The fact that 70% of cell phone subscribers are in the developing world has not been lost on global health innovators. A case in point is that of the creators of SAWBO, or Scientific Animations Without Borders (http://sawbo-illinois.org/main.htm), under the auspices of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This project aims to bridge the gap between evidence-based global health interventions and those who need this knowledge the most. Unfortunately, those most in need of these interventions are often unable to access the information or understand it if they can access it due to literacy or language considerations. The SAWBO project team, in collaboration with local health, development and agricultural education agencies around the world, creates brief – about 2 minutes each – animated videos focusing on such local health issues as How to Remove Poison from Cassava Flour or Construction of a Solar Oven Using Simple Materials. These animated educational vignettes are available in multiple languages (using local accents where possible) and available for download to cell phones using Bluetooth technology. This initiative is cost-effective, scalable, and searchable using the affiliated SusDeViKi database available at http://susdeviki.illinois.edu/. Much of the work is done by volunteers, but the project receives some funding from the University, private foundations and individuals. For more information, contact the organizers at http://sawbo-illinois.org/contactus.htm.
The author wishes to thank SAWBO Director, Dr. Barry Pittendrigh, for his input for this blog entry.