New animations promote safe marketplace practices during COVID-19


The coronavirus pandemic has affected many aspects of daily life. However, certain activities—such as buying goods or working in marketplaces—are required to meet the basic needs of communities and families. Three SAWBO RAPID animations developed in collaboration with Breakthrough ACTION titled “COVID-19 Pandemic: How to Shop Safely in the Marketplace,” “COVID-19 Pandemic: How to Sell Safely in the Marketplace,” and “COVID-19 Pandemic: Marketplace – Market Leader” are available for immediate distribution.

These videos were first developed for the African continent but have application worldwide. Whether you manage, sell, or shop in a local market, or know someone who does, these animations provide practical advice on actions designed to keep everyone safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

“In many developing countries, a major source for food and goods is the local market, which is similar to what we call farmers markets in the U.S.,” explains Dr. Barry Pittendrigh, SAWBO RAPID Director, SAWBO co-founder, and John V. Osmun Endowed Chair Professor at Purdue University. “These markets are often very crowded, and they put large numbers of people in close contact with one another. The conditions in markets provide real health challenges during a pandemic.”

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan for the WHO African Region (SPRP), update April 2021, lists reducing exposure and suppressing the transmission of COVID-19 as strategic objectives. The animations developed by SAWBO RAPID and Breakthrough ACTION provide fact-based messaging targeted to meet these objectives.

SAWBO RAPID turned to the experts at the Johns Hopkins University implemented and USAID-funded Breakthrough ACTION project for advice and guidance when developing these videos. “We couldn’t have pulled these animations off without the collaboration and support of Breakthrough ACTION,” says Julia Bello-Bravo, “Their expertise in this area was critical in delivering the science and fact-based messages required for these videos.” Bello-Bravo is a SAWBO RAPID co-Principle Investigator and co-Director of SAWBO who will be joining the faculty at Purdue University later this summer.

Breakthrough ACTION is a partnership led by Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs in collaboration with Save the Children, ThinkPlace, ideas42, Camber Collective, International Center for Research on Women, and Viamo.

“The goal of our project is to ignite collective action and encourage people to adopt healthier behaviors,” explains Elizabeth Serlemitsos, Project Director for Breakthrough ACTION. “We have been delighted to partner with SAWBO on the development of these animations, as they provide critical guidance to market sellers, shoppers, and others on how best to prevent the spread of COVID-19, while continuing to engage in necessary market activities.”

The two projects were brought together by USAID, which separately funds both activities. “This is a great example of how USAID projects can work together for a common goal, maximizing the investment of the U.S. people,” states John Medendorp, SAWBO RAPID Co-Principle Investigator and Associate Director of the Urban Center at Purdue University.

All three animations are available in English and up to 28 other language variants, primarily those predominant in Ghana, Kenya, and Nigeria with more being added daily.

This article was originally published by SAWBO RAPID