A leading development communicator

Baobab Productions has been a leader in communicating about and for the developing world since 1995. Baobab can help you meet your development communications/education needs—from enhancing your brand identity; creating and producing your institutional video; to helping you effectively reach the media and your stakeholders with your stories and messages, plan and execute development communications initiatives to enhance your project outputs and impact.

We are also experienced in the emerging field of communications for development— where the power of media is harnessed to bring real development outcomes to those disadvantaged or at risk. We can deliver training and capacity enhancement to partners in the developing world in communications, production, and editorial values.

Our team

Recording an interview in Uganda

Baobab founder, David Mowbray, is an award-winning journalist and experienced development practitioner. After doing graduate work in elementary particle physics, David turned to broadcasting. He has been writer and host of "Quirks and Quarks," the internationally-acclaimed, radio, science magazine; has written and presented hundreds of feature reports for Canadian television and radio. David has also headed the communications departments of three leading international research for development organizations, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) headquartered in Nigeria, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in Mexico and most recently the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA). In 2008-2009 he was the BBC Media Action Director for Africa. Media Action is the BBC's international development charity. He brings to Baobab more than 20 years of broadcast experience and another 20 years of work in development communications. David has taught University level physics and astronomy as well as journalism and acts as a senior consultant to Farm Radio International.

On location in the Andes

Associate Producer, Marlene Bedford, comes to Baobab from the world of portrait photography. She has photographed many of Canada's most important political and cultural figures. She brings to Baobab a vast body of expertise, both in photography and in business administration, having co-owned and managed a photo studio for more than 20 years. Marlene is also a fine writer (though she denies this herself) and on field assignments is able to make personal connections with people very quickly. This talent shines brightly in disadvantaged, rural areas of Africa and Asia. There women farmers, often living with cultural norms that give men all the power, feel very comfortable talking with Marlene. They look on her as a woman who does not need to take second place to a man. Her photographhic assignments have included work for the Canadian International Development Agency (now Global Affairs Canada), the World Agroforestry Center and the Internationa Development Research Centre (IDRC).

The Baobab tree

Baobab tree in Mali

The Baobab tree is a potent symbol in many African mythologies. Baobab trees alive today were growing when Augustus Caesar ruled Europe, northern Africa and the Middle East. When their leaves have fallen, the gnarly, twisted trunks and branches of Baobabs stand like sentinels on the vast landscape of Africa.

In Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's famous children's book, The Little Prince, it was giant Baobab trees that threatened to take over the Prince's tiny world. In fact the Baobab is among the largest and longest-lived trees on earth. It survives prolonged droughts by storing water in its giant, fibrous, sponge-like trunk which can be up to nine metres across. That trunk can be hollowed out to make a shelter, or cut into water containers. When in leaf, the Baobab produces an edible fruit that has the highest concentration of Vitamin C of any plant. The leaves themselves are rich in Vitamin A and the shade of those leaves and branches provides a relatively cool refuge for other living things in the sub-Saharan heat.

For millennia people have gathered below the branches of the Baobab to debate and discuss important issues and ideas. In the creation stories of some African cultures it is the tree under which man was born.

The Baobab tree symbolizes endurance, conservation, creativity, ingenuity and dialogue.

Baobab tree photo credit: Debra Lodoen. Taken near Segou, Mali

Working in the developing world

We have worked in some of the most challenging and interesting places on earth. Click here to see where we have worked superimposed on the poverty map from the World Bank.

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