UNICEF, PCI Media Impact, World’s Largest Lesson and Eco Boys and Girls aim to bring the messages of sustainable development to the children of the world.
28 July 2016, New York, NY: Comics Uniting Nations, which counts UNICEF and the World’s Largest Lesson as key partners, among others, will ring the Nasdaq Stock Market Opening Bell today.
The partnership is working to help children learn about and support the Sustainable Development Goals, which were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015 as part of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.
“Current social movements around the world all bear the faces of young persons,” said Shannon O’Shea, from the Agenda 2030 Team at UNICEF. “Therefore when you want to make positive and lasting change in the world, you have to reach children and young people with your message. It’s the only way.”
The Agenda aims to create a better world for all people and the planet and make progress on 17 Global Goals, which include ending extreme poverty, making sure that every child receives a quality education and changing patterns of consumption and production.
Children are key to reaching these goals, and successfully reaching children also means capturing their interest and imagination in a way that feels relevant to their lives.
“Comic books are one of the most popular media of our age,” said Sean Southey, co-founder of Comics Uniting Nations and CEO of PCI Media Impact. “And young people are a major target audience for the comics’ industry, along with fans of all ages who love superheroes. So, we thought, let’s tap into that demographic as a way to reach everyday people with the important message of the SDGs, while partnering with the number one UN group that deals with young people – UNICEF.”
The initiative has also attracted the attention of some big names in the Comics world. Chakra the Invincible, one of India’s leading superheroes created by Stan Lee and Sharad Devarajan, is the hero for two comics on Gender Equality (SDG 5) and Climate Change (SDG 13).
Maria Snyder, founder of Eco Boys and Girls and contributor of child-friendly content to the Comics initiative explained her motivation for getting involved. “Ernie Earth, Lulu Love, Patsy Peace, Ray Recycle and Sammy Sun are characters that I have created to entertain young children, as well as educate them around these 17 goals to make a better world for all,” Snyder said.
The World’s Largest Lesson uses the comics, together with other teaching and learning materials, to bring the messages of the SDGs to schools across the globe. In 2015, its inaugural year, the World’s Largest Lesson reached millions of children in thousands of classes across 160 countries. The upcoming ‘Lesson’ in September 2016 will go even further. Resources for schools are available in multiple languages and include content optimized for children with disabilities.
The aim is to get as many children and young people as possible aware of and interested in the Goals. It is also about teaching everyday habits that can make a big difference.
“Seventeen Sustainable Development Goals can seem really overwhelming,” said O’Shea, “but if you can break them down into everyday activities – turning off lights, bringing your own shopping bags to a store, volunteering to tutor children – you are making a difference. And, if millions of people did little things every day, it would amount to something extraordinary.”
About Comics Uniting Nations: Comics Uniting Nations is a partnership of UNICEF and the NGOs PCI Media Impact and Reading with Pictures, to make the Sustainable Development Goals accessible to the citizens of the world through comics. Working with a wide array of artists and content creators, Comics Uniting Nations leverages the universal visual language and transformative power of comics to educate people in every corner of the globe about the SDGs and empower them to create positive and lasting change in their own communities and worldwide. www.comicsunitingnations.org
About PCI Media Impact: PCI Media Impact is a pioneer and world leader in Entertainment-Education and communications for social change. For 30 years, we have advanced the well-being of vulnerable populations by improving knowledge, shifting locally-determined attitudes and changing behaviors toward critical social issues. Working with a capacity-building model through our My Community approach, our unique strategy of storytelling allows millions to live healthier lives, sustainably, and in harmony with their natural world. http://mediaimpact.org/
About Eco Boys and Girls: Eco Boys and Girls (EBAG) mission is to engage youth and families around the world to be aware of, involved with, and connected to each other and the earth and to empower them to learn about the environment and explore creative new ways to live in harmony. Eco Boys and Girls is an educational media organization that creates child-friendly, engaging books and other entertaining learning materials and programs to reach the youngest educable age group. EBAG’s focus is STEM, Peace, SDG’s education. EBAG’s programs are implemented through partnerships with leading orgs, such as such the National Education Association, Association of Children’s Museums, Search for Common Ground and the United Nations. www.ecoboysandgirls.com
About World’s Largest Lesson: The World’s Largest Lesson is an initiative of Project Everyone, founded by Richard Curtis, filmmaker, founder of Comic Relief and a United Nations SDG Advocate. Project Everyone seeks to put the power of great communications behind The Global Goals for Sustainable Development, accelerating the creation of a fairer world by 2030, where extreme poverty has been eradicated, climate change is properly addressed and injustice and inequality are unacceptable. As an integral part of Project Everyone’s work the World’s Largest Lesson is an initiative delivered in partnership with UNICEF to raise children and young people’s awareness of the new Global Goals and encourage them to become actively involved in their achievement. The second World’s Largest Lesson will take place during the week of the 18th September and schools across the globe will take part. http://worldslargestlesson.globalgoals.org/
About UNICEF: UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. www.unicef.org
Sean Southey, CEO, PCI Media Impact
Phone: (347) 276-1354
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Sean Southey
Position: CEO, PCI Media Impact
Comics Uniting Nations launches climate change comic for children at COP21
Comics Uniting Nations makes the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) accessible to children
PARIS, 10 December 2015 — As world leaders continue to convene at COP21 to reach an agreement on climate, Comics Uniting Nations launches a comic to help children and young people understand the effects of climate change.
