“Such images can bring peace since they push every single citizen to respect each other beyond cultural, ethnic and political differences in order to achieve the interests that all Ivoirians share – that is to say, the development of Côte d’Ivoire.”
- Abotcha Roger, Chief of Blokoss Village in Abidjan
Scenes from L’Equipe (The Team) in Côte d’Ivoire: "Un Match Amical" ("A Friendly Match")
Côte d’Ivoire has been embroiled in civil unrest and national instability since the violent military uprising of 2002. As part of ongoing peacebuilding efforts, Search for Common Ground began collaborating on a local production of The Team (L’Equipe) in 2008, creating a drama series that aims to shift the way Ivoirians think about their neighbors and themselves.
Using television to promote positive social change, L’Equipe dramatizes cooperative ways of overcoming ethnic, religious and socioeconomic divisions, reflecting the desire of all Ivoirians to live together in peace. L’Equipe encourages a greater commitment by both civil society and the government to the country’s process of democratization, strengthening of rule-of-law, poverty reduction, and other pressing issues.
When young Ivoirians from very different backgrounds find themselves playing on the same soccer/football* team in L’Equipe, the only thing they have in common is their mutual love of football and their desire to win. They must find ways of overcoming their differences and learning to cooperate so that they can score goals and win the game. While each episode focuses on a different set of issues and challenges for the young players, the underlying theme of youth empowerment is ever present.
* The sport known as soccer in the United States will hereafter be referred to as football, as it is known in the rest of the world.
Facts about L’Equipe in Côte d’Ivoire
Season 1 had a weekly viewing audience estimated at 3.4 million people.
Season 1 won first prize for the best African TV Series at the African Film Festival in Verona, Italy.
The series was co-produced by JNB Productions, an Ivoirian production company. Jean-Noel Bah, head of JNB, co-wrote, directed and produced the series.
A radio version was broadcast on Ivorian national radio.
Mobile cinema screenings were held in five Côte d’Ivoire cities, two of which had been torn apart by the country’s civil war, reaching some 15,000 viewers
Some 3,000 copies of the series have been distributed, primarily to youth, in 12 cities.
Because of the show’s popularity, RTI is rebroadcasting Season 1 while waiting for Season 2.
The series has been acquired by CFI for francophone satellite distribution in Sub-Saharan Africa.