Rwanda leads fight against cervical cancer in Africa (story) What you need to know about HPV (interactive)

Category: Best visualization (small and large newsrooms)

Country/area: Kenya

Organisation: BBC News (Africa), BBC News (World), BBC Amharic, BBC Afaan Oromoo, BBC Swahili, BBC Tigrinya, BBC Gahuza

Organisation size: Big

Publication date: 28/11/2019

Credit: Ashley Lime, Esther Ogola, Purity Birir, Millie Wachira, George Wafula, Sheila Kimani, Anthony Makokha, Hugo Williams, Muthoni Muchiri

Project description:

This project focused on the Human Papilloma Virus and it’s link to cervical cancer in Africa (the 2nd most common cancer among women in Africa). It features a captivating interactive delving into the frequently asked questions around HPV using various visual mediums (video, maps, charts, infographics, animations) which then sits in a written story on how Rwanda is in the lead when it comes to fighting cervical cancer in Africa.

Impact reached:

The project was quite impactful as it was not only published in English it traveled even further on the continent to go live in Swahili, Amharic, Afaan Oromoo, Gahuza, Somali and Tigrinya. The format we chose to implement for this project is something that is quite innovative for the audiences of the language services mentioned as most of their content is usually limited to text and/or video content only.

Due to the unique challenges on the continent such as high data costs, a large part of our audience resorts to using browsers that turn off Javascript allowing them to consume non-interactive content. We were able to adapt to this by creating core content that gave them a similar experience as well as pushing the content on various social media platforms for their consumption – which meant that no one was left out.

Techniques/technologies used:

The project brought together a diverse range of skill-sets from our team, from online journalists to an animator, software developer and a user interface & user experience designer. The tools utilized throughout the project include CPS, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe After Effects, Adobe Premier Pro, Adobe Audition, Abode Photoshop, Blender 3-D, Final Cut Pro, Sketch, Marvel, Vanilla Javascript, Handlebars, CSS (Sass) and Google Sheets (database/JSON). These were used to not only tell the story of how Rwanda is at the forefront when it comes to fighting cervical cancer in Africa, but also in developing the interactive that sat within the article and broke down the key things to know about HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) – which has been linked to cervical cancer cases.

What was the hardest part of this project?

The hardest part was coordinating the multi-media project that involved covering a vast geographical area between Kenya, Rwanda, Malawi and Sierra Leone (the latter of which was not successful). We were able to overcome this in the end by working with fixers in countries that were not accessible to us at the time. As one of our main aims is to have our content travel to underserved audiences (primarily women and youth), we were cognisant that we had to produce something that would be able to travel in various languages in the region from Swahili, Amharic, Afaan Oromoo, Gahuza, Somali and Tigrinya. Ensuring that the content appeals to each service and coordinating the translations of infographics, voice-overs and scripts was a tedious process. Through the use of project management tools such as JIRA, we were able to successfully publish on the website and social media platforms of seven different African languages. 

What can others learn from this project?

Our ambition with this project was to bring an issue that is rarely discussed and seen as taboo to the forefront. Conversations around cervical cancer, HPV and the HPV vaccine on the African continent aren’t openly had and that is something that also reflects in the data openly available. Being able to attract a younger audience from social media platforms, we wanted to break down the stigma and start a conversation around this social issue that would be impactful, especially to our youth and women audiences.

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