The publication of “Schoolchildren Battle Malaria and Other Diseases,” the first edition of “WASH 4 All,” a comic book series being offered for free throughout the world announced was today by Horizon International and MediaBFI. “WASH 4 ALL” (water, sanitation and hygiene for all) comic book series and short animated cartoon videos are being produced by Horizon International, an NGO based at Yale University, in collaboration with Beautiful Feet International (MediaBFI), a non-profit organization based in Nigeria.
The publication of “Schoolchildren Battle Malaria and Other Diseases,” the first edition of “WASH 4 All,” a comic book series being offered for free throughout the world was announced on 16 September 2014 by Horizon International and MediaBFI.
“WASH 4 ALL” (water, sanitation and hygiene for all) comic book series and short animated cartoon videos are being produced by Horizon International, an NGO based at Yale University, New Haven, CT, in collaboration with the media service of Beautiful Feet International (MediaBFI), a non-profit organization based in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria. The comics are being created to positively engage youths in the fight against diseases related to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene.
The 12-page colored comic book, draws upon the content of Horizon’s book and its accompanying DVDs, “Water and Sanitation Related Diseases and the Environment: Challenges, Interventions and Preventive Measures.” It was completed with comments and reviews from several of that book’s 59 authors, experts from the fields of public health, medicine, epidemiology, environmental health, climate change, environmental engineering, and population research. The book was published by Wiley-Blackwell in collaboration with Horizon International in November 2011.
The comic book, “Schoolchildren Battle Malaria and Other Diseases,” was created and designed by Francis Odupute, an award-winning artist and journalist, and his MediaBfi team in Nigeria. Francis U. Odupute is Founder and President of Bfi and an artist for Horizon International.
This is the first edition of a planned 12 part series entitled “WASH 4 All.”
Young boys and girls of school age in developing countries where WASH culture is relatively very poor, the health implications of which takes its toll on the lives and education of these children, are the main audience. The audience not only includes youths aged 7 to 19, but also those in their early adulthood. “Parents, schoolteachers, and community-leaders and health care workers through the entire world who can use the comic as a learning tool, are also part of our audience,” said Odupute. “They all play strategic roles in WASH education efforts.”
As Odupute says, “Cartoons and comics are a unique art form and powerful information, education communication tool for public education and behavioral change, especially among youths. Working together with Horizon International has given us the opportunity to apply our talents to help youth especially in countries where the need for greater understanding of the importance of WASH is greatest. And to thus engage youths to tackle WASH challenges in the spirit of securing their future.”
“Through the comic book,” says Janine M. H. Selendy, Chairman, President and Publisher of Horizon International, “we employ simple stories with powerful graphics to convey complicated health concerns, devastating health problems destroying childhoods and killing millions of children, and to provide some examples of preventive measures that can be taken by families, schools, and communities.”
This first comic book focuses on malaria and touches on other water-related diseases. In the school of Dan and Ann, “somewhere in a remote part of Africa,” their classmates are suffering from the symptoms of and dying from malaria. In one of its informative side bars, the comic book states: “Malaria is a dangerous disease caused by a parasite transmitted by mosquitoes, a disease vector, Every year, over 600,000 people die from malaria…especially children under 5 and pregnant women in tropical Africa. 3.4 billion people, almost half the world’s population is at risk.”
“Every minute a child dies from malaria, according to World Health Organization (WHO),” says Selendy. “Meeting WASH needs is vital to the health and well-being of everyone. We will focus on various diseases while building on the knowledge of what can be done to prevent them.”
“An estimated 2.4 to 2.6 billion individuals lack access to any type of improved sanitation facility according to the WHO,” says Selendy. “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), half of the developing world, more than 35 % of the world’s population lack access to adequate sanitation. And, poor sanitation and hygiene are inextricably linked to water quality.”
“With roughly 884 million people lacking access to an improved water supply, water that is protected from outside contamination, in particular from contamination with fecal matter, 1.2 billion individuals are exposed to water-related illness from their drinking water.” Selendy adds.
“The lack of this most fundamental service contributes to an estimated 1.87 million annual deaths due to diarrhea- more than 90 % of which are in children under 5 years of age,” writes Jay Graham, Assistant Professor and Director of the MPH in Global Environmental Health at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services in the book, “Water and Sanitation Related Diseases and the Environment: Challenges, Interventions and Preventive Measures.”
