unicef-soja

Raising awareness of humanitarian issues through music videos – UNICEF

UNICEF’s recent music video series designed to raise awareness of children’s rights has undoubtedly reached an audience who were possibly oblivious to some of the suffering  portrayed in these powerful films. To date the videos have been viewed by over 300,000 people and earlier this week the final video in the series was released featuring SOJA.

The production of this series over the last two years has taken an immense amount of planning. I contacted Nicholas Ledner, Digital Knowledge Coordinator at UNICEF to find out more about the creative process behind the videos.

This series of music videos must have taken a lot of planning. What were the most important factors in its success?

The most important aspect of this work is selecting the specific child rights issue – whether its access to education, ending violence or improving water and sanitation– to highlight in the music video. We do this by working closely with our colleagues in the country office to identify an issue UNICEF is advocating for locally.  For example, in the Chad RL Grime video we focused on child marriage because Chad has the third highest child marriage rate in the world, while the Ethiopia video focused on education as many children in rural Ethiopia are out of school.

You also need to ensure you identify an artist that has a significant fan base, that’s critically praised, that is smart, intelligent, passionate and understands your work. This is essential for success and for a mutually beneficial relationship.  The team the artist works with is also very important.  You need to know they’re willing to help you seed the content with different outlets.

I know that seeding is vital in these campaigns. Can you tell me a bit more about the process of seeding.

It is amazing to watch how some videos achieve traction or the snowball effect.  We always try to ensure that our media team is in sync with the artists’ publicity team and normally the publicity team is excellent at getting the core message of the video to external audiences – at least to relevant music media.  A press release at their end also helps.

Take the ODESZA video as an example. Their team posted something on their website and across social media, which resulted in an excellent article on thissongissick- (large music blog), whose Facebook Page has more than a quarter of million fans, all enthusiastic about music and great new collaborations.

On top of all this, we’re promoting videos strongly now on Facebook and YouTube, which means the number of views is split between the two platforms.  For some of our most successful videos, a lot of the views stem from the fact they are being hosted on external media outlet websites (earned media) such as Huffington Post, UpworthyAPlus , etc. which all link back to the Youtube version of the video on our UNICEF channel (and not the Facebook Page).

For instance, the average view time for the Chad Child Marriage video which featured a track by RL Grime is 2:56 seconds (76% of the video), which is tremendous and can perhaps be linked back to the fact that engaged audiences are viewing this video from a player on a website they trust, rather than stumbling upon the video from a link they clicked.

How important was the relationship with the country offices to the production?

Working closely with colleagues in our various country offices is essential to the success of these videos. It’s the country offices who have the most knowledge and understanding on the issues affecting children in their countries. They also can localize the videos so they are relevant for their audiences.

For instance, when we worked with the UNICEF office in Tanzania to create the Four Tet video on child protection issues, our colleagues in Tanzania included their local goodwill ambassador into the video as the mother character.  They also included a prominent musician from the region as the father.  Colleagues in our country offices are also very good at utilizing the video for important advocacy purposes.  For instance, after the video with Moderat in Paraguay was created, the government officially recognized UNICEF’s #ENDviolence campaign. Another example is that the First Lady of Chad showed the RL Grime child marriage video to Heads of State and their spouses at the recent AU Summit in Addis Ababa this past January to support the AU’s #ENDChildMarriage campaign.

How are production teams selected?

Aside from the Chad and Namibia videos, all other videos were shot by local production companies.  Rooftop Productions is amazing and created the RL Grime, BANKS, and ODESZA videos.

We normally go through every possible production company before deciding. It’s a balance between quality of work and who will give us the best deal. All of the artists provided free licences to use their music.

Who has the responsibility for the storyboarding?

We have a storyboard for every video created. We tend to start the process as a team and then we have a few rounds of revisions based on feedback from both communications colleagues and the different program teams that are involved. There are so many talented colleagues in UNICEF who contribute to the creative process.

How long did it take to make each of these films?

It takes approximately 3 months to create one of these videos.  Ensuring you identify the best time to launch the video is also important in reaching the most people with these important messages about children’s rights.

For instance we starting shooting the ODESZA video in late October because we wanted to launch it on World AIDS Day, December 1st.

Why did UNICEF decide to focus on making music related videos?

Music resonates globally and has helped us provoke conversations around key issues UNICEF advocates for. Music can often touch people in ways other media cannot. It makes them think about their own lives and helps them relate to others because they feel something in the music which is sometimes harder to convey to a general audience.

When you can see your product being talked about on the largest social media networks in the world, then you know something went right and you can celebrate the idea that at first was only a glimmer in an eye. It’s a complicated but enjoyable process which I love supporting and bringing to life because I myself love the videos, grew up loving music (and still do) and I’m able to bring my passion and expertise together with these sorts of campaigns.

