Reference : V-P-PH-D-00021-19
Date : 1986
Country/Region : PHILIPPINES
Caption : Zamboanga. Ayala Central School. Lesson on the Red Cross, Red Crescent Movement using the comics.
Photographer : BASTIAN, Jean
Confidentiality level : public
Publication restrictions : publication without restrictions
Copyright : ICRC
Description : Red Cross Comics in the Philippines

The Red Cross Comics were the central element in a countrywide communication programme in the mid-1980s, designed to spread information about the ICRC and national society in areas affected by the conflict between insurgent groups and government forces.

After opening its delegation in Manila in 1982, the ICRC developed an assistance programme - in partnership with the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) - to help civilians affected by the internal conflict.

At the same time, the ICRC received permission from the Philippine government to visit prisoners and detainees throughout the country, according to its standard criteria and procedures.

As the organization expanded its presence in the field, the delegation realised the need to explain the neutral and independent nature of its work as widely as possible, especially to the parties to the conflict.

Lacking direct contact with the insurgents at the time, the ICRC and the PNRC devised a communication programme that aimed to spread information as widely as possible, using simple means. The principle tool, initiated in 1984, was a six-part series of 4-page comics in A4 format, drawn by a local artist and scripted by PNRC and ICRC specialists.

The comics covered six themes, including a general introduction to the Red Cross, Red Cross tracing work, ICRC visits to detainees and Red Cross assistance operations for people affected by the internal conflict.

The main pillar of the strategy was to distribute the comics through primary schools in areas most affected by the violence. With the approval of the Ministry of Education, seminars were organized at central locations with teachers from every district; they were briefed on the project and given sufficient copies of the comics - as well as a specially designed teacher's guide - to take back to their schools.

This proved to be a major logistical exercise: for the Red Cross, in shipping sufficient quantities of materials to key locations throughout the archipelago, and for the teachers, in coming to the seminars: for some, it involved journeys of up to three days, from remote areas, riding on buffalo, trucks, boats, buses and motorcycles!

Lessons learned from the 1984 round prompted ICRC/PNRC to seek closer cooperation with the Ministry of Education the following year. In particular, this involved education specialists who drew up detailed teaching guides to facilitate the use of the comics in language classes and civic studies. All the materials were produced in both English and Filipino.

ICRC and PNRC staff participated in every seminar, and made follow-up visits to some schools. During their field missions they took the opportunity of making presentations to authorities, the military and the media, in order to amplify the dissemination process.

During the project, the ICRC conducted a photo reportage and co-produced, with a local TV station, a short video feature explaining the comics programme.
Original material : slide
Resolution : 3500x2261
Orientation : landscape
Colour/B&W : colour