After an upsurge in COVID-19 infections across the East Africa region, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda governments issued travel restrictions and imposed quarantines on their citizens. Medical facilities reported an increase in COVID-19 patients and registered an increase in Coronavirus related deaths.
This trend is worrying. Hence the need for a concerted effort by government, private institutions, and individuals to combine resources and fight the scourge. Restrictions on movement has slowed down extension service activity and increased the use of social media in sharing information by peers in farming, health, and community development.
As a part of this trend, in the last two months there has been a build-up in downloading, watching, and sharing of SAWBO RAPID animated content from their website and through sharing through WhatsApp networks.
The Feed the Future Scientific Animations Without Borders Responsive Adaptive Participatory Information Dissemination Program (SAWBO-RAPID) project of Scientific Animation Without Borders (SAWBO) has produced animations identifying critical food security topics and delivering knowledge to mitigate COVID-19’s secondary economic impacts, including disruption to trade, supply chains and markets. The project is based at Michigan State University and Purdue University in the U.S., funded by USAID under the Feed the Future initiative, and supported by the USAID Kenya Mission. SAWBO has been creating animations and delivering knowledge globally for over a decade. The SAWBO library contains over 1,000 animations on 100+ different topics in over 240 language variants reaching over 50 million known viewers. Visit the SAWBO website for more information.
Kataru Concepts activated its network covering 200 constituencies out of the 310 in Kenya using the SAWBO RAPID videos. The network is comprised of farmers, healthcare workers, professionals, and businesspeople. Network members established social media platforms through which they shared several animated videos in local languages and dialects. As given in the map below, we have been able to get materials out into many regions across the country using the WhatsApp platform and our cross-country network.
In a coordinated effort, our WhatsApp network participants shared animated videos on stopping COVID-19 infections as well as videos that deal with helping people to minimize the secondary impacts of COVID-19. This crisis has impacted many people around food security and the SAWBO RAPID videos also deal with these issues. Each of the 200 members of our WhatsApp networks were tasked with targeting at least ten other people, WhatsApp groups they belong to, and over 50 individuals in their phone contacts. The animations shared under this mass-sharing activity include:
Marketplace Seller: how to safely sell in the marketplace during COVID-19
Marketplace Shopper – on how to safely shop in the marketplace during COVID-19
Marketplace Manager – on how to safely manage a marketplace during COVID-19
In addition to the SAWBO RAPID market videos, network members also shared the “Jerrycan Bean Storage” video” to drive farmers towards food security during the uncertainty of COVID-19.
To reach as wide an audience as possible, the animations are available in several local languages and dialects. I encourage my readers to take time to watch and download the shared videos using the links provided and share them widely within your personal networks.
Postharvest Loss: Jerrycan Bean Storage (FTF)
Meanwhile as the sharing of videos continues, the Kataru Concepts network is expanding with a goal to cover the remaining 22 counties of Kenya and extend to neighboring countries.
I also take the pleasure of reminding us all that COVID-19 is real. Please ensure you wear masks properly, maintain safe physical distancing whenever outside your home, shop for household supplies safely, and continue washing and sanitizing your hands often.
Note: The information and content in the video (content) should not substitute for professional or medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any kind. Michigan State University, Purdue University, and SAWBO disclaims responsibility or liability for any loss or injury that may be incurred as a result of the use of any content included in the video. Viewers and users of the video should always consult a physician or other professional for diagnosis, treatment and/or advice. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of the content of this video.
SAWBO RAPID is funded through a grant from Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative. This blog article was made possible through support provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development under the terms of agreement no. 7200AA20LA00002. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Agency for International development or the U.S. government.