16 Feb 2007

The Open University and BBC One ask Does Africa Need Ade?

Does Africa need Ade?

Does Africa need Ade?

BBC One, 10.40pm on Wednesday February 28:In this Open University/BBC co-production, Comic Relief veteran Ade Edmondson travels to the drought-stricken Wajir province of northern Kenya to see how money raised for Comic Relief is being spent.

Ade witnesses at first-hand the devastating effect of climate change on Kenya’s nomadic pastoralists, who are, facing starvation because 80% of their livestock has died, and he looks at long-term sustainable solutions to a humanitarian crisis that has been labelled ‘the worst drought of the decade’.

Ade’s journey takes him from being a curious bystander of emergency food aid to an activist for long-term change. His encounter with the elusive local MP for Wajir is confrontational as he grills the minister about the decision to provide the area with public toilets instead of water pumps.

Helen Yanacopolous of The Open University’s International Development programme, who advised the production team, said: “One of The Open University’s aims is to work in partnership with organisations such as Comic Relief to help attune our teaching and research within the UK and overseas to a diverse, multi-cultural world.

"The Open University's ongoing support for Red Nose Day is part of its mission to increase wider participation in education and social justice both in the UK and the developing world."

Ade visits Comic Relief-funded projects that have helped pastoralists rebuild their lives after drought. He asserts that whilst keeping livestock is the most feasible way of life in Wajir, the region’s potential will never be realized without investment in livestock markets, abattoirs, roads and veterinary clinics – the infrastructure Kenya’s pastoralists so desperately need.

Ade said: "It’s no good some stupid comic from England telling these people how to change their life. Solutions can’t be imposed from above or outside. We have to engineer the circumstances whereby Kenya’s pastoralists can sort out their own problems. That’s what Comic Relief money is doing."

Editor’s Notes

Does Africa need Ade? is an Open University/BBC co-production. It will broadcast on Wednesday February 28 at 10.40pm on BBC One.

The Producer of the film is Julian Mercer; the Executive Producer for the Open University is Emma De’Ath.

With programmes such as Does Africa need Ade? the OU offers the support of its academics in International Development who can add value to the production by providing context and discussion of the issues covered during the making of the programmes.

The University provides a forum and the opportunity to learn more about the issues raised, such as International Debt at www.open2.net

Comic Relief was launched live on BBC ONE on Christmas Day 1985 from a refugee camp in Safawa, Sudan in response to the African famine. As well as doing something about that very real and direct emergency, Comic Relief was determined to help tackle broader needs of poor and disadvantaged people in Africa and the UK. Since then Comic Relief has raised over £425million, with £355million of that raised by Red Nose Days alone.

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