I’ve also heard from up and coming artists that they love these kinds of collaborations as it gives them a chance to give back and be a part of something both cool and educational.  It’s a special process, for sure, and something that lights up my work.  I’m sure these videos will be watched and shared for many years to come.

 

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Reach A Hand, social media and the power of video

Whilst in Uganda last month I met with Patricia Kahill who has been working with the NGO Reach a Hand (RAHU) based in Kampala. RAHU is a non-profit youth led organisation that aims to address the key issues that leave Ugandan youth vulnerable to health outcomes like, HIV, STIs and unintended pregnancy. I have followed RAHU with great interest over the last few months as they are very active on social media. Their Twitter account has over 1250 followers and they have over 7400 likes on their Facebook page, which is very impressive for a small grassroots NGO.

At the Social Media Summit in Kampala, I predicted that video sharing sites such as YouTube will become much more popular in Uganda over the next 2-3 years. There is a noticeable and welcome increase in competition in the telecommunications industry in Uganda and mobile data prices are dropping. Smart Telecommunications for example are offering 1.5GB of data a day for the equivalent of 25 pence.

When I have viewed the YouTube channels of many small NGOs in developing countries before, the videos often have very few views. I think this is partly to do with content but mainly down to the cost of data. Will my prediction become true in the future? This is why RAHU is such a great case study as they have seen a dramatic growth in their YouTube channel in the last few months and musical content is the driver. A new ‘Musical Project’ is intended to inspire and encourage young people take care of their health by practicing safer sexual behaviour, making informed choices and choosing to be responsible citizens and make a change in their communities. RAHU are working with 9 local musicians GNL Zamba, Jody Phibi, Irene Ntale, Big Trill, Ray Signature, Maurice Hassa, Yasimine, Young Zee and Airport Taxi) and one international musician, Nyanda. Currently five songs have been promoted both online and via TV and radio stations. The artists endorsed the campaign by recording voice pops and messages that are aired during TV shows. It’s being supported by Rutgers WPF and Talent Africa. The Kaleke Kasome Remix featuring several of the above artists has had over 5000 views on YouTube.

A more recent recording “If it’s not on, It’s not safe’ has had over 3000 views in less than a month. Although there is a small advertising budget to promote these videos, it proves that good content does work as these videos have positive feedback in the form of both likes and comments. 

Another successful video project by RAHU involves a flash mob in Kisenyi which was organised in the build up to WorldAIDSDay. Once again this event caught the media’s attention and was featured on NTV.

However, Patricia says that Twitter is still the most important social media tool for RAHU as media houses often pick up on the most trending hashtags. She told me of an excellent campaign earlier this year which deliberately provoked a social media discussion around the age of consent. Patricia and another member of RAHU staff were training a group of 15 young people aged 20-30 about the benefits of using social media. During the workshop they demonstrated the power of Twitter by setting up the hashtag #consentat14. The age of consent in Uganda is currently 18 but teenage pregnancy is prevalent, so the group asked provocative questions such as ‘Have parents failed their children in education about safe sex’ and ‘Has the government failed in promoting contraception.” If there are so many teenage pregnancies, why not reduce the age of consent to 14. The hashtag had over 900,000 impressions and received interest from TV, Radio and newspapers including Urban TV and XFM.

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WaterAid and WorldView launch global film competition

Filmmakers Shekhar Kapur and Philip Bloom are supporting a new film competition called sH2Orts, which has been launched by WaterAid and WorldView for aspiring filmmakers across the world.

This global competition, which will run until 20 February 2015, invites filmmakers to enter one-minute films about what water means to them.

It was launched by British director and filmmaker Philip Bloom, who has worked as a cinematographer for Lucasfilm, Sky, CNN, Discovery and the BBC.

Bloom said: “Water is essential to life. We are made up of it, we are dependent on it, and often we take it for granted. There are so many water stories out there so go out, find one and make a film about it for the global sH2Orts film competition.

“You don’t need fancy equipment to be able to capture a strong story, and so this competition is open for entries filmed on anything from a mobile phone or GoPro to a broadcast camera.”

“Surprise us! Get creative, get imaginative – we want to hear your stories told your way.”

The shortlisted films from the competition will be showcased online ahead of World Water Day in March 2015. The overall winner of the competition will be chosen by a panel of judges, led by award-winning Indian film director, actor and producer, Shekhar Kapur.

He said: “Water is life. We interact with it every day in so many different ways; it is our most important resource, with no substitute. Yet it’s so easy for us to take this basic necessity for granted.

“Through this competition, we’re hoping to see a plethora of ways water impacts on our daily lives through the powerful medium of film. I’ll be looking for individuality and creativity when judging the entries.

