I have been collaborating with Scientific Animations Without Borders (SAWBO) for close to three years, which I must say is the most fulfilling and exciting exercise for anyone who has a passion for healthy communities that are food secure, focused on development, and ready to embrace technological advancements to facilitate a holistic growth.
What makes SAWBO content exciting is the use of scientifically proven methods and practices found in the numerous, brief, and easy-to-understand animation videos which are also translated into many languages and dialects. Plus, SAWBO content is always free to use for educational purposes.
There are two main ways to access SAWBO animated videos. They are;
1. through the VIDEO LIBRARY on the SAWBO website.
2. by using the SAWBO 3GP video deployer App.
Accessing the video library on the website
This can be referred to as the “traditional way” of accessing, downloading, watching, and sharing SAWBO content. It requires computer-proficient users with high-end smartphones that can access the internet to download the videos. This method can be difficult for those who have low-end smartphones or are not very familiar with navigating websites.
Using the SAWBO 3GP video deployer App
The SAWBO video deployer App is the most convenient way to access, download, watch and share animated videos from the library. This 3GP App is compact and user-friendly. The simple functions allow a new user to navigate freely and master its use quickly. This App works on smartphones with lower screen resolution, low storage memory, and 3G networks. In summary, it’s meant for low-end smartphone users who are the majority in our communities.
Installing the App
The App can be installed in two ways:
For smartphones with the operating system android 9 and below, use the installation file that can be shared via social media platforms.
For android 10 and above smartphones, install the App using the link https://sawbo-animations.org/app/3gp/update/. I recommend all users install and use the App to access, watch, and share SAWBO videos.
What to master in the App
When using the SAWBO deployer app, one needs to master the four major functions displayed on the home/landing page. This makes navigation very easy and enjoyable. The main functions are;
This option links you to the SAWBO Video Library. You MUST be online to access the content.
This lists all videos you have downloaded from the online SAWBO Library to your phone. Once downloaded you can access them offline.
Share this App
This allows you to share the SAWBO App installation file with friends on your contact list via WhatsApp.
This takes you to a list of other SAWBO App functions including sharing the App installation URL, running surveys, and registering with your organization.
SAWBO has organized a number of webinars to further train users on how to install and use the App. In case you need a link to register and attend the sessions please contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or WhatsApp number +254 714 448 254
In previous blog posts I took time to expound the dissemination of SAWBO content through groups that form networks to enhance the sharing of digital content in various communities. I have received several questions from my readers seeking clarification on a number of issues such as the difference between a WhatsApp group and network, how to start and manage these groups, how to select who to add, and the challenges experienced in the whole process. Most of these questions have been addressed in preceding blog posts, via WhatsApp chats, and during physical meetings and training sessions.
In today’s post, I want to delve into the question that seems simple, yet very important for a successful dissemination process and network expansion. Answering this question shall help my readers, network members, and those encountering SAWBO animated video for the first time to understand how and where to begin the process of disseminating content. This post has been made possible by the indulgence with my friends Mulume from DR Congo, Muungani from Zimbabwe, Kambala from South Africa, Michael from Ghana, and Wanangwa who has started one of the most promising SAWBO network groups in Malawi.
Friends, we are going to find answers to the question, Who can benefit from SAWBO animation videos?
When I first encountered SAWBO videos, I wanted to understand who exactly could benefit from this great content and if I were in a position to reach them. As I scrolled through the library watching the listed animation videos, I noticed that they had been put in different categories including agriculture, health, women’s empowerment, peace & justice, climate change and resilience. By my own observation, I came up with the following beneficiaries of SAWBO content.
Family, friends, and contacts
It’s natural for everybody with any form of news to share it with family, friends, and contacts. These are the closest confidants one can easily share videos or audios they find online or on social media. SAWBO content spreads faster if it takes the same route. Definitely, when a farmer that’s been looking for information on how to plant banana suckers finds it, they will start by sharing with a family member, a fellow farmer, or a contact interested in the same knowledge. The farmer will move to their local farmer’s group and share with friends and contacts too.
In Kenya, everybody seems to have a farm, either in the rural areas or somewhere in the urban centers where they stay. Some have made farms in their backyard where they grow a variety of fruits and vegetables to provide their family with a constant supply of fresh food. Whether it’s a farmer owning a modern urban kitchen garden on their balcony, or a rancher owning large tracks of land, SAWBO content is a great addition to their daily information trove.
In the Agriculture category, we have lots of videos that provide knowledge on proper crop handling, preparation and application of manure, preparation of environmentally friendly pesticides, proper crop husbandry techniques, reducing post-harvest loss, and the complete agricultural value chain. If you have farmers in your community, please feel confident to watch and share SAWBO videos on different agricultural practices with them.
Kenya has one of the largest health worker volunteer networks in Africa. Commonly referred to as community health volunteers (CHV) and community health workers (CHW), the two are made up of community members who compliment the health sector by providing non-medical services to households. This network is organised with representation to village level and has real-time information on which household requires which intervention. The network members work in collaboration with local NGOs, CBOs, and groups in community intervention programs like distribution of mosquito nets, collecting data on infections in the community, training the community on basic hygiene practices, etc.
