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The Team - Better Together: Television Soap Opera
an article by Search for Common Ground

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.



click on photo to enlarge

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.

It was also screened at the Sport Film Festival in Palermo, Italy in November 2010.

Search for Common Ground is currently producing multi-episode, soccer-based, TV and radio soap opera series in 17 different countries. Programs have already aired in Côte d'Ivoire, DRC, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco, and the Palestinian Territories. In recent months, additional Team series have been broadcast in Liberia, Nepal, and Sierra Leone. Here are some viewer reactions to the Nepalese series, which has become a national sensation.

"It relays social messages of solidarity, irrespective of what caste we are from."

"It has inspired all Nepalese to do something good for our future. It has given us a lesson that everyone is important to each other."

"It's a different TV program from any other that I have watched. And the theme song is really good."

To watch a music video of this song, please click here.

DISCUSSION

Question(s) related to this article:


Soap operas for peace, How do they work?,

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This discussion question applies to the following articles:

The Team - Better Together: Television Soap Opera
Lebanon: Divided by War, United by The Team
In Nepal, Woman Radio Host Makes Big Splash over Airwaves


This report was posted on November 8, 2011.