Scientific Animations without Borders Logo

The project Scientific Animations Without Borders, better known as SAWBO, is a global project developed at the University of Illinois. The SAWBO project looks to share scientific information with those who would benefit from it, but for an excess of reasons do not have access. As the title would suggest, this information is broken down into animations that cover countless topics and are available in 50 different languages, making it accessible to people around the world.

SAWBO was developed by University of Illinois professors Dr. Barry Pittendrigh from the department of Entomology (zoological study of insects) and Dr. Julia Bello-Bravo from International Programs and Studies in 2010. The project used the idea of technology, specifically mobile phones, to progress the development of other countries. Noticing that many people in underdeveloped countries had access to smartphones, Dr. Bellow-Bravo and Pittendrigh used this opportunity to attempt to overcome the educational challenges that would slow the development of underprivileged regions.

The animations produced by the program often take many forms. With the help of sponsors such as USAID, Feed the Future Legume Innovation Lab, the ADM Institute for the Prevention of Postharvest Loss, and many more, SAWBO is able to produce a large range of videos to spread the education of everything from Cholera prevention, to assistance with crop harvesting, and everything in between.

SAWBO is also a free-to-use program and has many proud accomplishments. One being in 2017 where the animated programs educated the people of Bangladesh and helped them in their fight against the Fall Armyworm, which destroys maize crops. The animations can help make communication easier, especially to those with lower literacy rates.

SAWBO also has a downloadable app and of course their website (, where you can access the animations at any time for free. Viewers may also Donate to SAWBO, subscribe to their monthly newsletter, and even volunteer to translate animations into other languages, all from the website.

three people
SAWBO creators Bello-Bravo and Pittendrigh with former University of Illinois physics student and Ph.D. student at the California Institute of Technology, Pakpoom Buabthong

– Department of Entomology, First floor of Justin Smith Morrill Hall – Office of Dr. Barry Pittendrigh

– International Programs and Studies, International Studies Building – Office of Dr. Julia Bello-Bravo

Home. (n.d.). SAWBO Scientific Animations Without Borders. Retrieved April 15, 2021, from

Animations help in Bangladesh’s fight against Fall Armyworm. (2020, February 10). Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Legume Systems Research.

Stoytcheva, S. (2014, November 21). SAWBO: Scientific Animations Without Borders. Glocal Notes from the International and Area Studies Library.

Bello-Bravo, J. & Pittendrigh, B. R. [SAWBO Scientific Animations Without Borders]. (2017, June 2). SAWBO Portraits: Dr. Barry Pittendrigh (SAWBO’s co-Director) [Video]. YouTube.


Contributors: Nathan Girouard