In case your community has a similar network of health workers, please proceed and start sharing SAWBO animated videos with them. They need the knowledge to equip themselves to handle basic challenges facing their communities.
Women and youth groups
In communities with several women and youth groups doing projects in table banking, farming, trading in goods, providing a variety of services, etc, they qualify to access SAWBO content and videos. At the beginning of my animation video dissemination journey, these groups were an easy pick because they are found everywhere in my community. Some have frequent meetings to deliberate on group activities, hence, providing you with an opportunity to visit and share video content with their membership.
Women and youth groups are the simplest, most approachable, and less expansive groups to meet and share content. Their meeting venues are in their members’ homes or local churches making them easily accessible.
NGOs, CBOs, self-help groups, etc.
There are so many NGOs and CBOs operating across Africa. They all deal with economic and social matters affecting our local communities in different ways. The advantage is whatever approach they take, whatever thematic areas they deal with, SAWBO has never run dry of content that can improve their service to the community. It’s the prerogative of team leaders to approach these NGOs and CBOs, understand their programs and projects in the communities they deal with, identify corresponding SAWBO content that addresses the challenges the group seeks to address, seek audience with their leadership, schedule training meetings with their members, and grow your network of SAWBO content beneficiaries.
Traders, market place sellers, and shoppers are also beneficiaries of SAWBO animated videos. Their challenges in handling bulk grains and legumes, storage, and transporting have been captured in several animation videos.
The listed are only but a few of SAWBO video content. Our societal needs differ depending on factors like geographical location, agricultural practices, accessibility to facilities and enhancements, etc. However, it’s upon every volunteer planning to start disseminating SAWBO content to analyze their community and decide on the most appropriate persons and groups to approach.
Hello readers. It’s “bean harvest time” in my village, and everybody including yours truly has been busy plucking beans, drying, and pounding the dried pods with poles before winnowing to separate the grains from the chaff. Children have not been left behind; they’ve been enjoying their “musoka” snack (fresh green beans boiled in pods).
Let’s have this as a story for another day and get back to today’s business.
We also had a suffocating schedule in the month of May where we attended three farmers’ field day exhibitions organized by the Anglican Development Services (A.D.S) to celebrate their 25 years of service to the community. It is these exhibitions in Busia, Bungoma, and Kakamega counties where the Kataru Concepts/SAWBO network in Kenya showcased the various animated videos that inspired this blog.
What interested me most in these exhibitions was farmers’ incessant quest for knowledge and the unending thirst for digital content like what SAWBO provides in animated videos. Most farmers confirmed they had read about SAWBO videos from our blogs, watched them on KTN FARMERS TV, and encountered them on YouTube whenever they browsed for information. A majority of our stall visitors were elated to finally meet “the SAWBO team” in person, right in their villages, and ready to serve them in their local languages and dialects. Knowing the importance of language, I was careful to select local network members who spoke the local languages and dialects to man our stalls!
During the exhibitions, my team noted certain common reactions, questions, and requests we’ve been encountering during our sessions with farmers, health workers, traders, and structured groups in other sessions. These observations pointed to one conclusion; “there is an upsurge in the quest for digital content, information, and knowledge that can better general practices in all fields within our communities”.
The following is a sample of groups of people and what they were appreciating and requesting most in digital content;
Most Kenyans are either practicing farmers or farming enthusiasts. It doesn’t matter whether one lives in rural, peri-urban, or urban neighborhoods. One common trend with most families is that no matter where they live, they have farms back in their rural homes where they practice mixed farming and have a family member, relative, or farm manager taking care of business.
For that matter, everybody was interested in existing content on how to locally manufacture pocket-friendly farm inputs like organic fertilizers and pesticides, content on improved farming practices, and preserving farm produce. Other farmers requested content on conservation farming and other environmental management procedures.
Most traders who visited our stalls were keen on grain handling videos, preservation procedures, and bulk grain handling. I remember one trader, after watching the jerrycan bean storage video challenged us to consider her case where she has several bags of grains in storage and was wondering how such large quantities could be stored in jerrycans. My team was quick to encourage the farmer to consider using Purdue Improved Crop Storage bags (PICS bags) for post-harvest loss prevention of grains and legumes harvest requiring several bags.
Incidentally, three in every 10 rural women, are most likely to be community health volunteers (C.H.V). These great men and women expressed their joy in knowing how to access SAWBO content which they’d love to use while doing their household visits. Those who’ve used SAWBO videos previously said it made their work easier than carrying only pamphlets, charts, and brochures done in either English or Kiswahili. They requested a SAWBO App that would allow them direct access to the video library in order to download the videos they wanted to use. My team assured them that a deployer App was in the pipeline and would be launched soon.
Extension service providers.
