First-of-its-kind in Kenya, nature-based, tech-infused set design for 26-episode series, based in Nairobi

 NAIROBI / JOHANESBURG: 15 August 2022: Following field production commencing earlier this year, as

well as the announcement of the local hosts, The Walt Disney Company Africa, together with its project partners, National Geographic, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and WildlifeDirect have today revealed both the title and the set of the highly anticipated National Geographic Kids programme.

Inspired by the programme’s aim to motivate lasting, impactful behavioural change in young viewers across the continent and create the next generation of environmental conservation leaders, the programme will be titled Team Sayari. Incorporating the Swahili term for ‘planet’, the title embodies the programme’s goal – to provide viewers with the knowledge, skills and tools needed to conserve and protect the natural world, in a fun way.

In the series, the young presenters will visit the wild to meet African experts in five countries across the continent to explore, discover, learn about our environmental challenges and be inspired to reduce their impact, protect and restore nature.

Filming has also commenced in a custom-built set in Nairobi, the Sayari Basecamp. A first-of-its-kind in Kenya, the set embodies childhood imagination and adventure with a tree house-inspired hideout that is locally built and designed, including African-inspired and nature-based motifs, coupled with elements of advanced technology. It comes complete with a mission control wall, a cosy chill area and a lively interview spot. The Sayari basecamp was produced almost entirely from recycled and upcycled materials, true to the ethos of the show.

The central feature is a gigantic tree, with a textured trunk named Funzi (derived from the Swahili word for learning) featuring interactive artificial intelligence technology and a DNA helix, and which imparts knowledge about the environment and challenges our young presenters. To impart a sense of movement, Funzi’s inner section spins slowly during interaction.

Wood panelling, leafy foliage and porthole-style windows complete the ambience of a hideaway nestled in a tree, high in the sky. Upholstery on the furniture, that was made from organic materials, features dual-level African print, which provides layers of texture and pops of colour. The set’s shelving is hand-crafted, adding an element of quirkiness to the design. A live-edge table where the markings of the tree have been  preserved for a raw look, will be dressed uniquely per episode.

At basecamp, Funzi gives the studio presenters, Mysha Hodson (13), Marita Lucas (12), Shanah Manjeru (14), Railey Mwai (10) and Adarsh Nagda (12) missions to complete, laying the foundation for the many adventures and fun throughout the episodes. It is also from this intriguing environment that they will link with other presenters from East, West and South Africa.

Team Sayari is the result of a collaborative effort between National Geographic, The Walt Disney Company Africa, USAID, the U.S. State Department and WildlifeDirect. The series, produced by local production company White Rhino Films aims to celebrate the environment and raise awareness of conservation and associated issues in a fun and relatable way, will air later this year on both National Geographic Wild and Disney Channel across Africa. There will also be engaging digital extensions on social media platforms that will allow viewers to further explore topics addressed in the series as well as an outreach programme that will extend the reach of the programme into countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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For more information, please contact:

For The Walt Disney Company Africa:

c/o Jenny Griesel Communications

For WildlifeDirect:

Trish Sewe

For U.S. Department of State

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs:


About The Walt Disney Company EMEA:

The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a leading diversified international family entertainment and media enterprise that includes Disney Parks, Experiences and Products; Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution; and three content groups—Studios, General Entertainment and Sports–focused on developing and producing content for DTC, theatrical and linear platforms. Disney is a Dow 30 company and had annual revenues of $65.4 billion in its Fiscal Year 2020.

The Walt Disney Company has been in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) for over 80 years and employs thousands across the region. Between Disneyland Paris and its other iconic brands, including Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, 20th Century Studios and ESPN, The Walt Disney Company EMEA entertains, informs and inspires millions of consumers in more than 130 countries through the power of unparalleled storytelling. Disney+, the company’s direct-to-consumer streaming service, is currently available in 17 markets across Europe.

About WildlifeDirect:

WildlifeDirect is internationally recognized as a high impact Kenyan based organization that seeks to change hearts, minds and laws so that Africa’s wildlife endures forever. The mission of WildlifeDirect is to connect people to their wildlife and nature and inspire them to treasure it and act to conserve it. The organization produces Wildlife Warriors, a popular wildlife TV series about our wildlife heroes and heroines, and the animals that they are saving. We aim to transform and catalyse the wildlife film making industry in Africa. The series is screened on national TV as well as in classrooms through the Wildlife Warriors Kids conservation education program.

About USAID:

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is the world’s premier international development agency and a catalytic actor driving development results. Through our cross-sectoral programming, USAID works to address the world’s most urgent needs, including biodiversity conservation, education, and economic development. USAID works to help lift lives, build communities, and advance democracy. USAID’s work advances U.S. national security and economic prosperity; demonstrates American generosity; and promotes a path to recipient self-reliance and resilience. President John. F. Kennedy created USAID by executive order in 1961 to lead the U.S. government’s international development and humanitarian efforts.

About The U.S. Department of State

The U.S. Department of State leads America’s foreign policy through diplomacy, advocacy, and assistance by advancing the interests of the American people, their safety and economic prosperity.  Through its 270 diplomatic missions world-wide, the Department of State is committed to supporting public outreach efforts around key foreign policy matters that help build peaceful relations between the people of the United States and people of other countries, as well as advance U.S. foreign policy and national security goals.

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ (ECA) mission is to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchange that assist in the development of peaceful relations.