“This is a great opportunity for filmmakers to make a mark for themselves and I’m proud to be working with WaterAid and WorldView on this amazing opportunity for budding filmmakers. I feel passionately about helping the younger generation and am therefore offering a masterclass with me as one of the prizes.”

Fujifilm have generously donated five fantastic cameras for winners of the competition. Also up for grabs are masterclasses from Shekhar Kapur and WorldView.

Catherine Feltham, Film Producer at WaterAid, said: “We work in 26 countries around the world and we’ve seen how safe water can transform lives, so for World Water Day 2015, we’re excited be able to celebrate the power of water through the sH2Orts film competition in collaboration with WorldView.

“We’d like to see an original take – it could be through the lens of thirst or floods, a drama set in a car wash, or a portrait of the man who waters plants in your local park. We just want to see your best, creative, quirky or simply beautiful short film all about water.”

Marion Simpson, Project Manager at WorldView, said: “WorldView is committed to supporting filmmakers across the globe to bring the richness and diversity of the world to mass audiences and we are delighted to partner with WaterAid on this exciting project.

“We’re looking for great storytelling told in creative and innovative ways. This is about your imagination, not resources – you can make it on your own or with friends or a crew, using your phone, a top-end camera or anything in between.”

Competition information

The competition is free to enter and entrants can film on their own, with friends or as part of a crew. The films can be sent in either .mp4 or .mov format and can be any duration under one minute long.

The shortlisted filmmakers will be notified at the start of March and the final five winners will be announced on World Water Day 2015 – 22 March.

For full details on the competition and to enter, visit www.wateraid.org/sh2orts and on Twitter: @sh2orts.

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Screenshot 2014-02-16 at 16.18.49

Charity videos: how to measure ROI

How do you measure the success of your YouTube channel? Should you set objectives for every video you make? The simple answer to the second question is yes. The answer to the first is a bit more complex.

I’ve had a lot of discussion with people working in NGOs, large and small, about how to measure the success or return on investment of their video production. I’m still amazed that people ask me this question without first understanding their own objectives for the video. I often get asked “What makes a successful video?”. This is impossible to answer without knowing what you are seeking to achieve and who the main audiences are?

Firstly, you need to establish the overall objectives for each video and how they sit with the organisations brand values. Whether we like it or not, there is often an internal conflict between departments within NGOs and therefore very different objectives at play. Here are a few generic objectives to consider before making them SMART (specific / measurable / achievable / realistic / timetabled).

– Increase brand awareness
– Promote awareness or educate on a specific issue
– Celebrate success
– Increase traffic to your website
– Increase social media followers
– Engage with stakeholders
– Attract donations
– Attract new volunteers
– Encourage signing a petition
– Promote an event

Depending on your objective(s) you might implement a number of the metrics below

– Number of views
– Number of likes / dislikes
– Comments – positive / negative
– Number of shares compared to views
– Estimated minutes watched
– Average view duration
– Subscribers gained / lost
– Annotation click through rate
– Click throughs on calls to action in the description
– Media coverage

It’s easier said than done, as staff are often working to tight deadlines on tight budgets. But without analysing the success of videos, organisations are potentially frittering away valuable funds which could be better utilised elsewhere. All of the above metrics should be compared against the cost of producing the video and benchmarked against previous videos as well as the videos of similar sized organisations in the same field. One metric I like to use is the cost per view compared to the average cost of a Google pay-per-click campaign. You also need to create shortened URLs to promote your video consistently through your other social media channels and measure these via a product such as Hootesuite.

Once you have this analysis you can also start to classify which category of storytelling works best for your organisation: informational, humorous, promotional, celebrity content, advocacy, arty, infographic etc. The method of storytelling will obviously depend on the content of the video. Although this process is relatively simple to implement, it is also incredibly time consuming. Other media such as direct response TV advertising (DRTV) and press releases are much easier to measure. Without evidence that your video and other social media channels are making a positive impact, these functions will always play second fiddle to fundraising and PR. This is disappointing as YouTube channels if managed strategically can be a powerful antidote to the often negative images portrayed by many DRTV campaigns.

Charity:Water have repeatedly been applauded for their video campaigns. Their content strategy is to inspire and present images of hope and positivity over sadness and guilt. Their strategy works! Read more about their metrics for success on YouTube’s official blog.

 

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JessieJ-LipDub

Africa’s largest ever Lip Dub Social Media Campaign

I absolutely love the Jessie J Lip Dub from Microbanker involving over 500 women in Uganda, so I contacted them to ask for some more details about the campaign. Here is a detailed insight into the success about the campaign from an interview with Duko Hopman, Director of SYPO.

1. What made you decide to use a Lip Dub as a fundraising idea?
We were looking for a way to show the strength, not the weakness, of the women involved in the project. A fun and positive message instead of images of suffering children. A Lip Dub video seemed like the perfect way to be able to show a lot of the borrowers’ businesses in a fun way, and appeal to a wide audience through social media (given the recent popularity of Lip Dubs).

