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About this Website

Book photo.JPG

Neill McKee, Filmmaker, Multimedia Producer, Creative Nonfiction Writer and Author

From 1968 to 2012, I worked in the field of international development education and communication. This website contains links to the majority of the initiatives (films/videos, animated films/videos, comic books, facilitators' guides, that I started, raised initial funds for, and helped to create and manage throughout my career. (Note: Most of the resources are available on various websites and I have amalgamated them here.) I received a B.A. from the University of Calgary and an M.S. in Communication from Florida State University. During my career, I was employed by Canadian University Service Overseas (CUSO) (1968-74); Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) (1975-89); UNICEF in Bangladesh and Eastern and Southern Africa (1990-2000); the Center for Communication Programs, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore and Moscow (2001-2008), the Academy for Educational Development and FHI 360, Washington, D.C. (2008-2012). I worked and lived in Malaysia, Bangladesh, Kenya, Uganda, and Russia for a total of 18 years and traveled to over 80 countries on short-term assignments. In 2015, I settled in New Mexico, where I now use my varied experiences, memories, and imagination in creative nonfiction writing. My first travel memoir, Finding Myself in Borneo: Sojourns in Sabah has won three awards. My second travel memoir, Guns and Gods in My Genes: A 15,000-mile North American search through four centuries of history, to the Mayflower, is a deep dive into my ancestry, written in an entertaining way. My third, soon to be released, is titled, Kid on the Go! Memoir of My Childhood and Youth. I am now working on a new travel memoir on my main career. 


Sara Communication Initiative

"Stories create community, enable us to see through the eyes of other people, and open us to the claims of others."   - Peter Forbes

Sara logo.jpg

UNICEF's Sara Communication Initiative for the adolescent girl in Africa ran for about 15 years, including with private-sector collaboration, starting in the mid-1990s. The media products address child rights, gender discrimination, protection from sexual exploitation and HIV/AIDS. The stories were researched and designed to build the life skills of young adolescent girls in Africa. Neill McKee started Sara but the initiative was successful due to the dedicated and creative work of a large team of people, including Nuzhat Shahzadi, coordinator from 1996-2000, Justus Olielo, Richard Mabala, Rachel Carnegie, Dr. Mira Aghi, Ram Mohan and his team in Mumbai, and a long list of African artists and researchers, national UNICEF focal points, as well as others mentioned in the credits of the media products, below. The videos remain very popular on YouTube and the comic books with users' guides, as well as other documents are available to view and/or download. (Note: Swahili, French, and Portuguese versions were also produced for some episodes and may be available from African NGOs or UNICEF offices.) 

Sara comic books with facilitator guides and video links

Click on covers to view or download
The Special Gift.jpg
Keeping girls in school
Daughter of a Lioness.jpg
Preventing Female Genital Mutilation
Sara Saves her Friend.jpg
Protection from sexual abuse
(English version with French titles)
Who is Afraid of the Thief.jpg
Preventing domestic child labor
No video
Delaying early sex and teenage pregnancy
The Empty Compound.jpg
Dealing with HIV/AIDS stigma
No video
The Trap.jpg
Dealing with "sugar daddies"
Sara and the boy soldier.jpg
Protecting the rights of children in armed conflict
No video


Sara mega doc cover.jpg
Sara study.jpg

SARA would not have been possible without the support of the Government of Norway, UNICEF Committees in the US, Canada, UK, the Netherlands and Germany, as well as UNAIDS.


Meena Communication Initiative

This page is dedicated to the memory of Ram Mohan, father of animated film in South Asia 

Meena logo.jpg
UNICEF's Meena Communication Initiative has been operating in South Asia since 1992. It was designed to build children's life skills and involve parents, communities, and leaders in addressing all forms of gender discrimination against young South Asian girls. Meena has also been integrated into many health, education, and other child rights programs as can be seen by the topics on the comic books and videos below. Neill McKee came up with the original concept for Meena when he was UNICEF's chief of communication in Dhaka, Bangladesh during 1990-93. He raised the initial funds and brought on board a wonderful team (see below). Meena materials are very well-known and still used today throughout the region. Some national language versions are still available online or available from UNICEF country offices. See documentation below for more detail.

