Motorbike Cinema “Cineboda” Tests, Northern Bahr al Ghazal, South Sudan, Part IV, Technical Lessons and Recommendations

An evaluation of the peacebuilding impact of the exercise was outside the scope of this activity. This test was simply intended to subject the Cine-boda concept to a real-world situation. Some findings and lessons are outlined below:

a. Screen
The screen was satisfactory and could easily entertain 200+ persons. Good tension was achieved in the first two showings using the bungee attachments provided. This provided a good cinematic experience. The screen was poorly set up in the third showing, which used the Velcro attachments provided. This was primarily because the team had not been trained in using the Velcro. Lessons include:

• Provide larger screen.
• Screen risks becoming creased. Consider spandex based screen for version 2.
• The Velcro attachment system can produce the necessary tension but will rip paint off surfaces on removal, limiting its application.
• Training for team in various methods of erecting screen is important.
• Develop a fold out frame from Cineboda for rear projection to avoid the need for a surface to attach screen.
• Need pegs and more holes in bottom of screen.

b. Power
The battery unit successfully charged from the motorbike alternator, the solar panels and the A.C power.

• Solar charging: Solar system successful and drew about 11watts of charging power continuously. 6 hours of sunshine fully charged system after 2 hours of screenings.
• Motorbike charging: 12v charging system from motorbike provided up to 40watts of charging power to battery system when driving and about 9 on tickover.
• Charge still showed 90% after two hour screening.
• Screenings do not need engine running.
• Battery capacity is generous and could be reduced.
• Battery is large and heavy and could be reduced in size and weight.
• Next generation Cineboda should run both speaker and projector from single battery source.


c) Audiences of 100-250 people
Audiences were small because the activities took place within compounds and were not advertised outside of the immediate community. However, lessons include:

• System reaches audiences who do not have access to power.
• System can easily reach audiences of 250
• System can get to hard to reach communities off-road.
• Sound volume sufficient for outdoors and amidst background noise

d) Microphone to facilitate showings and discussion

• Microphone worked well.
• Bluetooth microphone would be an improvement because it would lower barriers to audience engagement in discussion (they would not need to stand and come to the front to speak)

Continue reading “Motorbike Cinema “Cineboda” Tests, Northern Bahr al Ghazal, South Sudan, Part IV, Technical Lessons and Recommendations”

Motorbike Cinema “Cineboda” Tests, Northern Bahr al Ghazal, South Sudan, Part III, Test Screenings

To test the mobile motorbike cinema unit, we drove out from Aweil an hour or so north on poor roads to Wanyjok, where we spent a couple of days showing participatory films. The films were jointly created by Dinka and Misseriya participants, facilitated by the amazing folk at BuildPeace. This is how we got on.

Simon and Deng Deng set up the first screenings, using the solar powered light (included and in post featured image above).

We also screened selected clips from inside the February Dinka-Misseriya peace conference as well as a number of other films (including the South Sudan Theatre Organisation’s Citizen Theatre film).

The first night at the Abyei Community Development Foundation was a good run through, but since the venue had a generator and a TV (which kicked in half way through) it was not a good example of our target location.

However, the kit really came alive on the second night when we drove it through floodwater to a women’s training center just outside town. This place, like the overwhelming majority of Northern Bahr al Ghazal, does not have any access to electricity.

The response was fantastic.

Continue reading “Motorbike Cinema “Cineboda” Tests, Northern Bahr al Ghazal, South Sudan, Part III, Test Screenings”

Motorbike Cinema “Cineboda” Tests, Northern Bahr al Ghazal, South Sudan, Part II, Justification

The motor-bike cinema could be used for all types of social change communications in health, education and entertainment sectors.

The idea behind Cine-boda in Northern Bahr al Ghazal is that it could contribute to bridging gaps between local political processes and wider populations, specifically to support inter-community relations between migrating Arab pastoralists from Sudan and host populations.

In Northern Bahr al Ghazal, VISTAS has been supporting a remarkable process of government led peaceful coexistence between Sudanese nomadic pastoralists and Dinka host communities for years. Read more about this amazing work here.

As in most places, the peace processes in Northern Bahr al Ghazal generally involve elites (albeit an inclusive group of local ones) in the form of local officials, chiefs, civil society leaders and members of peace committees.

Dialogue among these ‘key-people’ (to borrow a term generated from decades of practical peace building research) is absolutely necessary to develop and enforce peaceful rules that can govern relations between communities in, or at risk of, ongoing conflict.

However, as anyone who has been involved in any public policy process knows, a major challenge is to ensure that outcomes of higher-level dialogue, confidence building and rule-making actually leads to wider social and behavioral change within and between communities, the “more people”.

Part of the solution is the strict and impartial enforcement of rules by state actors (in Northern Bahr al Ghazal this has included for better or worse the threat of “firing squad” for even minor deviation).

But an important part of the solution lies in disseminating the contents of agreements (the “rules”), demonstrating mutual benefits (such as reduced market prices), communicating successes (such as the payment of diya), addressing rumor and communicating authority. To meet these needs and prevent spoilers undermining the buy-in that exists, VISTAS has supported dissemination tours by joint-peace committee members.

This is where film can also play a role (with sufficient reach). Indeed, we believe it can complement these efforts in a unique and important way.

Film allows communities to experience the development of the rules they are expected to follow; to hear directly and incontrovertibly the commitments of leaders from both communities; and to see in Technicolor justice done, security guarantees enforced and economic benefits accrued.

Read part III of this post for more detailed results of the pilot tests.

Motorbike Cinema “Cineboda” Tests, Northern Bahr al Ghazal, South Sudan, Part I

Q: What do some of the most remote and conflict-affected persons in the world need?
A: A mobile motorbike cinema?

Q: Are you sure….

USAID’s VISTAS program in South Sudan asked Transformedia to come up with a rugged mobile cinema solution for use in remote areas.

Our response was a solar-powered mobile motorcycle cinema, christened “Cine-boda”.

The solar and alternator charged Cine-boda can be used to transport and screen films to audiences of 250+ people in remote areas without access to external power for weeks at a time.

This post outlines the findings of our initial tests in a remote part of South Sudan

“Boda: East African motorbike taxi, originally used to transport people across the “no-mans-land” between the border posts without the paperwork involved with using motor vehicles crossing the international border.”

We needed to know how our concept would play in practice. So we arranged some tests.

The short video above is from our Cine-boda situation tests in remote areas of Northern Bhar al Ghazal State, South Sudan in late summer 2015. Massive thanks go to VISTAS team members Simon and Deng Deng who did a fantastic job of both running the kit and facilitating audience discussion.

We are now developing an improved Cine-boda Version 2 based on the lessons outlined in Part IV below and the test screenings outlined in Parts II and Part III. Please check them out and be in touch with your feedback!