If Michael Scott ran an NGO

A screenshot from "The Samaritans" pilot.

Hussein Kurji didn’t have to look far for inspiration for his latest project, "The Samaritans."

"I had heard a lot of stories from aid workers in and around Nairobi, and I thought they’d make for good television," he says. 

What he came up with was a “The Office”-style mockumentary that tackles nepotism, sexism, racism, and misplaced idealism.

Criticisms of non-governmental organizations aren’t new, and Kurji makes sure to acknowledge that many do excellent work in Nairobi, Kenya where he’s based.

“We decided to show the funnier side, the crazier side of NGO culture,” Kurji said.

He emphasizes the stories are exaggerated for comedic effect.  

"It is a work of fiction, but we weren’t naïve, we knew that there would be conversations around the topic."

For now, they’re using their website as their source of global distribution. They have already released the first two episodes of the series. Viewers can rent the show using PayPal.  Kurji says they hope to get distribution soon through Hulu or Netflix.

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, the most widely heard program on business and the economy in the country.


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