Network for Information and Digital Access

Scientific Animations Without Borders (SAWBO)

Natural Insecticide from
Neem Seeds
Financial Scams
Improved Method of
Shea Butter Processing
Charcoal Water Filtration
Coordinating Organisation Michigan State University (MSU), USA
Organisers/Type of Organisation Program based at university
Initiative Type Training, research and creation of educational materials
Field of Science Involved Agriculture, health, women’s education
Target Audience(s) Low literate learners
Reach Global

Main Objectives

Providing access to health and agricultural information to low literate learners.

Description of work

SAWBO is a university- based program that transforms extension information on relevant topics such as agriculture, economics, health and women's empowerment, into 2D, 2.5D and 3D animations, which are then voice overlaid into a diversity of languages from around the world. 

All animations are co-created in collaboration with global experts on the given topic of the animation, in order to assure accuracy.  These animations are freely available to anyone who wishes to use them for educational purposes only via YouTube, Facebook, the SAWBO website video library, the SAWBO Deployer app (which is also freely available) and most recently (March 2018) to programs that are setting up offline computer services in developing nation countries, so that users and potential users can access the animations from their local facilities. 

SAWBO also gives out their materials free of charge to TV stations for use in regularly programmed broadcasting.  The SAWBO team also gives away a credit card style USB card, called an Extension System in Your Wallet, that allows users to carry all of SAWBO’s content in their wallet allowing people to share the animations onto the computers of others whenever they want.


SAWBO is a research driven program and has published over a dozen peer-reviewed papers on the acceptance and effectiveness of animations as an educational tool.  Recent studies have shown that SAWBO animations are more effective than traditional extension talks, in terms of the audience learning gains, with the most pronounced levels of learning gains occurring in women.

Resources used or generated

Over 500 videos are available on a variety of health, agriculture and other topics, with voiceovers available in a variety of languages and accents. (See for the full range.)  Their animations are integrated into educational programs by other groups around the world, including government agencies, intergovernmental agencies, TV stations, large and small NGOs, including “NGOs of one”.  

The Cholera Prevention video can be downloaded from the SAWBO webpage. The version above is in Arabic but the video is available in multiple languages.

Contact Details
Principal Contact Drs. Julia Bello-Bravo and Barry Pittendrigh
Address Michigan State University, CIPS - Room 203, 578 Wilson Rd, East Lansing, MI 48824. United States of America
e-mail Julia Bello-Bravo
Barry Pittendrigh
Social Media Facebook
Twitter - @SAWBOsm

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