Meena's Core Team: Rachel Carnegie creative designer/coordinator/manager; Ram Mohan artist and animator, who first worked with Hanna Barbera's FIL Cartoons in Manila, Philippines, before taking over all the work with his team in Mumbai; and Dr. Mira Aghi, regional research director. Nuzhat Shahzadi became engaged in Meena story creation from late 1992, and after Rachel left, Nuzhat took over as Meena Bangladesh focal point and production manager for episodes already started during 1994-95. Due to the strong support of Morten Giersing, then UNICEF's regional communication officer, a Meena regional coordinator's post was created to take over management at UNICEF's regional office and Kathmandu, Nepal. Christian Clark became the first regional coordinator during 1994-99 and he led the creation of new episodes. Nuzhat took over from him during 2001-2004, after completing her role as the Sara Communication Initiative coordinator in Africa during 1996-2001. Other original country focal points include Renu Ghosh in India, Raana Syed and Ramzan Azhar in Pakistan, Sharad Ranjid in Nepal, who all played crucial roles. In the credits of the comic books and videos, below, they and other researchers, artists, and UNICEF staff members are mentioned, including Mira Mitra who took over as Meena's national focal point in Bangladesh in 1997, keeping the initiative very much alive and creating new episodes for Bangladesh use until she retired in 2015, when Tania Sultana took over. 

"It is through storytelling that we are given direction, values, vision and inspiration." - Brian McLaren

Meena's First Decade: Research, Creation, and Dissemination 

Meeting Meena.jpg
Click above image to view and/or download

See other links and articles after media products

A special thanks to the Government of Norway for supporting Meena from 1991 to 2004

Meena comic books and video links

Click covers below to view and/or download
Count your chickens.jpg
Girls' enrollment in school
Meena's Three Wishes.jpg
Clean water, sanitation, hygiene
Dividing the Mango.jpg
Equal and nutrition for girls
Too young to marry.jpg
Delaying age of marriage
Who's Afraid of the Bully.jpg
Dealing with bullying
Take Care of Girls.jpg
Equal access to health care
Learning to Love.jpg
Infant care and love
Reaching Out.jpg
Preventing HIV/AIDS stigma and discrimination
It Could Happen to Anyone.jpg
Preventing childhood accidents
Seeing in the Dark.jpg
Preventing night blindness
Safe from Worms.jpg
Preventing worm infestation
Baby Rani's Four Visits.jpg
Childhood immunizations
When Meena Was a Little Girl.jpg
Breastfeeding and infant care
We Love Books.jpg
Books and creative learning
Learning Can Be Fun.jpg
School First, Marriage Later.jpg
Having fun while learning
Delaying marriage
to complete school
Let's Go To School Together.jpg
Preventing school dropout
The Girls Came Back.jpg
Prevention of child sex trafficking
Video link (TV spot) 
Saving a Life.jpg
Diarrhea and oral rehydration
Say no to dowry.jpg
Preventing exploitative dowry
Meena in the City.jpg
Preventing child domestic labor
Meena and her friend.jpg
Helping children
with dissabilities
Health in your Hands.jpg
Hand washing and hygiene
When Meena Was Born.jpg
Maternal nutrition and care
Teacher Helps to Learn.jpg
Interactive teaching
Strangers in the Village.jpg
Helping strangers in need
No video available
Life has Changed.jpg
Psycho-social care in disasters
Videos with missing comic books
Fair Play for Girls.jpg
Will Meena leave school.jpg
I Love School.jpg
It's git to be a boy.jpg

