The Making of My Better World

Why My Better World

My Better World is a story-driven animated television series that builds self-knowledge, confidence and problem-solving abilities among young people. 

Its fresh “animated/reality” style combines entertaining animation with real-life issues and documentary segments. The adventures of six colorfully illustrated friends form its heart as they navigate their way through the challenges of school, family, friendship and responsibilities. They discover opportunities, consequences and their own strengths. At each episode’s core, real people share their experiences in inspiring mini documentaries. 

Impact(Ed) created the series in response to the challenges that many young people across Africa and other parts of the world are facing. We wanted to create a powerful resource for sparking conversations and driving behavior change on issues around health, staying in school, early marriage, and goal-setting.  

 

The process

Produced by Impact(Ed) International and brought to life by a team of artists and animators across Africa, the series is based on conversations with young people across Africa and the CAMFED My Better World life skills and wellbeing curriculum. Due to the important but sensitive, and sometimes controversial topics, the production process needed to be handled carefully and comprehensively. We employed a layered review process to inform the messages and storylines of the episode content. This ensured that the characters and messages of My Better World were guided by subject-matter experts while remaining relatable and accessible to students, mentors and communities. Review committees including education officials, teachers, students, community members and educational specialists across five African countries informed the series’ creation and stories.

The response

My Better World was initially used in girls’ clubs to spark conversations among marginalized girls in their local communities. It then rolled out to broadcast TV networks across Africa.  

In a girls’ club context, watching and discussing the series with peers, facilitated by trained mentors, proved powerful, leading to well-documented positive changes in girls’ life skills, attitudes and behaviours. Here are some quotes from viewers, mentors, and teachers.

“I saw really beautiful episodes.  Real Life. Especially I loved that on Jemima. Jemima is hopeful.   Challenges are there but you could see that the future is bright. And I think it relates well with our students. They have challenges but when they see these learner guides, who their immediate seniors, who are able to talk to them, it gives them that need to be assertive in life and to have hope for the future.  I love Jemima’s part – there are challenges but let’s be hopeful.” Deborah Agnes , Teacher/ mentor 

“I love how the issues dealt with are real and practical to our setting…My family and I always tune in to watch.”viewer in Kenya 

“The training taught us how to talk about every video lesson and how we can do our work. We support the girls on how to be an ally (to each other) and fulfil their dreams. If they want to be a doctor, we tell them the ways they have to follow to do so. I ask them about their favorite MBW characters, like Abi, Rosa or Grace. So many of them raise up their hands!” Sarah, Girls’ Association Mentor, Kano, Nigeria

 There was a time I didn’t like school because I didn’t have a friendAfter watching the videos, those who used to distance themselves from me, came to a consensus that it is now time for us to play together because what they saw in the ‘My Better World’ video has taught them a lot and they now understand the need for us to play together.  Things have changed now for me. Now I have the confidence to answer questions in class even if I don’t get it right. I feel confident in myself because I can now read and answer questions in class.” Female pupil.

“My Better World embodies the best of what media can and should do – draw audiences on its entertainment merit, telling the stories that matter most, and leaving them empowered to improve their lives and the lives of those around them.” Citizen TV, Kenya

Through independent surveys and evaluations we also found that:

95% of viewers reported that the series made them much more likely to support girls’ education in their communities (Geopoll survey of 1,000 viewers of the show on AIT and Arewa24 broadcast networks in Nigeria)

+ 51% in girls’ school enrolment (The World Bank’s Development Impact Evaluation Department (DIME) 2020)

– 15% desire among parents to have their girls become a mother at age 18 or younger (The World Bank’s Development Impact Evaluation Department (DIME))

75% of Nigerian viewers said they talked about the themes of the episodes with others, including their children, friends and parents (Geopoll survey of 1,000 viewers of the show on AIT and Arewa24 broadcast networks in Nigeria)

 

With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and school closures, government educational broadcasters became even more interested in the ability of the programme to reach a wide audience and support life skills and distance learning. It was adapted for radio and so far has aired across 5 countries, 9 broadcasters, with a broadcast reach of 140 million in 3 languages. It is the number 1 kids show in Kenya averaging 2 million viewers per episode.