Think with AR: Snap Inc’s competition to support refugee mental health with Doctors without Borders

As the years pass by, mental health has become a major global subject and issue. Awareness on how mental health affects the physical body, and how outside factors affect both, has become more widespread, leading to more focus and understanding to those suffering from psychological trauma.

This year, Snap Inc is teaming up with Dubai Lynx to provide creatives with a chance to help Niger refugees who have been affected mentally by conflict with Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors without Borders (MSF).

At this year’s Dubai Lynx, Snap Inc has released a competition that aims to encourage Snapchat users to donate towards the MSF’s mental health and psychological support programs for children and adolescents in Diffa, Niger, in an effort to prevent and heal the mental effects of the conflict they are escaping.

The competition is set to be an interesting brief, with creatives being able to help others as they compete for a chance to be on the Dubai Lynx stage.


The Background Story

According to the brief,

“Since late 2014, the region of Diffa in southern Niger has been caught in armed conflict. Two-hundred and fifty-thousand people have been forced out of their homes, two thirds of them children. Fighting, flight and loss have had a devastating impact on their lives…

Children and adolescents, victims of the conflict across the Lake Chad region, have to deal with tough situations and painful memories, while they have not yet developed coping mechanisms that would allow them to deal with their suffering… In humanitarian crises, mental health and psychosocial care for children are usually an invisible need that remains unmet…”

“To help these children, we help them play. The trauma they have gone through can affect many different mental functions. By encouraging children to play, we not only allow them to express themselves, but also support their normal development,” explains Yacouba Harouna, a local psychologist and supervisor of MSF’s mental health activities in Diffa.

“Drawing is among the key tools used in mental health programs for children. Through drawing, mental health specialists can start to understand the psychological experience of a child and help them to get better. But drawing is also a way for children to more easily express their feelings related to traumatic experiences, and help them to visualize and verbalize their pain – the first step to overcoming trauma,” states the brief.

You can find more information and the full brief on Dubai Lynx’s website here.


The Competition

Creatives must find a way to use Snapchat’s most famous feature, the Augmented Reality (AR) lens, to create a branded AR experience that will raise awareness and drive donations to the MSF’s work on mental health and psychological support, specifically for their program for children and adolescents in Diffa, Niger.

The competition also encourages the use of Snapchat’s full range of advertising features and tools alongside the AR filter. This includes Snap ads, Collection ads, Story ads and branded filters.

Winners will have their project showcased at Dubai Lynx, and will be sent to Los Angeles for a 4-day trip to visit Snap Inc.

The deadline for submitting entries is 28th of February.


Dubai Lynx is set to shake up the industry on March 10-13, and is a sister festival to one of the industry’s biggest creative events, the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

Interested in Dubai Lynx? Check out > Nissan wins Dubai Lynx “Advertiser of the Year” 2019

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