See Africa Differently

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Guest blog for ONE by Comic Relief’s Gary Nunn

See Africa Differently is a new way of seeing Africa and talks about the continent in a positive way through culture, entertainment, development, politics, sports and business.

The campaign, brought to you by Comic Relief, is a year-round initiative which tells the under-reported good news from Africa.  ONE is listed amongst our partners and friends on our website and we regularly link up with ONE’S Living Proof campaign, which tells the world how aid is succeeding. We certainly echo that message – but we tell it in a slightly different way.

The campaign is aimed at the 18 – 35 year old audience . They’re defined as savvy, cynical and harder to reach than the tradition Comic Relief audience who we engage once a year through a night of great TV. For that reason we go out to where they are – through blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr.

Our strategy is to entice this audience by showcasing the African angle of things they’re already interested in – from food and fashion to plays and politics.

For example, recent content we’ve posted includes a video of backstage interviews with the two lead actors in FELA! and a collaboration with 20 fashion bloggers to create a buzz about Africa Fashion Week London, helping to champion under-rated African fashion designers. You’ll also find content which surprises you about Africa – under-reported progress on gay equality for example.  This lively and often counter-intuitive content fosters a greater sense of engagement and empathy with the continent – making web visitors warmer and more switched on to Africa.

Then, whilst on our site feeding their interests, visitors can also absorb some quick-fire ‘Africa is progressing’ messages. These flash up as succinct fascinating facts which are all 140 characters maximum, so they can be shared on Twitter instantly and easily. For example, you might discover that Rwanda has the highest proportion of women in parliament in the world. Or that every year, more films are made in Nigeria’s Nollywood than Hollywood.

Overall, this encourages young people to support African culture, arts, entertainment, trade, business, investment – and ongoing aid interventions.

We believe that, although there are many countries and communities that still need development projects and emergency aid, there’s also much to celebrate. And we believe that to create support for development, it’s important to flag up what’s working as well. There’s no better way to do this than allowing Africa to speak for itself – through the many ways that it is thriving and on the rise.

Help us spread the word – and open your eyes to Africa.

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