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April 2020

AgrAbility for Africa

The hearts of the staff of AgrAbility for Africa go out to everyone in time of fear and isolation. We hope that no one reading this, nor their family or friends, have been severely affected by the dreaded COVID-19. And, it may be worse if faced with disabilities or pre-existing conditions. Staff hope that those who are alone, overwhelmed, and need help can still reach out for support from the AgrAbility network.

SAWBO digital clip of African woman working farmAgrAbility for Africa staff, faced with the challenges due to COVID-19 to reach those that require their services and to increase their outreach and impact to farmers, ranchers, and farmworkers faced with disabilities across Africa, have developed a collaboration with Professor Barry Pittendrigh and Professor Julia Bello-Bravo of Scientific Animations without Borders (SAWBO). SAWBO is a Michigan State University-based program to develop educational health and agriculture digital clips to enhance farm productivity, farm safety, mental health, children's health, and wellness in rural farming communities across Africa through low-literacy animations.

Low-cost leveraged wheelchairAgrAbility for Africa is working on a partnership with the Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI) to develop prototypes of low-cost motorized and leveraged bicycles and wheelchairs from recycled bicycle parts to enhance mobility of farmers impacted by disability and to support mobility of extension workers and rural health workers to reach those that need their support. Under the arrangement, AgrAbility for Africa and UIRI will develop prototypes of the technologies, then pass on the skills to youth for the purposes of scaling the inventions and increasing access to low-cost assistive technologies for many people in Africa who need it.

Submitted by Mutumba Faisal