If only all communication for development materials could be as creative, powerful, clear, holistic and integrated…..it would be a better world out there.
— S. Michiels, UNICEF; Communication for Development Specialist

About the Film

In response to the cholera epidemic that began in Haiti in late 2010, we produced an award-winning animated—The Story of Cholera—which is designed to help affected populations around the world better understand cholera and how to prevent it. The film was produced in collaboration with internationally acclaimed animator Yoni Goodman. It has been seen in virtually every country in the world, and is currently narrated in 31 languages.

The story features a young boy who helps a health worker save his father and then guides his village in preventing cholera from spreading. By making the invisible cholera germs visible, this simple animated narrative brings to life the teaching points of cholera prevention.

It has been used extensively to educate cholera-affected populations in Haiti and in West Africa during 2011. Senior staff from UNICEF and other humanitarian organizations have praised the film’s ability to empower local populations to improve their hygiene and protect themselves from cholera.

The Story of Cholera is widely used as a general tool for teaching sanitation and hygiene, and has become a favorite educational tool among communication for development specialists, aid workers, animators, and public health experts. It has been translated and narrated by groups all over the world, and used in diverse settings such as refugee camps in Lebanon and state-wide training programs in India.

The importance and excellence of the film has been recognized by a large number of awards: it has won 10 and been an “official selection” at 12 film festivals, including Annecy, the most renown in the world of animation. In 2012, it won the audience favorite in the Vermont International Film Festival in 2012.  The film has been featured on numerous websites including the Harvard School of Public Health.

Acknowledgments

Many people—in addition to those in the film credits—generously contributed their time and expertise to make this film possible. Several experts made sure that the technical information on cholera was accurate and up-to-date. We would like to extend our special thanks to Laurent Nicole, UNICEF Deputy Coordinator of the WASH cluster in Haiti in 2011.

Many others offered their language skills for translation and narration so that the film could be accessible to populations wherever cholera may be a threat. Following is a partial list of individuals who we would like to thank for their significant contributions to this project. We would also like to thank all those who reviewed the film at various stages of production and provided valuable feedback.

Original Film Credits

Director: Yoni Goodman
Producer: Deborah Van Dyke
Story: Deborah Van Dyke, Yoni Goodman
Design: Yoni Goodman
Animation: Yoni Goodman, Sefi Gayego
Music and sound effects: Uri Kalian
Special thanks: Mark Binder, Peter Cardellichio, Ron Koss

In addition, we’d like to thank Chris Curl for developing the Flashcards.

Some of the feedback we have received …

This is truly amazing artwork! Well done! If only all communication for development materials could be as creative, powerful, clear, holistic and integrated…..it would be a better world out there. One of the big issues with health comms products is that they are seldom appealing to the audiences, rarely do they apply and form the shape of creative thinking, and very rarely do the ‘producers’ including the technical folks behind content production, make the intellectual effort of thinking holistically integrating many different issues that are inter-related and connected in order to show the causal links between human behaviour/actions and the onset of ‘disease’ (germs) which is crucial to achieve some form of “aaaaaaaaahhhhhaaaaaa” effect, followed by enlightenment and change. So glad one of my colleagues shared this video with me, now I can show technical folks what I mean by integrated and holistic thinking and how that can be visualized. Many many many thanks and kudos to the production/think tank team.

— S. Michiels, UNICEF; Communication for Development Specialist


As an educator and communications expert, I have found that this video meets all criteria for effective communication of health promotion practices. And it does it beautifully! I have begun to show this to community health workers in training and I show the video without any sound at all. While the narration and music are excellent additions, the video is superb without it. Lack of audio also highlights that you don’t have to be proficient in a beneficiary’s language to teach them basic health promotion practices. Excellent work. Am looking forward to a whole series from this amazing team – possible?!

— Nancy Claxton, Education and Communications Advisor; IFRC


This is a really useful resource for our work on Cholera in the region – which I recently field-tested at a community meeting in a Cholera affected community in Ghana. It was thoroughly appreciated by the audience who picked up the main points about how cholera is transmitted, and what can be done to prevent it, even though most of the audience were not English speakers. Perhaps more importantly than that, it also enabled a discussion about what the community could do for themselves to address the environmental and hygiene issues, which left them prone to regular cholera outbreaks. 

— Email communication to UNICEF Headquarters August, 2012
Simon Lawson, UNICEF; Communications for Development Consultant, West Africa