Tuesday, September 27, 2005

CFC : Communicating for Change

BWhen you look at the logo for Communicating for Change (CFC) you get the notion that this is an innovative group of people who think "outside of the box."

CFC describes itself as "a dynamic, state-of-the-art communications organisation raising Africans' awareness of environment and development issues to create positive change to develop the continent and change lifestyles."

This organization's self perception is probably not unwarranted as there are some pretty heavy hitters in the non-profit world of donors that have faith in CFC. Communicating for Change has received grants from Ford Foundation, the Norwegian Human Rights Fund, and the Rockefeller Foundation, and in addition to that, they have partnered with many organizations such as the Television Trust for the Environment (TVE) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). While CFC receives grants and donations it also generates income from fee-based services. And of course, it goes without saying that CFC is a non-governmental non-profit organization.

Included in the environment and development issues where CFC says that it raises Africans' awareness are: gender, health, education, agriculture, debt relief, forests, climate change, water, pollution and democracy & good governance.

It focuses on audio, video, print, media research, theatre, capacity building and electronic communications via the Internet to get its messages across. These messages are produced "from a distinctly African perspective to counter the ever increasing flow of foreign, often culturally inappropriate, programming."

In addition to awareness rising, CFC promotes partnerships between the public, private, academic, and NGO sectors by providing what it terms "excellent, appropriate, and cutting-edge" communications support, products, and training.

In addition to Television & Radio Production CFC provides Communications Services, Media Research, Communications training & support. CFC also maintains a Film Centre and publishes printed material

In the area of Radio, CFC produces a wide array of programmes ranging from adverts and news reports to dramas and comedies. One such production is a 52 part radio drama series called Ready or Not (on youth - and their unique perceptions of environment and development issues) with the support from the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations. In Ready or Not the listening audience is given a glimpse of the very real struggles of urban Nigerian youth face spoken in their own voices. This drama was produced in both English and Hausa and is aired on 32 public and private radio stations throughout Nigeria.

CFC has a strong video production unit has produced news reports, documentaries and films on three continents (Africa, North America and Europe). CFC produced a documentary entitled "Till Death Do Us Part" that addresses the difficulties of widows in eastern Nigeria. This work received the silver certificate of the Prix Leonardo in Parma, Italy, in 1999 and it was shown at the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Paris.

The lives and work of two dynamic Nigerian women leaders and their struggle to make democracy and good governance a national reality was featured in the film "Against the Odds." This film was funded by UNESCO and the Television Trust for the Environment and was broadcast by many international broadcasters including the BBC.

The most recent film produced by CFC takes on the controversial topic of female genital mutilation and is titled "UNCUT." This film presents the perspective of both advocates and others opposed to the practice as well as practitioners and supporters of the practice.

CFC's Films for Change video resource center has over 400 films including documentaries, docu-dramas, animations, public service announcements, news reports, and short feature films. These videos address a very wide range of issues such as debt, community development, biodiversity, children, women, desertification, energy, health & medicine, indigenous people and land rights, pesticides, poverty, urban settlements, recycling, water, waste, and wetlands. The organization distributes films to Nigerian broadcasters at cost, with all broadcast rights cleared. Private individuals, schools, NGOs, corporate bodies, and community groups may also borrow from a CFC lending library. Film events are also organized by the CFC's Film Centre.

CFC publishes journalistic reports as well as photo-essays, brochures, annual reports, news & features for a wide range of audiences. CFC produces a monthly radio script publication as well. This script is called Change Radio and is published in English, French, Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo. The script service is comprised of news & feature stories written & timed for radio. CFC says that "Change Radio is sent to all Nigerian radio stations, leading newspapers, wire services, academic institutes, non-governmental organisations, community based organisations, government agencies as well as to numerous international and pan-African organizations and media contacts in Sub-Saharan Africa." These scripts are now in high demand by not only radio producers, but also print and television journalists.

CFC has so much going on that I do not have time to write about its services in Communications Training & Support, Production Courses and Media Research. There is much more about all of these areas at the CFC web site; and I highly recommend that make the time to go and see what else they are up to.

Oh, and by the way, that logo that I mentioned at the beginning of the article, it was inspired by Henri Matisse's "black leaf on red background."

You can find the CFC here: CFC

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