Another group of visitors we received was agricultural extension officers employed by both county and national governments. Just like the farmers, these officers confessed they had also read about SAWBO content in our blogs, watched it on KTN FARMERS TV, and encountered them on YouTube.
Besides using SAWBO animation videos to educate their clients, most officers said they’ve been wondering how to get to the video library without going through the website. Just like the health workers, they agreed that a video deployer App would be a great idea that would improve the uptake of SAWBO content in their communities.
Other content requests. Other digital content requested by the farmers included videos on more farming practices including dairy farming, goat farming, fish farming, rabbit farming, more videos on poultry farming, and content on the agricultural value chain. Given the many requests outlined above, my team came to the conclusion that our community had definitely heard of and was using SAWBO content in everyday life. We were convinced that SAWBO was a unique digital content provider with a following and preference in the community. This encouraged us to grow our network further by embarking on organized sessions with members of the farmers, health workers, agricultural extension officers, and trader groups
I would use the jerrycan bean storage technique video as the A, B, C, or 1, 2, 3 to understand SAWBO animated video content. It’s the entry point from which users seeking knowledge won’t regret going through in order to get a foothold and start a journey into disseminating SAWBO content. I encourage all SAWBO video library visitors to start by downloading, watching, and sharing this video because of the impact it leaves on the mind of a new viewer.
Just like the first days in school, teachers use an approach that makes education enticing, memorable, and entertaining; hence captivating first-timers, and wanting to come back for more the following day. The jerrycan bean technique video provides this type of memorable beginning in the dissemination of SAWBO content.
What makes the jerrycan bean storage video great?
A simple and effective process of storing grains:
I must say this is the most popular video I have personally encountered in my almost three years of working with SAWBO animations. The video captures a unique process that provides a simple solution to a very common challenge in many households. After watching this animation, households discover a new way of storing beans safely, for food or for planting, using locally available and cheap jerrycans or plastic bottles of 5 liters or more! I must admit that before I encountered this technique, I had never imagined that besides storing water and ferrying milk, a jerrycan could be used to store grains.
It’s the “anthem” of SAWBO animated videos:
Yes, you heard me right. I consider it the anthem of SAWBO animation videos. It could be because it was the first video I was introduced to and watched several times, memorized, and have used as my entry video while training individuals, groups, and organizations in most communities. I have downloaded, watched, shared, and encouraged my recipients to do the same with this specific video more times than I can remember or count. Sincerely, I believe anybody watching this video for the first time will return to the SAWBO video library to sample other videos because of its captivating nature.
Locally available training props:
Whenever I leave for a training session in a village, the least of my worries are the props to use in demonstrating this powerful technique. I am always confident that every village has a 5-liter jerrycan or bottle and grains to use in the lesson. I am always very sure that finding a dark sheet to use to demonstrate how to dry grains is not a big deal. Our villages are littered with hundreds of props and tools to use in this technique and your only challenge will be to choose which shape, size, and color of jerrycan to use.
Wonderful idea in the technique:
The idea in the jerrycan bean storage technique is original, impressive, creative, and homely. I lack definite words, to sum up, this great invention. It’s a masterpiece that our communities had never imagined of, yet so homely that you end up feeling it has been with us for generations! The other exciting news about the technique is that you don’t need to add chemicals, ashes, sand, and other material traditionally used to store grains safely. That means if you are storing grains for food, they will be clean and safe for consumption whenever you need them.
Environmentally friendly technique
This is another unique and wonderful trait of the jerrycan bean storage technique. It’s environmentally friendly not only because you don’t use chemicals in the preservation of stored grain, but because you re-use plastic jerrycans and bottles in an impressive way. Who thought that farmers and households could recycle plastic jerrycans and bottles and use them to store grains for seed and food? This alone makes the technique unique and farmer-friendly.
It’s about traders and proper storage of grains:
During our training sessions, we have encountered bulk grain traders and handlers who enthusiastically thank us for showing them how to store grain safely from rodents, weevils, and moist environments as they wait for the planting season when grains fetch good prices. However, they’ve been wondering how many jerrycans they need to store large quantities of grain, to which we’ve always encouraged them to opt for the Purdue Improved Crop Storage bags (PICS bags).
One of the most translated videos:
There is no doubt that the jerrycan bean storage video is one of the most translated in the SAWBO video library (about 118 languages and dialects and about 49 Kenyan languages and dialects. These translated versions have localized the jerrycan bean storage video and entrenched it deep in our communities who feel appreciated. It inspires them to keep downloading and sharing SAWBO videos via WhatsApp, Facebook, Bluetooth, and even load them on memory cards to watch with family and friends on TV screens at home.
In my fair assessment, this is the most popular, most loved, and watched video whose educative content is easy to memorize, adopt, and share via farmer-to-farmer extension education. If you are reading this blog post, I encourage you to load the video, watch it one more time and get that step you might have missed. But if you are watching it for the first time, please watch it again and again, and then explore other videos in the SAWBO library. In case you work for a farmer’s agency, NGO, CBO, Self Help Group, or any other organization that trains people on grain storage, please use this video as your entry point into the dissemination of SAWBO content. You’ll have an enjoyable ride.
