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Ebola: A Poem For The Living

Ebola: A Poem For The Living

As Ebola hemorrhagic fever slowly spreads to the west, it’s important not to forget how important it is to address the areas where it hit hardest, in several countries of West Africa.

Composer and sound engineer Andrew Huggett shared this pro bono job with me at a recent recording session in Ottawa. It’s a multinational collaborative effort to help reduce the spread of the disease through “non-coercive media for social change” according to the project’s Indo-Canadian Director, Firdaus Kharas.

The very sad, and quite lengthy, poem is presented in the voice of a young man being put into isolation as he is dying from Ebola. He pleads to his family to do everything they can to prevent others from meeting the same fate.

It may make you cry:

What struck me about this video is how different it is from the focussed, quick-hit, PSAs that we tend to create in the west. This one, while carrying practical information about prevention, is actually quite emotionally exhausting as it addresses each member of the family. There is very little action, and no hope of a happy ending.

The video addresses myths and superstitions about ebola transmission, as well as cultural burial practices that can spread the virus even after death. It is currently being distributed in Sierra Leone and other stricken countries, along with posters and a mobile ads.

The organization behind the campaign is United Methodist Communications, a global outreach of The United Methodist Church.

Rev. Larry Hollon, top staff executive of United Methodist Communications, wrote, “In the Ebola crisis, communication precedes prevention and treatment. The contagion cannot be contained without greater effort at sanitation, isolation of sick people, and proper handling and burial of the deceased. And this has to be communicated effectively and widely. In these circumstances, a clear message saves lives.”

United Methodist Communications
Chocolate Moose Media
Additional credits:
Co-Creator, Director and Story Editor: Firdaus Kharas
Co-Creator and Writer: Brent Quinn
Original Music and Sound Design: Andrew Huggett
Executive Producers: Neelley Hicks / Kunal D. Patel / Firdaus Kharas / R. K. Chand
Artha Animation Creative Head: Gaurav Malhotra / Head of Operations: Akhil Verma
Designing Lead: Prashant Shikare / Animation Lead: Yogesh Kawale
Animation Team: Mahendra Kawale / Rahul Jain / Rohan Bhalerao / Suraj Kumar / Kishor Dabolker / Tushar Moleshwari
Produced by United Methodists Communications, Iheed and Chocolate Moose Media

I am Creative Director at Acart Communications, a Canadian Social Issues Marketing agency. Read more