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Ivory Coast: Good News During Civil War
By CBN Ivory Coast
700 Club
As the civil war continues in Ivory Coast, CBN WorldReach has launched an unprecedented evangelistic media campaign to reach the nation.

It all started a little more than a year ago when the First Lady of Ivory Coast visited The Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) in Virginia Beach, Virginia on a special mission. Mrs. Somone Gbagbo, the wife of Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo, wanted CBN to provide Christian TV programs for her country. In return she would guarantee that the programs would air on national television. To respond to the immediate need, episodes of The 700 Club were regularly dubbed into French and shipped for broadcast. The goal, however, was to have an African program that would be tailored for the region with French African hosts. Within a few months, Raymond Kauffee from Cameroon and Macy Domingo from Ivory Coast began hosting Le Club 700 that now airs in French speaking countries throughout the region.

With strong support from pastors of various denominations in Ivory Coast, CBN began to make preparation for an evangelistic media campaign that would take place during the Christmas holidays. What no one expected though, was that the country would erupt into civil war. Fortunately, so far, French troops have managed to keep rebels from entering the capital of Abijan. CBN WorldReach Director Peter Darg writes from the capital; "Daytime in Abidjan seems fairly normal, apart from open bed pickup trucks with cannons mounted on the back driven around town by soldiers who look desperately anxious to shoot at something. French paratroopers are also cruising around in APC's, but nobody seems to know what they are doing or where they are going. With a complete curfew from sun down to sun up, everybody is trying to race around to get to work, school or shopping and mostly creating massive traffic tie ups. After dark, everyone is at home watching TV, so the blitz (media campaign)timing is perfect in this regard (imagine what the USA TV networks would give to force everyone in the country to be in their homes every night watching the TV or face being shot)".

The Ivory Coast media campaign began December 22 and aired in prime time on national TV channel RTI through December 29. In addition to drama, animation and documentary programs, CBN has produced a one-hour special hosted by Kauffee and Domingo that aired on Christmas Day. CBN is also providing a series of 20 half-hour radio programs for the FM station in Abijan, Radio Frequence Vie. These radio programs are based on Pat Robertson's best selling book and TV series Answers. The same package of programs will also be shown in Burkina Faso, Benin, Mali and Senegal. Volunteers will man phones and handle mail response for what is expected to be a massive regional response to the programming.

How important is the timing of this outreach? TV Host Macy Domingo explains: "Now we have a Christian President and the First Lady has even testified about her faith on TV. This has changed the mentality of people because they used to think Christianity was just for poor people. But now they see it's even for high profile people." Macy went on to say that this new openness has created an opportunity for the Gospel, especially now as they are looking for answers and hoping for peace. At the same time, as Christians boldly take this opportunity, they are also aware that there could be a strong backlash from the large Muslim population.

CBN WorldReach was launched in the fall of 1995, a mission to spread the Gospel throughout the world by means of mass media and primarily television broadcasts.

CBN WorldReach currently creates programming that airs in 180 countries and is viewed throughout the year by approximately 160 million people. The goal of CBN WorldReach is to see 500 million new believers enter into God's Kingdom.

CBN WorldReach has offices in seven French speaking African nations. According to audience surveys, CBN's weekly programs on the national channels are among the most popular programs in these countries.

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