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Agricultural, health education goes global via cellphone animations
Date:12/14/2012

CHAMPAIGN, lll. They're watching them in Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, India and Niger. They're learning how to stop the spread of dengue, malaria, tuberculosis, cholera and food-related illness. They're learning how to protect their crops from insect damage or post-harvest losses. And they're coming up with new ideas for similar lessons to share with their neighbors or others around the world.

Many people in developing countries have cellphones that allow them to watch videos and play interactive games. Now agricultural researchers and health educators are using this technology to help those in the developing world address some of the most challenging issues they face -- and at a fraction of the cost of taditional development aid education. The initiative, Scientific Animations Without Borders (SAWBO), delivers educational materials in the form of narrated, animated videos to a global audience, and perhaps most remarkably hears back from that audience on ways it can improve its message or add to its repertoire of videos.

Organized by faculty and staff members at the University of Illinois working in collaboration with the Center for African Studies as well as international students and animators, SAWBO offers videos on more than a dozen subjects of importance to global health and agriculture, and the list is growing.

"Our focus is providing new educational content as fast as possible dealing with world problems," said Illinois entomology professor Barry Pittendrigh, who founded SAWBO with Julia Bello-Bravo, an assistant director of Illinois Strategic International Partnerships in the office of International Programs and Studies; and Francisco Seufferheld, the SAWBO program coordinator in the department of entomology.

The animations feature characters of universal appeal, demonstrating, for example, how to purify water to stop the spread of cholera,
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Contact: Diana Yates
diya@illinois.edu
217-333-5802
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Source:Eurekalert  

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