2. Is it really the largest Lip Dub in Africa?
We had a long look around Youtube and Google to get some inspiration from other Lip Dubs and to confirm that this would be the largest, and it certainly seems to be! We couldn’t find any that came even close… Although there were some pretty good ones out there.

3. Did you ask the women in Uganda whether you thought it would be a good idea? Did they come up with any ideas?
The ‘loan officers’ in the project – the people that work in the organization to actually give out and collect microcredits – had converations about this idea with many of the borrowers. It was an instant success – hundreds of borrowers immediately signed up to participate. Mostly because it seemed like a good party (which it turned out to be), but also because the idea of showing sponsors what their villages are like, in a high quality video, really appealed to them.

We always try to be the opposite of patronizing with our borrowers – they pay for a product, and they know they’re paying for it. They are very vocal about raising improvement ideas or demanding changes in, for instance, logistics of the repayments. We treat them as clients, and they treat us as a company from which they buy a product. It is however a product that they value very much, and that they certainly do not want to lose. This means that most of them really appreciated the opportunity to contribute to this fundraising effort, which would guarantee continuity of the project.

4. Tell me about the challenges of filming 500 people? Why did you choose to film so many? What were the language barriers? How long did it take?
It was as much fun as it was stressful. We had a camera team of three (director, camera woman and choreographer), and eight local and Dutch volunteers. Still it was chaos for most of the week. Cows running through the set, pigs that wouldn’t stop screaming, children running the wrong way and of course some very challenging lyrics. We had four recording days, which could last as long as eight hours in the burning heat. We asked a couple of ‘chapati’ (local pancakes) and other food stands to set up shop in the middle of the set so that everybody could constantly get food and drinks. Towards the end of the afternoon many of the women started complaining that they had to go home to make dinner for their families. But by the time we were done everyone would be so excited that no one ended up leaving and we would all stick around and dance – why waste the perfectly good sounds systems we had installed? I think the excellent director, a Dutch guy called Ivan Mikulic, aged at least ten years in those four days, but it was well worth it.

5. How many people were involved in the filming/production side? How much did it cost to produce?
The director of the video, Ivan Mikulic, did some short videos about SYPO’s projects several years ago for Dutch television. He got really enthusiastic about our way of working, and agreed to gather a team (camera woman Berta Banacloche and choreographer Mexim Janzen), and they all charged us basically for expenses only. Editing of the video was done in the spare hours of a Dutch studio, and by a studio in Kampala. Other costs were for two Ugandan artists that were involved in the video, other local help, food and drinks for all the women, accommodation for the team, and of course all the attributes in the video. All in all it came down to 8,000 euros.

6. How long did the post production take?
One of the great things about a Lip Dub is that it doesn’t take much editing, since it’s basically one shot. Some color corrections and digital enhancements was all it took. Perhaps 4 days? We uploaded it only after we launched the website www.microbanker.com, which is why the video was recorded in June but only uploaded in September.

7. You’ve had over 100,000 views. Is this more than you expected? How did you seed the video? I see that the video was shown by Al Jazeera / BBC East Africa / HuffPost. Did any other media organisations write about the video?
The funny things is that in the end you have very little control over the spreading of a video like this. Of course we actively spread the word, but in the end most of it was organic. Some guy (we still haven’t figured out who) downloaded the video from Youtube, uploaded it on his Facebook, and ended up getting 90,000 shares. We sent out press releases, but I think none of them got picked up. Instead we got hundreds of great comments from across the globe and from corners we never expected it to come from, including great requests such as your own. Al Jazeera/BBC/HuffPost were some of the big names, but articles on One.org and several large Dutch websites certainly helped. We were hoping for 100,000 views, but never expected it to go this fast. And counting the Facebook shares, we’re well over.

8. Do you consider the video a success? If so, how? Have you received many more donations? What others ways can you measure ROI?
It’s a tremendous success. The video was primarily made to promote our new fundraising website www.microbanker.com – a website that was made to actively involve sponsors in microcredit. On the site you can select and donate for business plans, track progress of ‘your client’ over time and recycle the repayments to new business plans. You can even ask questions to your client. We received 24,000 Euros in donations through this site already, and we’re hoping for many more. This will be an important driver of our growth to 3,000 borrowers next year. But apart from donations, the video had other great results, especially in setting up new partnerships. Organizations contacted us to work together – from requests for advice by other microfinance institutions to for instance interesting new collaborations, such as with ‘Text to change’, an NGO that uses SMS services to inform pregnant women about maternal health or farmers about commodity prices. We hope to start working with them in the near future to provide these services to our borrowers.

Please help Microbanker take this project to the next level by becoming a microbanker on www.microbanker.com

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