More Meena Documentation


Know Yourself
Adolescent Reproductive Health (ARH)
Program, Bangladesh

ARH Toolkit.jpg
During 2001-04, Neill McKee was associate director for HIV/AIDS and adolescent health communication at Johns Hopkins University's Center for Communication Programs (CCP).  One of the main programs he conceived at the time was the development of an ARH communication toolkit, using entertainment education methods. This was developed by the Bangladesh Center for Communication Programs (BCCP), where Neill worked closely with Sanjeeda Islam and her team, as well as Edson Whitney, Caroline Jacoby, and Shailaja Maru of CCP. The project was supported by USAID, beginning as a sub-contract from Pathfinder's Focus on Young Adults award, and continued under the CCP's Health Communication Partnership (HCP) award. UNICEF first bought in with the time of Nuzhat Shahzadi during 2003-04, then Meena Coordinator in Kathmandu. Later, Nuzhat joined CCP during 2004-05 to work with Sanjeeda and BCCP & CCP's team to complete the toolkit when Neill was posted to Moscow, Russia by CCP. UNICEF, Bangladesh's Representative Morten Giersing, keenly supported the ARH program. However, HCP ended and organizational priorities and funding changed, so the toolkit was under-utilized. It takes many years to foster changes, especially in an area as sensitive as teaching kids about sexual health and acceptable male-female relationships. For Know Yourself, the trends in knowledge and attitudes were going in the right direction (see summary evaluation below) but with a time-limited "project approach" one can only expect modest changes. BCCP in Dhaka may have the original materials in Bangla. The English versions  are available below and most are also downloadable from CCP's Compass website supported by USAID. They are a good example of a research-based approach to teaching adolescent and young adults about reproductive health in a culturally appropriate way.
Entertainment Education Materials
Booklets for adolescents
Facilitators' Guides
Click to view and/or download
Puberty booklet cover.jpg
Puberty facilitator's guide cover.jpg
New Feelings booklet cover.jpg
Feelings facilitator's guide cover.jpg
Preventing risks booklet cover.jpg
Preventing risks facilitator's guide cov
Marriage booklet cover.jpg
Marriage facilitator's guide cover.jpg

ARH Comic Books
with discussion guides

Click on images to view and /or download
Wizard of nightmares cover.jpg
Leaning about wet dreams
The circus girl cover.jpg
Flower Boat cover.jpg
Leaning about breast development and menstruation
Leaning about emotional changes and sexual attraction
Adventures of the scrience gang cover_edited.jpg
Leaning about wet dreams
Pathways pix.jpg
HCP theoretical model for adolescent reproductive health
Life skills pix.jpg
Model for building adolescents' life skills
ARH workshop pix.jpg
ARR workshop pix 2.jpg
ARH evaluation cover.jpg

Books and Manuals on Communication 

Neill McKee's work in UNICEF, Johns Hopkins University, AED and FHI360 was grounded in theory of communication and models he authored or co-authored

Social Mobilization cover.jpg
Social Mob back cover.jpg
Social mobilization general model.jpg
Social mob for sanitation model.jpg

A 1992 publication. Contact the publisher or

Involving People cover.jpg
Involving People back cover.jpg
Involving people model.jpg

A 2000 publication. Contact the publisher or Neill McKee:

HIVAIDS Book Cover.jpg
Pathways for HIVAIDS.jpg

Visualisation in Participatory Programmes

Much of the success of the communication programs that Neill McKee has led is due to the use of a stakeholder facilitation methodology he co-authored when he was with UNICEF. The first VIPP manual was produced in 1993 by UNICEF, Bangladesh through McKee's collaboration with Timmi Tillmann, Maria Angelica Salas. The VIPP methodology spread quickly in Bangladesh by the training of facilitators and use in planning and training events for almost all of UNICEF's programs with government and NGO partners. Members of the Training Division in UNICEF, New York were also trained by Tillmann, Salas, and McKee and the methodology spread through many UNICEF offices and to other UN departments and NGOs around the world. It continues today. (See below)


UNICEF Bangladesh and Southbound Publications produced a new VIPP manual with McKee, Tillmann, Salas and Nuzhat Shahzadi in 2007. They and others have trained hundreds of facilitators in VIPP and it has been used widely in a large number of program areas for planning, training, stakeholder ownership, and social mobilization. See  more details on Contact Timmi Tillmann <> for more details and training events and the 2007 manual. A VIPP Games and Exercises Manual was also produced when McKee was with UNICEF ESARO, in Nairobi, Kenya.

VIPP back cover.jpg
Click to view and/or download
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