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<em>The Team</em>

"The work that Search for Common Ground is doing with the groundbreaking television project, The Team, matches our aims.  Football (soccer) is a remarkable tool which can break down barriers, foster understanding, and teach people valuable lessons on a wide range of social issues.”

--Richard Scudamore, Chief Executive of the Premier League

The Team featured in recent article in The Daily Beast: The World’s Most Subversive Soap Operas

October 27, 2013:
When veteran Hollywood screenwriter Deborah Jones saw that the director of photography on her latest dramatic series was carrying an AK47 assault rifle, she thought to herself, “That’s new,” and she was more than a little worried. Jones had had other problems on other locations. There were the warthogs on the set in Kenya, for instance. But this project—in Yemen—had seemed a little fraught from the beginning. She’d started working on it in 2010 with a local production company. Then came the Arab Spring and various armed standoffs and bombings around the country. But finally, finally, the soap opera The Team had gone into production in Yemen in 2012. And now this … assault rifle...

Click here to read the rest of the article...



Take a look at the new trailer for The Team!

In its multi-nation, episodic drama The Team, Search for Common Ground has merged the global appeal of soccer/football* with soap opera to help transform social attitudes and diminish violent behavior in countries grappling with deeply rooted conflict. The television series addresses the very real divisive issues facing societies in a dozen African, Asian and Middle Eastern countries, using sport as a unifier to surmount barriers. Each production of The Team follows the characters on a football team who must overcome their differences – be they cultural, ethnic, religious, tribal, racial or socio-economic – in order to work together to win the game.

The Team rings true for viewers, given that all of the series are created and produced locally. Actors and scriptwriters, who have experienced violent conflict and divisions firsthand, are drawn from local populations in countries like Kenya, Morocco and Cote d’Ivoire. Local production companies and technicians take the lead, with additional technical assistance and support from Common Ground Productions.

Inspired by worldwide passion for football, The Team sparks in viewers a sense of belonging to a whole that transcends often narrowly-defined identities.

The Team won the award for Best Film in the Human Security category at the 2010 We the Peoples Film Festival, in London. The festival is sponsored by The Westminster Branch of the United Nations Association and promotes the three pillars of Freedom: freedom from want, freedom from fear, freedom to live in dignity.

Players take the field in <em>The Team</em> (Kenya)

The Team Zimbabwe was a finalist for the 2013 FESPACO awards.

* 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.

THE TEAM: Highlights

  • The Team has been nominated for The Peace and Sport Award's Special Jury Prize from Peace and Sport.

  • The Team (Cote d’Ivoire) won first prize for the best African TV Series at the African Film Festival in Verona, Italy.

  • The Team (Kenya), broadcast on Kenya’s most watched television network (Citizen TV), was ranked among the Top Ten most popular TV programs in the country, with a viewership of 2.8 million. Almost three-quarters (73.1%) of respondents to an evaluation survey said they watched The Team TV drama or listened to the radio version.

  • Multiple initiatives have started across Kenya as a result of The Team outreach activities, including the formation of peace groups in Kisumu, Mombasa, Naivasha and Eldoret and the organisation of sports and peace events by youth.

  • Estimated viewership of The Team (Morocco) is at 22 to 23% of the population of 30 million. This is especially significant given that only 40% of Moroccans watch Moroccan – as opposed to satellite – television.

  • In addition to national broadcasts within each country of production, The Team is expanding its global reach through several new cross-border partnerships. The following International Broadcasters and Channels will be rebroadcasting The Team from Kenya internationally:

    • Link TV, a U.S. satellite broadcaster that reaches 30 million homes

    • CFI, a French satellite broadcaster, which will rebroadcast the series worldwide (CFI also distributes The Team in Cote d’Ivoire across Francophone Africa)

    • The United Kingdom’s Community Channel, which reaches 21 million homes

  • The Team (Kenya) was the subject of a NOW broadcast, which was seen nationally on PBS in the U.S.

  • Vibrant new media communities have been created to discuss issues arising from The Team, including a website and blog in Morocco (www.tanmia.ma/lequipe) and a website in Kenya partly using Sheng, a slang language spoken by most urban youth in the country (www.theteamkenya.com). 

  • The reach of The Team continues to grow. The Team has been produced in the following countries with future productions to follow:

Angola
Burundi
(radio only)
Cote d'Ivoire
DR Congo
Ethiopia
(radio only)
Indonesia
Kenya
Lebanon

Liberia
Morocco
Nepal
Pakistan
Palestine
Sierra Leone
Yemen
Tanzania
Zimbabwe

 

WHAT MAKES THE TEAM SO INNOVATIVE?

  • The Team uses popular culture to communicate positive messages.  Well-crafted, entertaining programming can have a profound impact on how people think about themselves, their neighbors, and their society. Using this “edutainment” medium, The Team is able to promote co-existence and connect with a broad and diverse audience otherwise hard to reach.

  • The series portrays positive role models and young people taking responsibility for their actions.

  • In rural areas where TV is not accessible, mobile cinema screenings are set up for public showings, followed by moderated discussions.

  • Each TV series will have a companion radio series to expand the program’s reach.

GOALS OF THE TEAM

  • Increase tolerance, cooperation and national unity in societies traditionally wracked by conflict.

  • Encourage dialogue instead of violence to address conflicts and differences.

  • Develop and expand the creative and technical capacities of local writers and technicians.

OUTREACH AND EVALUATION

  • Social media tools will be used for outreach and to receive audience feedback.

  • Evaluation Surveys will be conducted pre- and post-broadcast. 

  • Focus groups and case studies will be utilized to gather information on program impact.

ADDITIONAL FACTS

  • DVDs of the series will be distributed through local associations, community groups, schools, religious groups and universities.

"On the football pitch and in everyday life, cooperation, respect and tolerance are values that will make all of us real winners. The TV drama series, The Team, has managed to capture this philosophy in an informative, entertaining and eye-opening way."

--Lord Triesman, Chairman of the English Football Association

For more information on The Team, please contact Deborah Jones, Executive Producer of Common Ground Productions.


The Team has received funding from the following:

Skoll FoundationUnited Kingdom Foreign & Commonwealth Office USAIDU.S. Department of State USIP European Union