The United Nations Development Programme recently launched a series of cartoons in Kazakhstan. The cartoons aim to show just how easy life can be with green transportation alternatives and that green choices, including public transport and bicycles, could improve the environment, public safety and save time.
The cartoons have been produced in three languages – Kazakh, Russian and English. The shorts are called “Choose the Transport for Life!”, “No Need for Superpowers if there is Supertransport!”, and “Safety – It’s Easy!”. They were produced with support from a joint project of the UNDP and Global Environment Facility (GEF) “City of Almaty Sustainable Transport” (CAST project) and the Almaty akimat (city municipality).
Nicolas Journoud, an Almaty-based French cartoonist, who is the author of the shorts, put in his ideas and experience to convey the message to the widest possible audience.
On choosing to do this work, Journoud said: “I have lived in Almaty since 2006, and as a cyclist and pedestrian I could not remain indifferent to the problem of air pollution in the city. As a citizen and as an artist, I think that animation can be a very efficient tool, both funny and attractive, to promote non-motorised kinds of transport. It is also important to remind people about basic safety rules, so they treat their city in a more responsible and smart way and care about the environment. Therefore I decided to contribute to the CAST project’s awareness campaign.”
Almaty Public Transport Department is helping to show the cartoons on LED-displays in the metro, on public transport, in Almaty airport and a railway station, as well as in social media and on the project channel.
We have already received positive feedback from the public about the cartoons.
Karina Ailkhanova, a 36-year old mother of two, felt the cartoons could make a significant impact: “I thought that the cartoon was really eye-catching: I like that it is so bright and vibrant. What is important to me as a mom is that my seven-year-old son can grasp its meaning. So, it really goes a long way to teaching kids that green transport is a healthy choice.”
In the past, our project had produced videos about the positive impact of sustainable transport to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve the environment. We hope that using cartoons for advocacy will help us attract more attention from younger audiences.
Why not? Advocacy advertising is an effective way to draw people’s attention to the existing problems of extreme air pollution in Almaty, where motorised transport accounts for 80% of pollution. This also includes traffic congestion and its other negative impacts. Visual information is normally better and easier perceived by the public and plays an important role in forming its opinion.
The author represents UNDP-GEF Almaty Sustainable Transport Project