Introduction to SCREEN

I’m really excited to be able to introduce the SCREEN project to you. I’m Steven Zarnfaller, the UK SCREEN Project Manager and proud to say I’ve become deeply connected to this project.

Interesting fact. I’m based the USA, Washington DC to be exact, and work for a UK organisation.  To be in synch with the team and collaborate as much as possible, I’ve committed myself to working London hours.  This means I start my workday at 4am, oversee teams and partners in Zambia and am on Zoom and Google calls with two continents all day long.  It’s like playing a game of Twister for hours at a time.

So, why do I do this?  The answer comes in one word:

S.C.R.E.E.N

SCREEN stands for Scaling Community Relevant Evidence-based Education Film Content.  

It’s a 3-year health communications project in Zambia funded by the Vitol Foundation, working with partners, like SAfAIDS, Restless Development and Zayohub, to develop, produce and screen health films to rural Zambian audiences.  All of this backed by rigorous research to inform and evaluate our work.

Together with our amazing partners and the Zambian Ministry of Health, we identified key priority health issues for rural Zambian adolescents to create an extraordinary package of six films, which will be integrated into our partners’ existing health programs geared to young people. Film content will address teenage pregnancy, positive and respectful relationships, mental health, male involvement in family life, among others, in an entertaining and inclusive way.

Once the films are completed, our partners will screen them weekly with rural communities across a number of Zambian provinces, reaching tens of thousands of people.  We are also setting up new micro social enterprises called ‘Bicycle Cinema’ where we are supporting independent entrepreneurs, in very hard to reach communities, to show these films embedded in local language entertainment packages at a minimal cost.  We are beyond excited to get this ship in the water and sail to our destinations!

But still, you must be asking to yourself, why do you start working so early?

The answer is in this simple phrase: 

The project ASKS, then LISTENS, and ADAPTS

This doesn’t stop there.  This process is repeated over and over and over again, and it continues throughout the life of the project.  At every step of the way, whether it be project design, formative research, script development, film editing, editorial reviews and bringing the films to our audiences, we seek input from and collaborate with our partners, young people and influential adults, health workers, experts in medicine and film production, and government to name a few.  

We travel through this process in a thoughtful and steady manner like a ship crossing the Atlantic.  We do this because we believe that getting the message right requires as much input as possible from as many relevant sources. This process drives every aspect of our work.

The next three months is a busy time for us as we prepare to launch the films in August 2021.  We will continue to update you as we sail towards our goal.

We hope you join us for the ride – it will be an extraordinary journey!