Many people came uninformed but left very informed.
Guinea Worm Disease (GWD), which once plagued millions across Africa and Asia, is on the verge of eradication. Not due to a vaccine, but through the combined efforts of healthcare, governments, non-profits and community volunteers working together to educate at-risk communities and provide them with the resources they need to combat the disease.
For two decades, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been a prominent donor to the Guinea Work Eradication Program (GWEP), spearheaded by the Atlanta-based Carter Center. To raise awareness about GWD and the UAE’s commitment to global public health, the Crown Prince Court (CPC) of Abu Dhabi partnered with the Carter Center to create an experience that would communicate this crucial tale.
Inspired by the power of collective empathy, we created an immersive and emotive exhibition called Countdown to Zero: Defeating Disease—an experiential expansion of the 2015 GWEP photo exhibit with the same name created by the American Museum of National History.
We designed and constructed a geodesic dome that took guests on an immersive journey through the 5 phases of GWD with engagements such as: a weight simulation to feel the burden of carrying water, audio and video content from interviews with patients, GWEP champions and President Jimmy Carter; an interactive experience showcasing the Guinea Worm lifecycle, and more. We had activity books for the children and even challenged guests to take part in our GWD simulation using a delicate string around a wooden spool to extract “the worm” without breaking it.
Countdown to Zero received coverage in 93 features across 52 publications in print and online, acknowledging the UAE’s role as a major champion of public health. It received 54% more visitors than our original goal, with the average person staying a whopping 40 minutes.