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Team delivers development aid via cell phone animations
Date:2/28/2011

-universal appeal. The videos are narrated, and the narration can be recorded in any language with any dialect or accent.

"The way these animated videos are designed, they can be easily adapted to other cultures," said Julia Bello-Bravo, a University of Illinois field extension specialist and leader of the project. "We are also capturing indigenous knowledge and putting it into the video, so when they see the video it is familiar to them."

The first animated videos developed by the Illinois team (with funding from the Dry Grain Pulses CRSP - U.S. Agency for International Development and created in collaboration with aid workers and farmers in West Africa) demonstrate safe insect-control methods that are already in use in some regions. The scientifically validated techniques make use of local plants or widely available materials such as black plastic sheets, ashes, or plastic bags to control or eradicate insect pests from cowpeas, a staple in many parts of Africa, Asia, and Central and South America.

In one video, a farmer processes the fruits of the neem tree (Azadirachta indica) to make a liquid insecticide that he sprays on his cowpea crop. The neem is a drought-tolerant tree found in Southeast Asia and parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. Farmers working with extension educators in West Africa developed the methods depicted in the video, Bello-Bravo said. Scientific studies had validated the methods and the materials needed were cheap and widely available, she said. But explaining the technique to large numbers of people would be difficult and costly.

"In Mali they are using this technique and it's very effective, but in Burkina Faso, for example, there are not many people using this technique," she said. "If we can show these animated videos
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Contact: Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor
diya@illinois.edu
217-333-5802
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Source:Eurekalert  

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