The Agricultural Society of Kenya (ASK) was started in 1901 under the name East African Agricultural and Horticultural Society (EAA & HS). The goal of EAA & HS was to promote agricultural development based on European settlement. The first agricultural show in Kenya was held in 1902 at the Jevanjee Gardens in Nairobi (information courtesy of the Agricultural society of Kenya website)
After Kenya gained independence in 1964, founding father Mzee Jomo Kenyatta’s young government changed the name of the show to Agricultural Society of Kenya (ASK). It released a number of advisories and policies that encouraged “urban to rural” migration of its citizen to work on their farms and produce enough food to feed the growing population.
The popular ‘farmer field days’ originated from the ASK show. They are organised by the government and development partners at lower levels within the community where farmers are encouraged to showcase their farming techniques and crop management skills that improve production. These field days are given themes to commensurate with special occasions, policy factors, etc that enhance food security, conservation, and community development.
How we learned of the Busia County farmer’s field day
We learned of the ongoing Anglican Development Services (ADS) sponsored exhibitions circuit in Busia, Bungoma, Kakamega, and Vihiga counties by a member of our SAWBO network from Busia County, Mr. David Sibeyo, through a WhatsApp message posted on the group. Sibeyo is a public administrator working as a sub county administrator in Butula sub county, Busia county government, and the Busia county coordinator for public participation in the governor’s office.
Besides providing logistical support to our team to make the day successful, David Sibeyo handled our registration with the main organisers of the event (A.D.S), and ensured our network team was allocated prime space as an exhibitor. Since 80% of our network membership in Busia county practice mixed farming, we were confident that they would attend the exhibition in large numbers. We had no excuse than to ensure we served them well even though we became aware of the event on short notice and had limited time to prepare.
Before we took part in the event of such importance, we needed to have an idea or prior experience of what is expected of exhibitors. Luckily, my team members have attended other farmer field days and knew how to approach it. Under Sibeyo’s direction and guidance, our SAWBO western region team had all the logistical support to make the event, which was four days away, a great success. The team started by listing what we required, which included:
Two banners to advertise our services
A sizeable tent and chairs for farmers visiting our stall
Fliers to be issued to our visitors during the exhibition
Registration forms to be filled by stall visitors
Internet connectivity hotspot to download and share SAWBO videos
Drinks and snacks for our team
Groups like ours need to have reliable branding professionals who can put great ideas in place with speed and accuracy. Elisha Moseti who is our member from Kisii county in Nyanza region embarked on designing fliers, banners, and name tags to be used in the event and others that would follow thereafter. He did a wonderful job producing fine images and prints of awesome quality and messaging. Everlyne Mukhwana, another member of our network who supplies our branded T-shirts and caps made bright and colorful shirts and caps that make us stand out from the others.
In this blog post, I want to outline to my readers the preparations we made to enable us to attend the farmers exhibition/field day.
Activities in the exhibition
After noting down what we required and going over the list to ensure we missed nothing, the next challenge was how to run the event. At this point, I allocated duties to the eight volunteers that would represent our SAWBO network and interact with attendees. These volunteers would be expected to
Receive visitors to our stall.
Register farmers and capturing their information.
Arrange visitors into small groups (7-10) and explain who we are and what our network does.
Show farmers how to access SAWBO content, watch, and share with their contacts.
Issue fliers for attendees to take home to friends and family.
Attending to farmers visiting our stall.
It is always important to understand the community you will be attending to, especially those visiting your stall seeking your services. It’s equally important to know the language or dialect the local community uses. This helps in choosing the video translations to download and use in demonstrations.
After understanding our community, we allocated sitting space for a class of seven to 10 farmers per volunteer. If chairs are available, arrange them in a circular position. In the Busia exhibition, we were overwhelmed by the walk-in numbers and registration to join our brief demonstration classes. At times we had four ongoing sessions. Some farmers chose to stand because we didn’t have enough chairs, but that didn’t deter them from enjoying the animated videos!
During a demonstration session at garden of good hope, Weyeta area, Bungoma County, one of our trainers, (Esnas) sat down to effectively demonstrate to a disabled man how to watch SAWBO videos. This showed a level of passion the volunteer had for what she was doing touching the hearts of many in a special way.
Apart from the delay in setting up exhibition stalls by the organisers, everything began well and gained momentum. My team was quick to learn from the challenges encountered and adapted to provide timely solutions. The registration of new members was good and the enthusiasm when watching animated content memorable.
I encourage any team planning to attend these farmer field days and exhibitions to consider them as great opportunities to reach local communities and grow knowledge while expanding their networks.
My readers often wonder and ask me the origin of the name Kataru Concepts, its meaning, impact on my life, and relationship with Scientific Animations Without Borders (SAWBO). Today in this blog, I want to delve into this matter so that readers can understand the power and influence of the name, the programs we run, and how it all began.
Having been brought up by a father who was a primary school teacher, a reputable farmer practicing mixed farming, and an elected farmer’s representative in Mumias Outgrowers Company (MOCO) a local company that represented farmers’ interests in the newly commissioned Mumias Sugar Company (MSC), my early life was spent helping around the farm and watching my father address farmers grievances.
When I vied for the Member of County Assembly (MCA) seat, East Wanga ward, Mumias East sub-county, Kakamega County in 2013, I did not know that I had begun a journey into community service. In Kenya, MCA is the lowest elective seat, where members sit in their respective county Assemblies and legislate on laws that govern and manage devolved resources aimed at improving the livelihoods of the common mwananchi (residents). While vying for the seat, I established a “three-point agenda” which included;
Improved agricultural practices that would open ways for agribusiness
Improved health by provision of basic health services from the county government
Community empowerment touching on organized groups such as youth and women groups, self-help groups, and associations
The rebirth of “Kataru Concepts”
While on the campaign trail, I would always open my speech with the words, “I have THREE promises to work on if I get elected” which elicited excitement in my audience, who resonated with and recited the three points ululating and hanging on every word! That was when voters started calling me “Owa Kataru” which in my local Luhya-Wanga dialect meant, “the one with three points”. Unfortunately, I lost the 2013 election to a more experienced opponent but was inspired to set up a blog which I named “Kataru Concepts”, and decided to conceptualize my three-point agenda in readiness for the next elective contest or non-elective opportunity that could enable me to fulfill my desire to serve my community and push my “three-point agenda”.
My big opportunity with SAWBO animation videos
In late 2019, I was introduced to SAWBO by my former student, Sammy Lutomia whom I had taught computers while he was still young. At first, I was hesitant because I didn’t understand what was expected of me, but he persisted. He encouraged me to turn my blogging prowess from the less rewarding political genre to a more development-oriented approach. After watching several animation videos and studying the categories listed in the SAWBO video library, I discovered the content was exactly what I was looking for to complete my pet three-point agenda for serving my community.
Through SAWBO, I found lots of scientifically researched, proven, and digitally captured educational content that would benefit farmers, health workers, traders, transport operators, warehousing agents, structured community-based groups, and individuals too. My excitement came when I discovered that this content was being offered by SAWBO at no cost, and was simple to access, download, watch, understand, and even share with friends and family with ease via WhatsApp and other social media platforms and apps such as Bluetooth and Xender.
I also noticed that SAWBO content could be shared on flash disks and memory sticks, then watched on TV screens, on computers and laptops, and transmitted as a TV program by TV stations. These animation videos were further simplified by translations into several international and local languages and dialects which make them accessible to both the literate and semi-literate members of our society.
Visiting communities with animation videos
During the three years as a SAWBO knowledge partner, content manager, and developer, I have had the opportunity to work and interact with several Kenyan and African communities on a number of educative processes captured in the animated videos. We have conducted many training sessions, farm visits, household visits with health workers, and online training sessions. This experience has enriched my knowledge and understanding of what a fulfilling service to one’s community means. It has made me strongly believe that to serve, you don’t necessarily need a political or elective office, but just a calling, a passion, a push, and an urge to do something better for the next person and generation.
Together with the team that I created over the years, we have had the opportunity to build a wide network of volunteers and content beneficiaries in all the 47 counties of the Republic of Kenya, and we are in the process of reaching out to our friends and neighbors across Africa. We have also brought together a number of professionals from several fields that offer guidance and plan our activities as we seek to provide solutions using the readily available and free SAWBO content.
Advice to fellow bloggers and online platform users
To my fellow bloggers and social media users who might be struggling to seek an identity in the content they develop and live a meaningful life pursuing their dreams and building a cohesive society, SAWBO offers a lot of life-changing content on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) such as fighting hunger, conserving our environment, sustainable agriculture, etc. The Kenyan government is at the forefront of pushing for the realization of the “Vision 2030” and the “Big Four Agenda” where digital content provided by SAWBO plays an integral role. Besides using digital platforms for political purposes (which flows in most Kenyan veins), please venture into development and share ideas that enhance the growth within your society.
Effective dissemination of digital content should always include a follow-up to determine whether the knowledge gained is being implemented by the recipients, its impact on households, and the quantifiable positive change attained. As we continue sharing content from different categories of the SAWBO library, I encourage our network volunteers and groups to move further and ascertain the level of content intake in their respective communities and embrace a change in sharing and dissemination strategy that will enhance peer-to-peer education. This way, our success in improving livelihoods and positive change for society shall be achieved.
In this blog post, I want to outline more tips that could help in the effective dissemination of content, and increased uptake of knowledge. In the end, this will lead to impact stories attributed to the use of SAWBO animated content. I wish to drive our network volunteers from social media platforms to, showcasing best practices, farm visits, household visits with health workers, and sessions with communities, women and youth groups, and involvement in the implementation of knowledge gained.
Specializing on an animated video category
The moment a new network member or video recipient logs into the SAWBO video library, they scroll through the available categories and land on what drives their passion or immediate need. For example, when a farmer has a farming need, their first stop in the library will be the agricultural videos. Likewise, a health worker or conservationist will get attracted to the health and climate change categories respectively because that’s where they are bound to get solutions to their immediate needs or passion.
Matching your need, passion, or profession with available video categories makes it easier to choose and share video content. There is no problem when health workers choose to concentrate on sharing videos from the health category and let farmers concentrate on sharing agricultural videos. However, if you can navigate all available video categories with ease, you will enjoy and understand the concept addressed, and can engage a cross-section of recipients, so please do share from all categories.
Join more social media groups
In Kenya, we often receive links with invitations to join WhatsApp or other social media groups. My advice to our network volunteers is to first, research the group fully to ensure it is legitimate and proper and if so then go ahead and willingly join or accept to be members of these groups. Many may provide an opportunity to advance the SAWBO agenda of dissemination of digital content. After you have determined it is a legitimate group, take your time to study the group agenda, then introduce yourself and when appropriate start sharing SAWBO videos.
Always refer your recipients to the SAWBO video library
Referring recipients and showing them how to navigate the video library is one way of availing them freedom to explore, select, and disseminate SAWBO animated content. Each network member should encourage video recipients to freely visit the library, choose a video that addresses their immediate need, download, watch and share widely. Let us go out there and demonstrate the process to our recipients in their groups or individual capacities.
Once you’ve referred a client to a video whose content has solved their need be it storage of seed, water filtration, composting, etc, encourage them to share widely in their communities. Our network’s core business is to encourage peer-to-peer education via animated videos. Let’s keep encouraging our groups and individuals to share content.
Engage those you are sharing with
Sharing animated videos with recipients via WhatsApp is limiting. Network volunteers need to proceed and do physical visits, discuss progress, and engage recipients in calls to find out if they have implemented the knowledge gained and document their journey. This alone shows concern, responsibility, and creates a lasting bond between the network volunteer who shared the video and the recipients. It also grows and expands the network too.
Collecting feedback helps improve delivery. Feedback is key to the development of an idea, concept, process, or practice. It is important to collect both negative and positive feedback to help our volunteer’s network and SAWBO improve and develop videos that are essential to our communities.
For the past ten years (2010-2020) Kenya has mounted efforts with the World Health Organization (WHO) to eliminate and control Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) such as schistosomiasis (bilharzia), soil-transmitted helminthiasis (STH) or intestinal worms, lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis), and trachoma. According to WHO the goal of this decade-long effort is to at least eliminate one of these diseases by 2030 (See Kenya Making Progress in the Fight against NTDs).
Specifically, in December 2021 and January 2022 the Kenyan government and World Health Organization administered vaccine tablets to citizens to prevent bilharzia (schistosomiasis). Amazingly, these tablets were larger sized as compared to the usual size of tablets and not an injection like most Kenyans are used to. Not knowing about the fight against NTDs, I wondered why the government, had suddenly decided to campaign against a disease that was heard of prevalent more than 30 years ago amidst a pandemic?.
In most Kenyan communities, young children will quickly point to you that the most dangerous disease they know is COVID-19 which they have witnessed to have “stopped life” as they used to know it. Furthermore, these children Will recite to you how everything has been interfered with including their normal schooling schedule, shopping routines, playground rules, and restrictions on gatherings. Those who have watched the SAWBO animated videos on fighting the pandemic will tell you they have been watching many of the COVID-19 related videos, yet videos on fighting Malaria, Cholera, Zika, Tuberculosis, and others are available in the SAWBO video library.
Generally, people can recite the “COVID-19 protocol” without blinking an eye and remind you to wash your hands with soap and clean running water or use hand sanitizers regularly, maintain social distance, properly wear face masks, become fully vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine, and go for a booster dose as recommended by the Ministry of Health.
The focus on the COVID-19 pandemic has made, for some, other dangerous diseases appear less harmful, yet their control, treatment, and eradication are quite essential to humanity. That is why in this blog I take the opportunity to remind my readers not to forget preventive measures against other dangerous diseases featured in the SAWBO animated videos.
1. Cholera prevention
This is an intestinal infection caused by the Vibrio cholera bacteria. Cholera is caused by consuming contaminated food and water. Its symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea. In the brief SAWBO video, which I highly recommend my readers to watch, we learn how to prevent cholera by treating water, washing hands regularly, as well as and seeking medical advice in case of an infection. Please watch this animated video on Cholera prevention and share this video widely to help save lives. For the Kenyan audience, this video is available in English and Swahili.
2. Malaria prevention: Using bed nets
Malaria is a disease caused by a parasite that is transmitted to people through the bite of the female Anopheles mosquito. Symptoms of malaria are; high fever, chills, abdominal pain, headaches, tiredness, and fatigue. In case of an infection, the sick person should urgently seek medical assistance. Malaria can cause serious health complications, especially in infants and young children. Prevention measures include not being bitten by the mosquito. Proper installation of mosquito nets around your bed and sleeping areas keeps mosquitoes away. Please download, watch, and share this video on Malaria prevention with friends and family. For the Kenyan audience, this video is available in English and Swahili. There is also a music video from SAWBO about Malaria Prevention.
