Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Agricultural, health education goes global via cellphone animations

11.12.2012
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.

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 the Illinois Strategic International Partnership 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, how to use bed nets to prevent mosquito-borne infections, how to kill the insects attacking their crops or to transport grain without spilling it.

A primary focus is the prevention of “post-harvest losses,” the waste of food crops as a result of insect infestations, spillage or spoilage. New videos, on how to avoid losing grain during bag or bulk transport, for example, are funded through the ADM Institute for the Prevention of Postharvest Loss at Illinois.

“It is generally believed that about one-third of the world’s agricultural production doesn’t reach its intended use because of food losses and waste along the food supply chain,” said Steve Sonka, the director of the Institute for the Prevention of Postharvest Loss and a professor emeritus of agricultural strategy at Illinois. “Lack of effective training capabilities in developing nations contributes to that loss, and we believe that the SAWBO approach has tremendous promise in providing such training where it can be effectively employed.”

Future videos will address other threats to agricultural products, showing people, for example, how to make and use clay vessels that extend the shelf life of fruits, vegetables and other perishable goods. And health-related videos tackle the spread of infectious diseases with easy-to-follow, step-by-step explanations and instructions.

“There are people who don’t know that malaria is produced by the mosquito bite,” Bello-Bravo said. “The videos teach them this basic fact, as well as the different measures they can take to prevent malaria. Getting this knowledge out to people who might otherwise not have access to it can really have a positive impact on their lives.”

New subject matter will include lessons on how to use readily available materials to build sustainable devices, such as a solar oven to cook without wood.

The animations are done in a variety of styles, from realistic, three-dimensional modeling of people, objects and insects to simple 2-D cartoons, Seufferheld said. Some students in media studies and fine arts at Illinois have contributed their talents to the effort. Other videos are produced by professional animators.

The team also is branching out to develop applications for cellphones and tablet computers. Their first, an interactive app on what to do if you think you have been exposed to tuberculosis, offers an overview of how a doctor will test for the diseaseand – if tests come back positive – how the doctor will treat it.

International students at Illinois provide many of the narrations. SAWBO currently has videos in Yoruba and Igbo (Nigeria); Castilian Spanish; Wolof (Senegal); French (Haiti, Benin and elsewhere); English with a U.S., Indian or Nigerian accent; Amharic (Ethiopia); pidgin (Ethiopia and Nigeria); and Hindi, Tamil and Kannada (India).
The team works to ensure that every video is scientifically accurate, Pittendrigh said, using only information that has been proven in field trials or scientific studies. For example, most of the health and safety recommendations are based on those of the World Health Organization, he said.

The distribution of videos also is a critical issue, Pittendrigh said.

“Our goal is to be a centralized place where people can get materials and deploy them locally,” he said. “We also have developed an online system that allows local educators to download and use the videos in the deployment strategies that they think are best in their local environment.”

Editor’s note: To reach Barry Pittendrigh, email pittendr@illinois.edu. To reach Julia Bello-Bravo, email juliabb@illinois.edu. To reach Francisco Seufferheld, email fjseuffe@illinois.edu

Diana Yates | University of Illinois
Further information:
http://www.illinois.edu

More articles from Communications Media:

nachricht CU Denver study shows product placement, branding growing in popular music
10.03.2015 | University of Colorado Denver

nachricht Study Shows the Factors Influencing Which Conservation News Get Shared or Liked in Twitter and Facebook
04.03.2015 | National University of Singapore

All articles from Communications Media >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Experiment Provides the Best Look Yet at 'Warm Dense Matter' at Cores of Giant Planets

In an experiment at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, scientists precisely measured the temperature and structure of aluminum as...

Im Focus: Energy-autonomous and wireless monitoring protects marine gearboxes

The IPH presents a solution at HANNOVER MESSE 2015 to make ship traffic more reliable while decreasing the maintenance costs at the same time. In cooperation with project partners, the research institute from Hannover, Germany, has developed a sensor system which continuously monitors the condition of the marine gearbox, thus preventing breakdowns. Special feature: the monitoring system works wirelessly and energy-autonomously. The required electrical power is generated where it is needed – directly at the sensor.

As well as cars need to be certified regularly (in Germany by the TÜV – Technical Inspection Association), ships need to be inspected – if the powertrain stops...

Im Focus: 3-D satellite, GPS earthquake maps isolate impacts in real time

Method produced by UI researcher could improve reaction time to deadly, expensive quakes

When an earthquake hits, the faster first responders can get to an impacted area, the more likely infrastructure--and lives--can be saved.

Im Focus: Atlantic Ocean overturning found to slow down already today

The Atlantic overturning is one of Earth’s most important heat transport systems, pumping warm water northwards and cold water southwards. Also known as the Gulf Stream system, it is responsible for the mild climate in northwestern Europe. 

Scientists now found evidence for a slowdown of the overturning – multiple lines of observation suggest that in recent decades, the current system has been...

Im Focus: Robot inspects concrete garage floors and bridge roadways for damage

Because they are regularly subjected to heavy vehicle traffic, emissions, moisture and salt, above- and underground parking garages, as well as bridges, frequently experience large areas of corrosion. Most inspection systems to date have only been capable of inspecting smaller surface areas.

From April 13 to April 17 at the Hannover Messe (hall 2, exhibit booth C16), engineers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Nondestructive Testing IZFP will be...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

World Conference On Regenerative Medicine 2015: Registration And Abstract Submission Now Open

25.03.2015 | Event News

University presidents from all over the world meet in Hamburg

19.03.2015 | Event News

10. CeBiTec Symposium zum Big Data-Problem

17.03.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

Novel coatings combine protection with colour effects

27.03.2015 | Trade Fair News

A first glimpse inside a macroscopic quantum state

27.03.2015 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers master gene editing technique in mosquito that transmits deadly diseases

27.03.2015 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>