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Scientific Animations Without Borders scales knowledge for impact

How do you make access to scientific knowledge more democratic for people around the world?

How can we be inclusive of diverse groups in the creation of that knowledge?

And, finally, how can we equitably transfer that information to those who speak different languages, may not read or write or live in hard-to-reach areas of the world?

These questions have guided the organization Scientific Animations Without Borders (SAWBO) since its founding in 2011. Co-founded by newly hired agricultural sciences education and communication assistant professor Julia Bello-Bravo and Barry Pittendrigh, Purdue’s Osmun Endowed Chair of Urban Entomology and director of the Center for Urban and Industrial Pest Management, SAWBO has created a research and highly scalable outreach program that uses the power of animation to disseminate scientific knowledge around the world.

“This program is very much focused on the land-grant mission and its ongoing efforts to be inclusive across a great diversity of people."

The animated videos range in subjects from agricultural processes, to disease prevention, to women empowerment, to peace and national healing for war-torn countries. The videos are designed for and used predominantly in low-literate regions, often in developing countries. Drawing on input from global experts, translators, animators and local civic leaders, the videos can easily be adapted to conform to local languages and customs. The contents are free to anyone who wants to use them.

“This program is very much focused on the land-grant mission and its ongoing efforts to be inclusive across a great diversity of people” Bello-Bravo said. She explains that “SAWBO is a platform for researching how we can scale knowledge across languages, cultures, literacy levels, and technological divides.  In turn, what we learn from our research drives how we scale content to more people across more languages and communities.”

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