FIELDCRAFT STUDIOS | Live storytelling from Uganda using WhatsApp


Live storytelling from Uganda using WhatsApp

A fundraising campaign where we use WhatsApp to interview a VSO nurse in Uganda, record & transmit the audio back to our studio and then craft it into engaging, animated social videos.


  1. Creative ‘live’ storytelling

  2. Effective content marketing

  3. Producing social videos

  4. Generating social engagement

How to share ‘live’ storytelling from Uganda without getting on a plane

VSO approached us to produce compelling content and social media adverts for their Christmas fundraising campaign.

They wanted to share the life-saving work of VSO volunteer Gerieke Zandberg, a pediatric nurse volunteering in a neo-natal unit, Uganda.

Storytelling that allows the audience to walk in the shoes of a VSO nurse

We wanted the audience to experience the highs and lows of pediatric nurse Gerieke’s working week.

And we wanted to create a more visceral experience for a social media audience – enabling them to walk alongside Gerieke and to meet the babies’ and families whose lives she was saving.

Storytelling that raises money

VSO’s Christmas appeal was to raise money to buy new medical equipment.

We needed to ensure that our storytelling clearly demonstrated a need for new equipment in a compelling way.

With little to no equipment at the hospital in Uganda, Gerieke was improvising on a daily basis and finding ways to save premature babies’ lives.

We focused on this DIY approach knowing it would highlight the need for vital, life-saving equipment.

Storytelling in the run-up to Christmas

Using Gerieke’s own words we produced a weekly, animated diary that told the real-life stories of the mums and premature babies she had been saving.

Every week, for 6-weeks in the run-up to Christmas, the audience heard how Gerieke struggles with the lack of equipment, often improvising oxygen delivery with a plastic water bottle.

She also made a simple resuscitation device using a plastic bottle and duct tape.

Hearing these stories of making do and improvising, told by the nurse whilst working in the hospital, is very compelling.

Creating content across continents with no telephone connection

Telephone and internet connection with Uganda can be problematic we solved this by using WhatsApp.

We interviewed Gerike at the end of her working week choosing one key story to focus.

WhatsApp was then used to record and send and receive the audio.

Stark stories – stark creative

It was important that the style of the animation was designed to catch the audiences’ attention.

We took a very stark, black and white approach partly to reflect the stark nature of the storytelling and to make sure the content would stand-out on a Facebook and Instagram timeline.

Week One: Live from Uganda.

Facebook social adverts

We produced a series of three Facebook canvas adverts.

Audience engagement is essential. A key challenge for charities working on international development issues is how to engage the audience with the issues in the first place.

We produce content that involves audiences in the storytelling as opposed to letting them passively consume it. This approach always produces better results.

Audience engagement

We wanted to give the audience an insight into what it would be like to be a mother with a premature or sick baby in Uganda.

Facebook Canvas is a mobile-only, and instant-loading experience ideal for interactive storytelling as it allows the audience to interact with the content.

You can watch engaging videos, swipe through carousels and move images around to explore them.

Social media adverts: Janet’s story – a Facebook canvas advert created for the campaign

Our first canvas advert focused on Gerieke’s work. To begin the storytelling experience you follow her through the doors of the premature baby ward as she invites you onto the ward.

The second advert focused on the importance of skills training and we join Gereike as she does a ward round.

And the final Facebook canvas advert (above) tells Janet’s story.

Janet had a difficult birth and her baby wasn’t breathing – but because VSO nurses saved her baby boy, she was able to bring him home in time for Christmas.

Live from Uganda

Watch the weekly diaries below.

Week Two
Week Three
Week Four
Week Five
Week 6

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