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.
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.
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
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