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Kenyan comedy finds laughs in charities 'saving Africa'
Monday, March 03, 2014

(CNN) -- NGOs can be funny, at least that's what Hussein Kurji is banking on. As a filmmaker in Nairobi, Kenya, he was constantly privy to stories of hilarious ineptitude by supposedly do-good organizations.

"Nairobi has a large development community, and I realized it's never actually been talked about in the context of comedy. I thought it would be good to bring the two worlds together," he says.

Thus, he was inspired to create "The Samaritans," a mockumentary-style show about the inner workings of the NGO world. Characters include Scott, the cocky American brought in as the new country director at the Kenyan field office for "Aid for Aid" (the organization's mission is a little unclear). There's the substance-addicted former interim director (her "usual" consists of "a bottle of 75% proof vodka, six Valiums and a crack pipe") and a finance director who refers to posting pictures on "The Facebook."

"The Samaritans is a work of fiction, but based on true stories," Kurji explains. "A lot of what we have portrayed has actually occurred, but since it's a comedy, we exaggerated to get good laughs."

A good deal of inside knowledge is provided by Liam Acton, the actor who plays Scott. In a previous incarnation, Acton actually managed an NGO, a job, he admits, for which he was under qualified.

"I'm not even a good actor, let alone an NGO worker," he jokes.

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