while others are better in other things. And remember; there’s always some work you don’t like. Be it accounting or filling in tables for your milage. Get over it.
  • When you make plans, stick to it. A difficult one. Sometimes plans are lost in the battle of the day and before you know it yet another week has gone. I can personally recommend the concepts of Lifehacking and Getting Things Done. Great stuff which helped me a lot. And o, don’t forget to use some of those wonderful Web 2.0 apps out there.
  • Talking about it: Time Management. If you want to set up your company, work for an employer and find yourself being a daddy so now and then too, you better organize yourself to squeeze every second out of the day like a lemmon. See my previous point for the concepts I use.
  • And finally: have fun. A lot. Because we must not forget that the reason we did it in the first place is fun. 

Have fun with the cheap champagne, thanks for reading our blog and see y’all in 2009!

Erik

Rabies, Serengeti and DigiRedo

An exciting trip to Tanzania, twelve hours of footage, hours of postproduction and a few liters of coffee later we are proud to present the first episode of the Afya Serengeti videoseries. In co-operation with TEN10 films (production) we have created this first episode where Sarah Cleaveland explains the situation in the Serengeti, the reason for her being there and introduces the team. In subsequent episodes we will follow the vaccination team in their journey deep into the park to find and vaccinate dogs against rabies, and thus helping the community.

We encourage everyone to share the videos so that as many people as possible learn about this important initiative. We will make sure that videos will come available on YouTube and the iTunes Store.

All packed up and ready to go…

Sipping my coffee at Schiphol airport, waiting to board the plane. A large cappuccino, and it’s a good one. I need it. It was an early start this morning. Although I normally do not check in more than 2 hours before, this time I wanted to be early on the airport and arrived at 7.15 am, three hours before departure. Just to have time to do some shopping (and disillusion crept in: it’s not cheaper here! Thought to make a world deal with a consumer HD camcorder, but no way, I have seen them cheaper even with tax) and to write a short blogpost.

It will take me until Wednesday morning before I will arrive in the Serengeti. First, Kenya Airways will take me to Nairobi where I will stay over for one night. Tomorrow I will travel to Arusha by bus and on Wednesday morning I will take a plane to Seronera, from which I directly go into the national park to visit the team of Sarah Cleaveland.

I am excited. Although I have traveled most continents, Africa south of the Sahara is one of the regions of the world I have never been. And it’s a fantastic project. From more than one viewpoint. Primarily because it’s such a great feel-good project, letting the world know of this lives-saving project, eradicating one of the most horrifying infectious disease, for both man and animal. But not only that. For me personally it is this unique combination of my ‘first’ and ‘second’ professional life: combining my history as a veterinarian with my current life as a new media-maker.

I feel privileged.

To be continued…

Let’s help to make the world a better place

In our short existence we have done a variety of assignments, all of which were equally challenging and interesting from a communication point of view. It’s good to see an increasing number of people believing in the power of new media.

Today we are proud to present the beginning of one of our most challenging assignments: the participation of a video production on rabies vaccination in Tanzania.

Intervet/Schering Plough Animal Health has set up a project in the Serengeti called ‘Afya Serengeti’ (meaning health of Serengeti) with the sole purpose to help the local population vaccinating the domestic dogs against rabies. With the donation of rabies vaccine in combination with the education of the people they help to bring down the outbreaks of this deadly disease (according to the World Health Organization it is estmated that each year 55,000 people die from rabies and approx. 10 million receiving treatment after being exposed to animals thought to have the disease).

We are asked to produce a series on the work of Sarah Cleaveland, a veterinary epidemiologist currently based in the Serengeti. Here she executes one of the largest large-scale rabies control programmes in Sub-Saharan Africa. We work closely together with Tendeka Matatu from TEN10 Films. Tendeka is a multi-award winner of various films and will shoot the series in Tanzania.

DigiRedo is asked to take care of the entire postproduction process and distribution through new media formats (podcasting, web videos, DVD). Together with Blue Zebra PR we will make sure the world will learn about this important project.

Today René will leave to Tanzania to facilitate with the shooting of the series. For one week he will be side by side with Sarah, her team and Tendeka to capture their important work on Digital Video. The first episode of the series is expected in two weeks time.

We are honoured to put our expertise to work for such a unique initiative.

Check out some amazing pictures of the project here.

%d bloggers like this: