Scientific Animations Without Borders (SAWBO)


Scientific Animations Without Borders (SAWBO) is a University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign based program focused on information and communication technology for development (ICT4D).[1] SAWBO creates two- and three-dimensional animations explaining concepts that can be used to improve agricultural production[2], reduce postharvest losses, prevent and treat diseases and empower women. Specific video topics include, for example, malaria prevention[3], use of bednets to prevent vector borne diseases (specifically malaria)[4], cholera prevention[5], dengue prevention[6], yellow fever prevention, West Nile virus prevention[7], Chagas disease prevention[8], use of biocontrol agents in pest management[9], treatment of cassava flour to prevent konzo[10], tuberculosis prevention and treatment[11], how to make an oral rehydration solution[12], handwashing[13], use of neem seed extracts as an alternative to synthetic pesticides[14], proper processing of shea seeds and shea butter[15], hermetic storage of seeds to prevent insect attack, solar treating of cowpeas to prevent insect attack[16], proper transportation and storage of grain to prevent postharvest losses[17][18][19][20], and micro-finance, as well as videos useful for hospital systems both in the developing and developed world[21]. Animations are translated into numerous languages[22] and are made freely available to any group interested in deploying these videos for educational purposes only. SAWBO is focused on delivering critical knowledge to low literate learners in their own languages using cell-phone ready animations, which can be shared between video- and Bluetooth(R)- capable cell phones. SAWBO also has a longstanding interest in developing videos to share indigenous knowledge that has been verified in the scientific literature.[23] SAWBO partners with local NGOs, government organizations, and other academic institutions to create and deploy these videos in the field.[24] SAWBO videos can be viewed and downloaded from one of several online SAWBO[25][26] websites, YouTube[27], or from the Sustainable Development Virtual Knowledge Interface (SusDeViKI)[28], an online journal for materials appropriate for educational programs focused on low literate learners.[29]

Dr. Julia Bello-Bravo
Dr. Barry Robert Pittendrigh

SAWBO is co-directed by Dr. Barry Robert Pittendrigh (Endowed Chair Professor in the Department of Entomology) and Dr. Julia Bello-Bravo (Assistant Director, Illinois Strategic International Partnerships, International Programs and Studies). SAWBO works with students on the UIUC campus, who have animation skills as well as the ability to develop cutting-edge technologies that can be used in the deployment of SAWBO videos. SAWBO also works with international and national student volunteers to translate SAWBO videos into languages spoken around the world.


1) Bello, J., F. Seufferheld, L. D. Steele, T. Agunbiade, D. Guillot, G. Cutz, & B. R. Pittendrigh. 2011. Scientific Animations without Borders: an international collaborative approach for building applicable scientific educational materials for use on cell phones, and the Internet in developing nations. The International Journal of Science in Society. 2(4): 49-62.

2) Bello, J., Seufferheld, F., Steele, L. D., Agunbiade, T., Guillot, D., Cutz, G., Pittendrigh, B. R. Scientific Animations without Borders: an international collaborative approach for building applicable scientific educational materials for use on cell phones, and the Internet in developing nations. In: Boukar, O., Coulibaly, O., Fatokun, C., Lopez, K., Tamò M. (eds.). Enhancing cowpea value chains through research advances. Proceedings of the 5th World Cowpea Research Conference, 26 September – 1 October 2010 Saly, Senegal. pp. 369-380.

3) Malaria Prevention in English (accent from Nigeria) –

4) Malaria Prevention: Bed Nets in English (accent from Nigeria) –

5) Cholera Prevention in English (accent from Nigeria) –

6) Dengue Prevention in English (accent from Nigeria) –       

7) Prevention of West Nile Virus in English (accent from Nigeria) –

8) Prevention of Chagas Disease in English (accent from USA)-

9) Biocontrol of Legume Pod Borer (Maruca vitrata) in English (accent from USA) –

10) How To Remove The Poison From Cassava Flour in English (accent from Nigeria) –

11) Tuberculosis Prevention in English (accent from USA) –

12) Oral Re-hydration Solution in English (accent from Nigeria) –

13) How To Wash Your Hands in English (accent from USA)

14) Natural Insecticide from Neem Seeds in English (accent from Nigeria) –

15) Improved method of Shea Butter processing in English (Accent from Nigeria) –

16) Solar treating of cowpeas in English with an accent from Nigeria –

17) Postharvest Loss: Storage in English (accent from the USA) –

18) Postharvest Loss: Bag Stacking in English (accent from the USA) –

19) Postharvest Loss: Bulk Transportation in English (accent from USA) –

20) Postharvest Loss: Bulk Transportation in English (accent from USA) –

21) How to Use a Metered Dose Inhaler with a Spacer in English (accent from USA) –

22) Youtube SAWBO channel –

23) Bello-Bravo, J., and B.R. Pittendrigh. 2012. Scientific Animations Without Borders: A new approach to capture, preserve and share indigenous knowledge. The Journal of the World Universities Forum. 5(2): 11-20.

24) Bello-Bravo, J. G.W. Olana, L.G. Enyadne and B.R. Pittendrigh. (2013). Scientific Animations Without Borders and communities of practice: Promotion and pilot deployment of educational materials for low-literate learners around Adama (Ethiopia) by Adama Science and Technology University. The Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries. 56(4): 1-11.

25) SAWBO light website –

26) Main SAWBO website –

27) Youtube entry to SAWBO videos –

28) The Sustainable Development Virtual Knowledge Interface –

29) Bello-Bravo, J., Diaz, R., Venugopal, S., Viswanathan, M., and B. R. Pittendrigh. 2010. Expanding the impact of practical scientific concepts for low-literate learners through an inclusive and participatory virtual knowledge ecosystem. Journal of the World Universities Forum. 3(4):147-164.

30) Video explaining the origins of SAWBO in English –


32) Women processing Shea in Nigeria –

33) A town built on stilts in the middle of a lake in Benin –

34) A mountain village area in Ethiopia –