3. Drug-resistant Tuberculosis.
Sometime back, a friend who was using a congested public transport train to work got a serious TB infection. At first, it seemed a harmless persistent cough until she took medical tests. TB is treatable if the doctor’s instructions are followed carefully. If not treated properly, the virus can become resistant to one or multiple drugs hence becoming multidrug-resistant tuberculosis.
The SAWBO animation, Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis or (MDR-TB), explains the treatment plan that involves a group of antibiotics called “second-line antibiotics”. When a patient has a treatment plan with a doctor, it is important to adhere to the prescription strictly. For the Kenyan audience, this video is available in English.
4. Zika virus
The Zika virus, Chikungunya, Dengue, and Yellow Fever are caused by a flavivirus transmitted through the bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito. These infections can be sexually transmitted hence the need for infected couples to take precautions such as using condoms. SAWBO has an animation that discusses the Zika virus to watch and share. For the Kenyan audience, this video is available in English.
Symptoms of the Zika virus infection normally last two to seven days and have no known treatment. They include:
• Skin rash
• Conjunctivitis (red or pink eye)
• Joint pains
• Muscle pain
Here, I have just listed a few serious diseases that require urgent attention just like COVID-19. Health workers should increase sensitization to educate communities on the danger posed and advise families to take their sick to the hospital and seek medical intervention.
Note: The information and content in the video (content) should not substitute for professional or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment of any kind. Purdue University and SAWBO disclaim 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.
While walking down the great Ormond Street in London, Kenya’s former vice president, the late Michael Wamalwa Kijana said he noticed writing that said “Is everything well? is the child well?” which got him thinking of the well-being of children. He said this while delivering one of his most powerful speeches ever recorded during his short stint in office.
This statement has taken me back to thinking about how we feed our young children, taking note of how long they should be breastfed, what kinds of foods to feed them, and more specifically, what foodstuffs to mix to get a balanced diet that will ensure their steady growth and development.
In the SAWBO animated video“Child Nutrition: adding legume powder to porridge for better nutrition” we learn how to add a nutritious dried bean or cowpea powder to maize or grain porridge to feed your weaning infants and young children. When a child feeds on the right food, their growth and strength of the immune system and general well-being is promoted. Lack of proper food and nutrition leads to malnutrition, stunted growth, general body weakness, and poor development in children.
Eating healthy food has lots of benefits for growing children which include the following
Helps the child grow properly
Helps keep the skin, teeth, and eyes healthy
Boosts body immunity
Helps the digestive system to function properly
Lowers risk of heart diseases, some cancers, and type 2 diabetes
Supports healthy pregnancies and breastfeeding in mothers
In young children, good nutrition has several benefits that include the following
Improves minds and evens out moods
Helps ensure a healthy weight
Helps prevent mental health conditions such as anxiety
It is the responsibility of every parent to provide good nutritious food for their growing children. This promotes physical and mental health hence making the child feel energized.
Good nutrition helps ensure normal development
Nutritious food helps to ensure the normal development of growing children. Young children need calcium and vitamin D for strong healthy bones. Foods that help provide calcium include low-fat dairy products, fortified cereals, and dark leafy greens and vegetables.
Good nutrition helps ensure a healthy body weight
It is best for growing children to remain within the recommended child weight range. Unhealthy eating habits can result in eating low nutrient, high-calorie food which could lead to obesity. Every family needs to ensure that its members, especially growing children, eat a balanced diet to grow and develop well.
A strong immune system
A strong immune system keeps away sicknesses like colds and flu. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables helps to boost the immune system of growing children.
Fuelling the brain to function properly
For children to focus and perform well in school, they need a healthy diet. Foods like salmon, eggs, peanuts, and almond butter, supply the body with nutrients. Children also require whole grain for fiber too.
It is important for families to make sure their “children are well” and not malnourished which can lead to low self-esteem, poor development, and even death. SAWBO has a number of animations in its library that teach how to ensure good health for all people. I encourage my readers to download, watch and share widely with family.
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 disclaim 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.
Recently a friend shared the picture of Eshibambala fish in the SAWBO Kenya Network WhatsApp group chat which brought back nostalgic memories of my growing up. As a young boy in a family of ten that loved to have Eshibambala fish for dinner every Friday evening, my siblings and I would relish the sweet aroma, tasty soup from this fish, and the amazing sound sleep we’d have after a sumptuous dinner. As most families in my village, having Eshibambala for dinner was sufficient reason for young boys to take a cold evening shower in anticipation of a session of several balls of Ugali and Eshibambala soup. This was an experience worth boasting about to other children the following day as we grazed the family animals and played along the riverside.
