Originally posted on the BBC Media Action blog by Sam Waterton, Digital Editor, BBC Media Action, on November 29 2016- Bangladesh is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. In addition to frequent cyclones and drought, large areas of the country are at risk of earthquakes. With densely populated cities, even a relatively small earthquake could have catastrophic consequences. Amrai Pari (Together We Can Do It) is harnessing the power of media to help people be better prepared. [See a sample of the videos below and more at the BBC Media Action blog site through the link below.]
To help, Amrai Pari enlisted Ross Bollinger, an animation artist famous for his tongue-in-cheek Pencilmation cartoons. I caught up with him to tell us a little more about his hopes for the project.
The films have received tens of thousands of views on YouTube, why do you think they’re so popular?
The character in the films is a little stick figure that transcends gender, ethnicity and language. It’s something everyone can relate to. I hope the films will continue to gain traction so as many people as possible will see them.
We’re already looking at how the films can be used across our humanitarian preparedness work in other countries. Does this surprise you?
That’s great. Not having dialogue allowed us to cut right to the point; ‘make noise when trapped under rubble’ or ‘stay away from buildings that are likely to topple on top of you.’ That’s the beauty of cartoons. Unlike language, animation is universal. It allows people to quickly understand the message, whatever language they speak.
What’s the one thing you hope will come out of this project?
In the event of an earthquake, I hope that in the back of their minds, people will remember my little cartoon character and know what to do. It could literally save lives.
Image credit: BBC Media Action, Ross Bollinger, Amrai Pari
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