Oh, sweet memories!

NIGERIA HAS Yemisi Ilo to thank for bringing Sesame Street

How long have you been in television?

I stumbled into TV 5 years ago, when working with the not for profit media organisation – Communicating for Change. Print publishing was my first love.

What TV projects/shows have you worked on?

I have produced a number of short films and documentaries including two short films to communicate healthy eating messages to children aged between six and sixteen; two short films on debt relief – Seeing is Believing and Ofada Rice – which were broadcast on Channel 4, UK during the 2005 G8 conference; and Mechanical Women – a short documentary on lady mechanics in Lagos which was awarded the best film on social issues at the Zuma Film Festival in Abuja in 2006.  I was also the associate producer on the film Love of Indigo that won the best documentary film at the Lagos International Film Festival in 2007 and the Best Film Award at the San Francisco Women’s Film Festival in 2008.

In 2007, I was the Project Manager of The Apprentice Africa, the reality TV show made famous by Donald Trump in the US.. and Alan Sugar in the UK.  I have also been a producer on the popular pan-African chat show Moments with Mo and was co-executive producer on the pilot Sesame Street for Nigeria – The adventures of Kami and Big Bird.

Why television?

Very powerful tool for development especially in our part of the world. That is why I do it.  I like the type of programs that can make an impact and a difference in people’s lives.

What are its unique challenges, especially in Nigeria?

NEPA is the main challenge!  Lack of funding for quality programs. The truth is that producers need grants not sponsorship.  Grants mean that no-one is trying to make profit out of the program that is being produced therefore the quality and relevance is likely to be better. My opinion!

Who are your role models?

Mrs. Sandra Obiago, Executive Director of Communicating for Change.

What are your favourite shows?

My favourite channels are BBC Knowledge; national geographic, discovery and History!  I like factual programmes.  I like to learn stuff!

What is your latest project?

My media company (Ileke Media) is co-producing Nigeria’s version of Sesame Street with Sesame Workshop NYC. Y!

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