The International Communication and Education Foundation (INCEF) was founded on the premise that, in order for conditions to change at the nexus of conservation, public health and development, there must be a focus on reaching audiences at the front lines -- the people whose daily activities had the most direct impact on the health and well-being of all species.
INCEF believes that change comes from the bottom up. Conservation, development, and health projects that don’t recognize that are not sustainable. They fail. Our goal is to change behavior while giving the most marginalized and impoverished audience a voice in that change.
INCEF was founded by filmmaker Cynthia Moses, a producer of high-end films focused on wildlife and science for broadcast on network, public and cable TV. To achieve our mission, INCEF employs local professional media personnel and teaches them to produce short, message-focused films in local languages, featuring local people (voices) about local issues that both inform and encourage audiences to discuss, debate and ultimately develop solutions as to what they can do or what changes in lifestyle are needed to save the forest, the wildlife, and ultimately themselves.
We primarily work in the Congo Basin -- specifically in the Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo and in the Central African Republic. We work in areas where illiteracy rates are as high as 85%. There are often no roads. We reach the most marginalized and impoverished populations. Our creation is due to the revolutionary change in communications technology and the fact that the barriers to production and dissemination – technical, physical, financial – have either disappeared or have been greatly reduced.
We base our production planning on the observation -- and it cannot be overstated -- that rural villagers have little awareness of the fauna in their midst, the forests they are expected to save, and the laws governing the protection of wildlife and hunting. More importantly, they have little information about general health practices that can help them raise healthy children, keep their water clean, or how diseases like Ebola and other zoonotics spread. Through our work, they learn how these deadly diseases can be avoided.
We began our work in 2005 with less than $90,000 in grants. By 2006 we had produced 14 short message-focused films. In 2007, we trained two educators to take those films from village to village mostly on foot. By 2008, we had reached over 68,000 individuals. We measured our impact by collecting quantitative, qualitative and anecdotal materials. We now have more than 20 trained education teams who practice a standardized methodology in a broad geographical region for our education and outreach. We have reached more than 1 million individuals in hundreds of remote villages. We have produced over 80 films resulting in for example, increased infant survival, decreasing reporting times for infectious disease outbreaks, and educating forest-dwelling populations of their rights regarding the use of their forest, the recognition and solution to term climate change, and how protect resources among other subjects.