The comic, Chakra – climate change, features one of India’s leading superheroes, “Chakra The Invincible,” who was created by Stan Lee and Sharad Devarajan, and addresses climate change through the adventures of “Chakra The Invincible” and his best friend, “Mighty Girl”.
Chakra – climate change is the third comic to be released in the three part series created by Comics Uniting Nations, a collaboration between Graphic India, PCI Media Impact, Reading With Pictures, and UNICEF. The series gives people around the world the chance to learn about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to help take action in achieving them.
The comic’s story follows a Model United Nations group discussing the effects of climate change on children and their countries. They decide to call on their superhero friends Chakra the Invincible and Mighty Girl, who try to fix the surface of the problem — using typhoon rains from the Philippines to put out a forest fire in Indonesia. But they soon realize that climate change is too complex to address action by action, even with superpowers. Instead, each community has to learn how to work together, and do its part.
In addition to Chakra – climate change, the series includes Heroes for Change, an introduction to the SDGs and Chakra – gender equality, a story created by Graphic India. Heroes for Change was released in September, when the United Nations officially adopted the new goals. It was distributed globally in 16 different languages as part of The World’s Largest Lesson and has already recorded over 120,000 downloads; its popularity led to official endorsement by the United Nations, including an announcement by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the New York Comic Con in October, which attracted over 167,000 comic fans.
In a prerecorded video complete with animated graphics and sound effects, the Secretary General said: “As a kid, I loved comic books. Now, I see how they inspire people. The United Nations and superheroes are both focused on saving humanity from war, injustice, baby aliens and blobs.”
As Sharad Devarajan, Co-Founder & CEO of Graphic India notes, “Our mission at Graphic India is to create new globalized superheroes that connect with audiences from Boston to Beijing to Bangalore, so we are thrilled and honored to be working with UNICEF and Comics Uniting Nations to bring ‘Chakra The Invincible’, India’s leading superhero, to readers around the world. By creating great comics for kids, we can plant powerful seeds of change that will have a lifelong impact and foster a new generation of global leaders, thinkers and doers to tackle the world’s most pressing issues like climate change and gender inequality.”
Olav Kjorven, Director of Public Partnerships at UNICEF said: “Comics can address challenging topics in unique and entertaining ways. By articulating the principles and values of the global goals through stories, imagery and even some famous characters, we can get people to think about these critical issues and what they mean to their lives, their family and their communities.”
Entertaining narrative is the perfect vehicle for complex lessons like these: we look for role models in the media messages around us, and narrative storytelling has been proven to resonate particularly well. As the organization’s CEO Sean Southey said: “Good content drives good conversation. Good conversation inspires behavior change and shifts social norms. These comics are compelling stories, and they use characters that people can relate to and connect with. This will help the initiative reach target populations effectively, and provoke the discussions needed to create sustainable change.”
However, neither great conversation, nor high-quality content can be effective in a vacuum. Comics Uniting Nations is dependent on the talent and generosity of its advocates and supporters, from the pro bono contributions of industry icons like Graphic India, Sharad Devarajan, Jeevan J. Kang and Stan Lee to language localization by Translation by Design and the unwavering commitment of the initiative’s founding partners. This ever-expanding network has allowed the comics to be made available online, in an ever-increasing number of languages, for free.
As Josh Elder, founder of Reading With Pictures, put it: “Comics combine words and pictures to create a universal language that can speak to everyone. Thanks to the generous contributions of time and talent by comic creators and publishers from around the world – including Dark Horse Comics, IDW, Well Told Story, Bob Layton, Michael Uslan and Margreet de Heer – we have been able to use that universal language to spread the SDGs to every corner of the globe. ”
This week, one of the founders of Comics Uniting Nations — Natabara Rollosson — has been actively supporting COP21 working for the UN’s Climate Secretariat. As he notes from Paris: “This comic is a simple, elegant communication tool to break through the complex messaging we usually associate with climate change communication. There should be more people delivering complex information in stories like this. For us, this is just the beginning. There are many important SDG stories to tell, so stay tuned.”
For more information about Comics Uniting Nations and to download the complete climate change comic, visit: www.comicsunitingnations.org.
To download the comic, click here.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org.
GRAPHIC INDIA is a character entertainment company focused on creating leading characters, comics and stories through mobile and digital platforms. Founded by media entrepreneurs Sharad Devarajan, Gotham Chopra and Suresh Seetharaman, the company’s partners and investors bring together decades of experience in building businesses in character entertainment, media and India. Graphic believes that India is home to some of the most creative talent in the world, with more than 500 million people under the age of 25 and more than 850 million mobile phone users in the country. The Company’s mission is to create enduring stories and heroes that foster the imaginations and fuel the inspirations of a new globalized generation of youth in both India and around the world. www.GraphicIndia.com.
PCI Media Impact is a pioneer and world leader in Entertainment-Education and communications for social change. We empower communities worldwide to inspire positive social and environmental change through storytelling and creative communications. For 30 years, we have used a unique capacity- building approach to advance the wellbeing of vulnerable populations by improving knowledge, shifting attitudes and changing behaviors on critical social issues. To learn more about PCI Media Impact, visit: www.mediaimpact.org.
Reading With Pictures advocates and supports the use of comics in education to promote literacy and improve educational outcomes for all students. We collaborate with cartoonists to create exceptional graphic content for scholastic use. We create and curate curriculum materials to support teachers in using comics in the classroom, and we act as “comics ambassadors” by organizing workshops and presenting lectures to audiences around the world. For more about Reading With Pictures, visit: www.readingwithpictures.org.