Viral Education via Mobile Phone: Virtual International Networks and Ebola Prevention in Sierra Leone

Viral Education via Mobile Phone: Virtual International Networks and Ebola Prevention in Sierra Leone

Julia Bello-Bravo (University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign, USA), Anne Namatsi Lutomia (University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign, USA), Thomas Songu (Njala University, Sierra Leone) and Barry Robert Pittendrigh (Michigan State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2262-1.ch005

Abstract

This chapter documents a strategy for the development and deployment of educational content on Ebola prevention and treatment targeted at low-literate learners speaking diverse languages. During the outbreak of Ebola in Sierra Leone, Njala University partnered with Scientific Animations Without Borders (SAWBO) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign to create educational animations on Ebola. Drawing on an international network of collaborators, these animations were then placed into multiple languages for Sierra Leone. Njala University in turn acted as the central hub for engaging local partner groups to deploy this content throughout Sierra Leone. This chapter describes the development process, which occurred during the outbreaks and the ICT tools now available to the global health community. The educational animations created during the 2014 Ebola outbreak are now available in multiple languages for Sierra Leone, as well as other West African countries, along with a highly scalable deployment pathway that can be rapidly operationalized during future outbreaks or modeled for other outbreak or health crisis situations.
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Background On The Sawbo Project

SAWBO is a Michigan State University based program (formerly based at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign from 2011 to 2016) that creates and distributes educational animated videos on topics of agriculture, health, and women’s empowerment. The videos are designed to be accessible to all people regardless of literacy and linguistic backgrounds throughout the world. The animated videos are developed using international academic collaborators to ensure the videos are scientifically accurate and culturally relevant. Experts on specific topics such as infectious disease assist in the development of each video’s script and storyboard, which is then transformed into a two to five minute 2D or 3D animation. The SAWBO team then recruits volunteer native speakers to translate the script and provide the audio overlay in diverse languages and dialects from regions where the video will be deployed. SAWBO videos are available for free online and can also be widely distributed through Bluetooth® technology from mobile phone to mobile phone.

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