Axeer Studio

Political video-campaigning in Cairo.

Axeer Studio is a video production company for social campaigns that was founded by four students in Cairo a few days before the Egyptian Revolution, with their first video going online two days before Mubarak's fall. “We wanted to give young people a voice and show the rest of the population what was happening in our hearts and minds,” explains Abdulrahman Khedr, one of the founders. After just a few days, the video “Kateb le bokra gawab” (A letter to the future) already had over 100,000 hits. By 2015, over half a million people had seen the video.

Since its founding, the company has grown to 17 permanent staff who work on campaign videos about subjects such as the current political situation in Egypt (click here for a video about the 2014 election) as well as the famine in Somalia, child labour, domestic violence and sexual harassment. For some videos, they have enlisted the help of famous Egyptian artists. But a number of new musicians have also got their break through Axeer, including rapper Zap Tharwat. Axeer's main target group is Egyptians aged 9-38, but many viewers also come from other Arab-speaking countries.

Despite its for-profit status, Axeer Studio sees itself as a social enterprise. Their high-quality campaign videos are financed with the help of support from international organisations such as UNWomen and Mercy Corps, with further funds coming from two other lines of business (commercial advertisements and infographics). The video producers measure their effect in hits (the majority of their videos reach the half-million hit mark) but also in terms of offline engagement: following the release of a video against sexual harassment, they saw its lyrics reappear on placards at demonstrations.

We discovered this case through our Lab Around the World research trip.

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