Wise-cracking, Spanish-speaking mosquitoes star in new Zika prevention campaign

11:01 PM

Series launches in Cape Verde with goal of using humor 
and universal characters to drive behavior change 
that will prevent spread of disease

Two wise-talking mosquitoes are joining the fight against the devastating Zika virus with the help of Peabody Award-winning animator and director Firdaus Kharas, who has leveraged the power of animation and humor to help stop the spread of Malaria, Ebola, HIV/AIDS, Polio, Diabetes and other diseases around the world.

The animated campaign will launch first in Cape Verde, the island nation off the West Coast of Africa, which has confirmed nearly 7,500 Zika cases in a population of 500,000 people. 

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) will screen episodes as part of a prevention program that includes both door-to-door home visits and awareness sessions inside schools. 

The short films will help families reduce the risk of transmission by identifying and eliminating mosquito breeding sites and using repellents and door and window nets to prevent bites. 

The series also dispels myths that Zika can be spread through food, weather, or spirits in a humorous way.

Kharas adapted the Zika cartoons from his award-winning Buzz and Bite series, which debuted in 2008 and has been used to prevent the spread of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa, South America and Southeast Asia. 

The series launches in Portuguese, the official language of Cape Verde, and in English. The two female characters are voiced by local women from Cape Verde.
“With Zika and other communicable diseases that spread rapidly, the goal is to get out messages that spur behavior change as quickly as possible in order to save lives,” Kharas said. “We have found that animation and humor is one of the most powerful and effective tools as it inspires people to accept and adopt change rather than being coerced, scared, or threatened into it.”
Roberta Rezende, who is coordinating CRS's prevention campaign in Cape Verde, added that the series will be especially impactful on school children, who can play an important role in educating their parents, especially in isolated regions and areas of poverty.

Kharas added that the series can be easily adopted by other countries fighting Zika. 

Since it is animation, the episodes can be quickly and affordably translated into multiple languages, including French and Spanish. Kharas’ past animated films have been translated into over 170 languages and viewed in over 150 countries, reaching an estimated 5.75 billion people in their own language. 

His Vimeo channel contains nearly 3,500 animated shorts. All the videos can be downloaded in multiple formats ranging from high resolution to mobile phones.

To view the series in English, Spanish, and Portuguese visit: vimeo.com/album/3852257/.

About Chocolate Moose Media
Chocolate Moose Media is the world’s leading producer of animated behaviour-change communications aimed at solving health and social issues around the world. It produces film and animated television with offices in Geneva, Switzerland, and Ottawa, Canada. President Firdaus Kharas uses proceeds from for-profit projects to fund not-for-profit campaigns targeting health and other social issues. These are in the form of animated public service announcements and include Peabody-award winner The Three Amigos (combatting HIV/AIDS); Buzz and Bite (preventing the spread of malaria); No Excuses (targeting sexual and domestic violence); Solar Campaign (replacing kerosene lamps with solar lights); and a three-video series aimed at preventing the spread of Ebola, among many others. Nearly 3,500 of his animated videos can be viewed and downloaded free of charge from his Vimeo channel, vimeo.com/firdauskharas.

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