The Scenarios from Africa Team

The essence of Scenarios from Africa is broad-based partnership. The project focuses on generating, maintaining and continually expanding a network of singularly committed partners from highly diverse fields and on fostering synergies between them. Women and people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) play a central role in all aspects of the Scenarios process.

The Contest Teams

In each of the core project countries, Global Dialogues designates a Scenarios from Africa National Coordinator (NC). The NCs are social entrepreneurs chosen for their dedication, professional excellence, integrity and partnership-oriented approach to the response to HIV/AIDS.

The Scenarios contests are implemented at the national level by teams of primary partner organizations carefully selected by the NCs, who are completely sovereign in their choice of local partners, with the exception of the required centrality of women and PLWHA in each country. Those primary partner organizations, in turn, mobilize their own outreach workers, local partners, media contacts, allies in state bodies, and schools to reach out to contest participants.

Ever since the first Scenarios contest in 1997, invaluable support has been provided by individuals and organizations – such as Peace Corps -- who come on board proactively and on a volunteer basis to mobilize contest participants in their area.

International media and Internet initiatives on behalf of the contest help to support the National Coordinators in their efforts and to ensure that the contest reaches young people all across the continent. Key partners include TV5Monde, Radio France Internationale, CRIPS (the French organization that created the Scenarios concept), the UK NGO AIDS Consortium, AIDSPortal and the Communication Initiative.

In the 2010/11 edition of the contest, friends at AIDSPortal were instrumental in forging a new and exciting partnership with South Africa-based MXit, a multi-million user social network that offers free online chat and much more. MXit provides generous support for the contests, reaching participants in several African countries.

The Contest Participants and Winners

Over 150,000 young Africans have participated in the Scenarios contests since 1997. They come from more than 50 countries, ranged in age from 5 to 24 when they created their contest entries, and live in rural, urban and peri-urban areas.

Former contest winners – some of whom are now talented young professionals in Scenarios-relevant fields – are playing an increasingly important role in various phases of the project. They have proven to be singularly effective members of contest teams, helping out both at community level and in the media. Contest juries include more and more former winners, as do Scenarios film production, dubbing and distribution teams. Perhaps most importantly, many former winners see themselves as permanent Scenarios Ambassadors, constantly raising awareness of the process and audio-visual outputs wherever their paths might take them – from Zambia to a university in Algeria, from Burkina Faso to film work in Paris and London, from secondary school student to a position as Magistrate Judge, fighting for women’s rights all the while….

The Jurors

The winners of the Scenarios contests are selected by juries made up of people living with HIV, specialists in audio-visual production and other communications fields, experts in the areas of HIV prevention or treatment and care, activists, and young people (especially winners of previous contests).

So far, representatives of over 500 different organizations have served as jurors. Those individuals often point out that Scenarios jury duty is particularly conducive to the development of lasting professional contacts and synergies, frequently founded in friendship.

The Film Production and Dubbing Teams

Specialists from a wide range of artistic and academic fields – sociology, public health, psychology, anthropology, communications and media studies… – collaborate on the adaptation of an original scenario. The adapted script is then exhaustively pre-tested and repeatedly amended, often over a period of several months, with the help of community-based organizations, especially organizations of people living with HIV.

Then, the region’s most celebrated filmmakers, working in tandem with African producers, direct teams made up of some of Africa's top acting talent and most accomplished technicians to create the Scenarios films. Leading musicians and other celebrities are often involved. Wherever possible, the young author plays a central role in the process, serving as on-set advisor, acting in the films or even co-directing.

Over the past several years, and with a view to responding both to priority recommendations of external evaluators and to expressed demand from Scenarios film users across the continent, special emphasis has been placed on dubbing the films not only into English, French and Portuguese, but also into key African languages. The Portuguese version is produced for free thanks to the generous ongoing support of the Lusophone world’s finest dubbing studio, Santa Claus Audiovisual, located near Lisbon in the town of Cascais.

At first, responding effectively to the need for African-language versions of the Scenarios films was not an easy task, as the requisite technical capacity either did not exist or was not yet sufficiently developed to produce high-quality lip-synch dubs. Therefore, Scenarios from Africa has invested heavily in the development of professional dubbing capacity in Benin, Burkina Faso, Congo, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda and Senegal. Members of the Scenarios dub teams in those countries report that the skills and reputation they have gained from producing local-language versions of the Scenarios films are such that they are now frequently called upon to dub other audio-visual tools on a variety of development-related topics.

