Creative’s videos earn 6 prestigious awards in global competition

By: Michael J. Zamba

Trauma-informed education in Northern Ethiopia from Creative Associates Int’l on Vimeo.

Three videos produced by Creative Associates International about innovative field programming earned six awards – a Gold, three Silvers and two Bronzes – in one of the most prestigious global competitions in video across all screens called the Telly Awards 

Two videos about the USAID-supported READ II Education Recovery Activity in Ethiopia scored five of the six awards. “Trauma-Informed Education in Northern Ethiopia” earned two awards – including the top honor of Gold for script writing – and “Using Art to Overcome Trauma” earned three awards, including two Silver awards and a Bronze.  

One of the two videos produced for the USAID-supported Peacebuilding, Stabilization & Reconciliation program, Artisans for Peace, earned a Silver for videography/cinematography. The Artisans for Peace initiative is implemented in collaboration with Creative Learning’s Aid to Artisans.  

Creative President & CEO Leland Kruvant commended the close collaboration among programs, communications and the communities to make these successful videos.  

“The videos from Mali and Ethiopia channel the voices of people in these communities to larger audiences, each time showing that they have agency and determination to overcome obstacles in conflict and post-conflict situations,” Kruvant says. “While we are honored for the recognition of our outstanding videos, we continue to be driven by the positive results in these communities.” 

Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Jim Huylebroek earned the two Silver Awards for the six-minute video about artwork as therapy in Ethiopia and the four-minute video about artisans for peace in Mali. Michael J. Zamba earned the Gold for script writing of the trauma-informed education video and a Bronze for the one on how schools are using art to help students to overcome the effects of the two-year conflict in Northern Ethiopia.  

The team – including Zamba, Huylebroek, former READ II Communications Manager Habtamu Gelgel, video editor Yevgeniya “Jane” Bondar and HQ Senior Manager for Strategic Content, Ashley Williams – won a Silver for Social Impact for the artwork as therapy video and a Bronze for Social Impact for the trauma-informed education production. 


The USAID-supported READ II – originally focusing on early grade reading – shifted its efforts after November 2020 when a regional conflict broke out in Ethiopia, quickly moving to address the needs of students, educators and communities in the Amhara, Afar and Tigray Regions. It was renamed READ II Education Recovery Activity. 

The Activity provides training and ongoing support to teachers and community leaders on psychological first aid, psychological support and social-emotional learning to support classroom and school-level recovery and learning. School leaders receive support in creating safe and protective learning environments to lead their schools and temporary learning centers to better recover from conflict shocks. Teaching and learning can recommence, along with the development of school-level psychosocial support mechanisms. 

Another video produced by Creative highlights how the READ II Education Recovery Activity used sports and recreation to support students. It was produced by Williams, filmed by Huylebroek and edited by Charlotte Bellis.  

Mali: Artisans for Peace from Creative Associates Int’l on Vimeo.


The Mali Peacebuilding, Stabilization and Reconciliation program seeks to improve prospects for long-term peace, security and reconciliation in Mali by building trust between conflict-affected communities and their governments, strengthening the ability of communities to mitigate and manage conflict, and training and empowering marginalized youth as change agents. The five-year program, which ends this summer, contributes to measurable improvements in the efficiency, effectiveness, and capacities of local communities to be more resilient to conflict and violent extremism and brings citizens and local leaders together to build peace.  

The program focuses on 43 communities, or “communes,” in the Mopti, Ségou, Gao, Kidal, Ménaka, Taoudénit and Timbuktu regions.  

The program fosters local ownership of peacebuilding and strengthens the links and communication within and between communities and with the government, with a focus on elevating the voices and engagement of often-marginalized groups like women, youth and ethnic minorities.  

In addition to the Artisans for Peace video, Creative produced a four-minute piece about countering disinformation and misinformation in Mali. The video was filmed by Huylebroek, produced and written by Zamba and edited by Bellis.  


Organizers of the Telly Awards said the announcement of 2023’s winners caps “a year-long celebration of creators and talent who truly stand out during a time when the ubiquity of screens brings more clutter than quality into our lives. These are the creators and innovators who spotlight diverse voices, who are building a more sustainable industry, and who break through the static with their creativity.”  

This was a record-breaking year with nearly 13,000 entries from across the globe and top video and television content producers, such as Airbnb, Audible, BET Networks/BET Digital, BritBox, Disney, FEMA, Golden State Warriors, NASA, National Geographic Society, Netflix, Paramount, PBS Digital Studios and more, according to an official announcement by the Telly Awards. 

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