Memories of this dried and salted fish got me thinking of how families can use knowledge in the animated video “Ensuring good nutrition during a pandemic”, to produce, preserve and store tasty, nutritious food to feed their families during pandemics like the Covid-19. This is when households experience food scarcity, changes, and challenges to how they perform their chores like farming and shopping for essentials from the markets and malls. Some habits have changed for good as we adjust to conform to the Covid-19 protocol. For example, working and attending classes online from home is a routine that’s become the new normal for employees and learners across the world.
The video was produced by the Feed the Future Scientific Animations Without Borders Responsive Adaptive Participatory Information Dissemination Program (SAWBO RAPID), a project of Scientific Animation without Borders (SAWBO). SAWBO RAPID 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. is funded by USAID under the Feed the Future initiative and is 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 200 language variants reaching over 45 million known viewers. Visit the SAWBO website for more information.
The limiting of movement and congregating due to the pandemic has caused a reduction in farming activities, scarcity of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and other foods that provide a balanced diet to households. As we all know, good nutrition is important for a family’s health. Nutritional needs vary according to age, gender, and health conditions hence the need for a balanced diet to help strengthen immunity against diseases.
What is a nutritious meal?
A nutritious meal contains food from various food groups like beans and pulses, dairy products, eggs, meats, fish, poultry, nuts and seeds, fruits and vegetables, cereals, and tubers. A nutritious meal should provide the body with sufficient carbohydrates which provide energy to the body, proteins that build and gives organs and tissues their shape, fat which helps the body absorb vitamins A, D, and E, vitamins, and minerals which boost the immune system.
Ensuring each family member gets these foods in sufficient quantities is a challenge during the Covid-19 pandemic. In this blog and video, we are going to learn things you can do safely to grow, access, prepare, preserve, and store a variety of foodstuffs to provide sufficient, nutritious food for your family to stay healthy and work during the epidemic.
During pandemics, there is a reduction in food supplies and farming activities which affect the entire supply chain. Knowing how to grow and produce sufficient food for your family is essential. Select a variety of crops that can be intercropped to allow you to grow more on existing land. For example, crops that grow well alongside maize include Irish potatoes, legumes, sweet potatoes, and groundnuts.
Vegetables can be grown in kitchen gardens while foods like fish, edible mushrooms and insects, wild fruits, and vegetables that are safe for human consumption can be harvested from the wild to supplement a family’s nutritional needs. As captured in our previous blogs on model farms, consider adding livestock and poultry to your farm to give meat, milk, eggs, and manure to prepare compost that can be used on your farms.
There are many ways of preparing food including boiling, frying, stewing, and roasting. Some cooking methods cause nutrients to be lost from food. It is important to consider these methods while preparing your food.
Maize: Do not remove the outer cover before boiling or roasting because it destroys nutrients.
Vegetables: Wash all vegetables with clean water first before cutting to avoid losing nutrients. Do not overcook or overboil green leafy vegetables including cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, etc as they lose nutrients. Do not drain and throw away water used to cook or boil vegetables.
Sweet/Irish potatoes: After washing with clean water, do not peel the skins off, boil with the skins on.
Legumes: Soak dried legumes like beans overnight before cooking to increase the availability of nutrients when eating.
Food preservation and storage
Food storage is keeping food in the right place, at the right temperature, and at the right time. Storage areas must be dry, well ventilated, and free from rodents and pests. There are many ways of storing and preserving foods captured in previous videos including the jerrycan bean storage techniqueand using PIC bags. Food preservation stops or slows down spoilage and allows for nutrient retention.
Prolonged storage bridges seasonal gaps and aids in food distribution cutting down on waste and post-harvest losses.
Methods of food preservation include;
Drying: Reduces water in food preventing and delaying bacterial growth. This method is used to preserve fish, meat, fruits, veggies, cereals, and legumes. Dried food should be stored in a cool, dark, dry place and used within a year.
Salting and curing: This removes moisture from food and can be used to preserve meat, fish, and edible insects. Sugar is used to preserve fruits. They can be preserved in syrup or cooked in sugar to the point of thickening then stored in jars as jam.
Burial in the ground: Many root vegetables like carrots and red beets can be preserved by storing them under the ground. The vegetables and soil should be cool and dry before burying and shouldn’t touch each other when stored in the ground. Ensure the vegetables are arranged in layers without touching each other and should be completely covered by the soil.
To learn more on food preparation, storage and preservation, talk to agricultural extension service providers in your area. Community Health workers and volunteers, community-based organizations, and other non-governmental organizations that train communities on these food storage techniques can be of great help too.
This video was made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), under the terms of Contract No. 7200AA20LA00002. USAID administers US foreign assistance in more than 80 countries worldwide. The contents are the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.
Kataru Concepts is a knowledge management entity that disseminates digital content. We also carry out scientific research and surveys using a vast network of over 500 volunteers spread across 47 counties of kenya. As a SAWBO Knowledge partner, Kataru Concepts is actively diseminating SAWBO RAPID Content across the nation.