Film Distribution Partners

Broadcast copies of the Scenarios films are made available to television stations, always on a non-profit, rights-free basis. This process has been facilitated by a number of organizations, including the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association, Television Trust for the Environment (all United Kingdom), CFI (France), Abraço (Portugal) and Reporters sans Frontières (France and international).

Multi-language DVD sets of the films were created by long-time Scenarios partner and friend Alex Martin and his colleagues at Layer Zero in Sutton, Surrey, UK. Layer Zero also developed the site www.scenariosfilms.com, where it is possible to download all the Scenarios films.

Scenarios from Africa has been granted non-profit status by YouTube. That offers many advantages, including the right to upload films that are longer than the usual limit.

Evaluation Partners

With the exception of external evaluations, Scenarios qualitative and quantitative evaluation activities are driven and informed in an ongoing, interactive manner by those who play the central roles in the Scenarios process: contest participants, members of the contest and selection teams and their organizations, and people who use the films at community level. Advice on the conceptualization of evaluative tools is provided by specialists from a number of academic fields, primarily at Emory University in Atlanta.

Funders and Sponsors

Primary financial support for Scenarios from Africa is provided by Comic Relief (UK), HIVOS (Netherlands), and Freedom to Create (Singapore).

Additional sources of funding since the project’s inception include: The Department for International Development (UK), GTZ (Germany), Cordaid (Netherlands), Emory University (Atlanta, USA), PLAN International (Burkina Faso), The National Lottery Charities Board (UK), The Pfizer Foundation (USA), Shell, UNDP, UNFPA, the IMF Civic Program, Canal + Horizons (France), and the British High Commission (Ghana).

The total cash value of in-kind support provided to Scenarios from Africa since 1997 surpasses by far the amount of actual funding received. Sources of in-kind support have included: Abraço (Portugal), Academy for Educational Development (USA), Accor (France), Action Duplication (USA), Africa Consultants International (Senegal), Africare (Tanzania), Air Afrique, Air Burkina, Air France, amnesty international (Togo), Association African Solidarité (Burkina Faso), Belgian Technical Cooperation, Brakina (Burkina Faso), British Council, Catholic Relief Services (Senegal, Burkina Faso, Tanzania), Cassero (Bologna, Italy), CFAO (France), CFI (France), Clinton Foundation (Tanzania), Commonwealth Broadcasting Association, Commonwealth Secretariat, Creative Associates International (Benin and USA), CRIPS (France), DED (German Development Service), Deutsche AIDS Stiftung (Germany), DHL (UK, Portugal and USA), Duplication Company (UK), Edward Thompson Group (UK), Emory University (USA), FedEx Kinkos (USA), Fine Cut Facilities (UK), Focus on Young Adults (Washington D.C.), French Cultural Centers (Burkina Faso, Equatorial Guinea), Futures Group International (Mali), Houghton College (New York State), Humphries Video Services (UK), Initiative Jeunes (Niger), ITN (UK), Johns Hopkins University Center for Communication Programs (Ghana), Kellmatt (UK), Médecins sans frontières, Mister Video (Portugal), National Alliance Against AIDS (ANCS; Senegal), MXit (South Africa), Newcastle Sporting Club (UK), Newcastle University's Audio-Visual Centre (UK), One World TV (UK), Ouaganet (Burkina Faso), PALIH2/CCISD (Haiti/Canada), Peace Corps (USA), Planète Jeunes (France), PLAN International (Senegal, Burkina Faso), PSI, Radio France Internationale, Rainbow of California (USA), Red Cross (Senegal, Tanzania), Reuters, Royal Tropical Institute of the Netherlands (KIT), Santa Claus Audiovisual (Portugal), Servizio Sanitario Regionale Emilia-Romagna (Italy), SIDA-Entreprises (France), Spanish Cultural Center (Equatorial Guinea), Student Partnership Worldwide (Tanzania), Swatch (Switzerland), Swiss Tropical Institute, Television Trust for the Environment (UK), TNT (UK), TV5Monde (France), UNAIDS, UNICEF (Madagascar, Swaziland), UPHOLD (Uganda), UK NGO AIDS Consortium, USAID, VSO, and WHO (Burkina Faso).