Since 1990, UNICEF in the English-speaking Caribbean has used the medium of film animation to assist in the empowerment of young people with information relevant to their health and development. Animated productions are now shown in over 200 teaching institutions and health facilities in 12 countries. In addition, characters and illustrations from the animated films have been used for advocacy efforts in print materials such as comic books, children's activity books, adverts, products and press releases. As part of the International Children's Day of Broadcasting, 19 stations affiliated with the Caribbean Broadcasting Union screened the UNICEF Caribbean animated productions to a viewership of over 3 million people. These successes have been achieved through a two-part strategy: 1) focusing on training of local artists and, 2) the use of animation in the region in support of UNICEF goals. Some highlights have included:
- In collaboration with Disney Feature Animation, 36 artists from the Caribbean and select African countries have been trained in the basics of animation at three workshops, one in Jamaica and two in Barbados.
- In cooperation with Brazilian animation Walbercy Rebas, several artists who attended the training workshops have assisted in the production of 3 animated films:
Safe Motherhood Child's Play The Teen Years
The three films together make up a package covering all the years of childhood and are useful to stimulate discussion on the main issues which UNICEF is tackling in the Caribbean. By choosing to provide quality support materials, it is anticipated that the subjects covered will be given greater prominence by the media and new energy in their translation in the class room.
- Johnny Sad-Boy, a 1-minute PSA on the topic of child abuse, was created as a result of three combined Disney/UNICEF workshops
In additional to the actual training and screening of productions, local press and TV have shown enthusiastic interest in the training workshops with a total of 4 documentary films made on the subject of animation. Two were broadcast in the Caribbean, one in North America on public television, and one short account made by Disney was distributed to all UNICEF offices. The workshops were also featured prominently in local newspapers and radio. The Disney trainers themselves enjoyed the front page coverage by the local press, all this reinforcing the issues which are being tackled by UNICEF.