A local Kenyan strives to empower others through the distribution of educational animations

Jacob Omondi leads a group during community health strategy trainings in Rachuonyo East sub-county, Kenya (Photo courtesy of Jacob Omondi)

Jacob Omondi works in community health and is passionate about helping his fellow Kenyans. So when he discovered an educational program designed to help Kenyans mitigate the side effects of COVID-19 using video animations, he grabbed the opportunity with both hands.

The program Feed the Future Scientific Animations Without Borders Responsive Adaptive Participatory Information Dissemination (SAWBO FAST), uses animation to teach simple things people can do to empower themselves in times of crisis.

SAWBO FAST is funded by USAID and serves as an educational intervention to disseminate crucial information related to secondary economic impacts of COVID-19, including disruption of trade, supply chains, and markets. The project relies on organizations and individuals, like Jacob, to deliver content to communities.

“Scientific Activities Without Borders, or SAWBO as is known, has over 10 years of experience creating global educational animations and studying their impact,” says co-founder, Julia Bello-Bravo. She and the SAWBO team have published over 35 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters on scaling life-enhancing educational materials using local-language animations.

Wearing face masks correctly is a SAWBO RAPID animation shared by Jacob Omondi. This video highlights the importance of wearing face masks correctly to help prevent the spread of coronavirus
“The SAWBO FAST The project is interesting because it targets marginalized communities in Bangladesh, Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria as identified by USAID. It really provided us with the opportunity to not only have an immediate impact on the people of these areas during a pandemic, but also to explore new avenues of deployment, as many of these areas are remote,” says John Medendorp , co-PI of the SAWBO FAST program.

Jacob learned about the SAWBO FAST project through Kataru Concepts, a knowledge management organization that actively disseminates digital content through a network of volunteers that spans 47 counties and 310 constituencies in Kenya. The organization focuses on agriculture, health and social development topics to raise the standard of living of their community. Omondi is a Kataru Concepts volunteer, and Kataru concepts is a SAWBO Knowledge Partner. Together they work to spread SAWBO and SAWBO FAST contents.

The first SAWBO FAST amination that Jacob shared was “Post-harvest loss: Storing beans in jerry cans”. Animation shows how to avoid pest damage when storing beans after harvest using a jerry can. This simple technique allows dried beans to be stored safely for long periods of time, ensuring food security when other food sources may be reduced by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, which has periodically shut down markets and trade.

According to Barry Pittendrigh, Co-Founder and Co-Director of SAWBO, “If we think of SAWBO animations as part of a product’s lifecycle, each animation is a finished product ready to be scaled by other people. others and make an impact in their communities. Jacob’s work through Kataru Concepts exemplifies how every animation is a readily available product that can be used for scale and impact.

Omondi also shared the SAWBO FAST animation, “Wear face masks correctly“and other SAWBO videos,”Malaria prevention” and “sickle cell disease”.

He works for Healthy Entrepreneurs which is a social enterprise involved in community health strategy. His work is mainly in the Western and Nyanza regions of Kenya. He shared the videos with other community health workers and taught them how to use WhatsApp to spread the video further.

“Videos are easy to share, and having them available in local dialects is particularly helpful,” says Omondi. “It was fun to share the videos as learners are drawn to the animations. I feel like this type of information and the way it is presented can really change the lives of our employees.

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