“The magnitude of health problems caused by inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene are so immense that most people have difficulty grasping the consequences. For example, diarrhea remains the second leading cause of death in children under 5 years of age globally, and nearly one in five child deaths, around 1.5 million a year, is due to diarrhea. This equates to the death of one child every 15 seconds, meaning more than 4,000 child deaths every day, and exceeds the death rates from such killer diseases as malaria and tuberculosis according to the World Bank.”
The late Dr. Lee jong-wook when he was Director-General of the World Health Organization, expressed the importance of addressing water and sanitation so well when he wrote,
“…once we can secure access to clean water and to adequate sanitation facilities for all people, irrespective of the difference in their living conditions, a huge battle against all kinds of diseases will be won.”
“The focus of the second edition of the WASH 4 All comic book series will focus on the sensitive, often neglected, subject of open-defecation,” Odupute said.
“While six billion people worldwide have mobile phones, only 4.5 billion have access to toilets or latrines – meaning that 2.5 billion people, mostly in rural areas, do not have proper sanitation, according to UN figures,” said Selendy. “In addition, 1.1 billion people still defecate in the open.”
Media are invited to announce and provide PDF copies and links to sources where the comic book can be downloaded.
It is available on the Horizon International Solutions Site at
The comic books are one of many planned means of providing the contents of “Water and Sanitation Related Diseases and the Environment: Challenges, Interventions and Preventive Measures” for general audiences of all ages. Horizon International is already distributing the book’s accompanying 4-hours of multimedia DVDs to thousands of libraries and institutions in 139 less-wealthy countries as part of the multidisciplinary Social Science Library resources being distributed free of charge by the Global Development And Environment Institute (GDAE) at Tufts University. These DVDs were designed for use as teaching tools in classrooms and communities, by organizations, researchers and policy makers. As of September 15, 2014, these resources are offered in over 1,500 entities across 58 countries. The flyer with the book’s table of contents being sent with the DVDs is available at http://www.solutions-site.org/dvd/insert.pdf. Bfi is one of the Distribution Partners making the DVDs available in Nigeria.
In addition, “Supplementary Material,” for the book, now more than 52 articles, is published on a Wiley-Blackwell companion Web site for the volume, http://www.wiley.com/go/selendy/waterand on the Horizon International Solutions Site at http://www.solutions-site.org.
Janine M. H. Selendy, Founder, Chairman, President and Publisher
Department of Biology
New Haven, CT 06520-8103
Mobile: (914) 329-1323
Janine Selendy is available for interviews.
The Book, Water and Sanitation Related Diseases and the Environment: Challenges, Interventions and Preventive Measures, and DVDs contents are described in a flyer available at http://www.solutions-site.org/dvd/insert.pdf.
About Horizon International:
Horizon International works to find and advance solutions in the interconnected areas of health, the environment, population and economic well being and, in recent years, is concentrating on addressing water and sanitation and hygiene problems and solutions. The non-profit NGO is based at Yale where it has been a guest of the University since 1992. Multimedia programs including a solutions site at http://www.solutions-site.org, which is the organizations main web presence, an oceans website at http://www.magicporthole.org, and international TV programs, many of which can be viewed on YouTube at www.youtube.com/user/jselendy, other educational materials, lectures, conference participation and consultations, and an associate program with interns and other volunteers are means employed to achieve its goals. Horizon’s recent effort is the production of the book, Water and Sanitation Related Diseases and the Environment: Challenges, Interventions and Preventive Measures, a Wiley-Blackwell collaboration with Horizon International, for which Horizon’s head, Janine M. H. Selendy, is Editor.
Horizon International’s Home website is: http://www.solutionsssite.org.
About Beautiful Feet International (BFI):
The Beautiful Feet International (BFI) Ministry is a faith-based organization in Nigeria whose objectives include charity, youth empowerment, moral suasion/evangelism, development education and community health/WASH issues, media advocacy, and educational literature distribution, among other development efforts. Since its establishment in 1998, BFI has collaboratively networked internationally to bring about sustainable youth as well as moral capital development and wholesome living in the society, the latest of which is the CARTOON AFRICA INTERNATIONAL BIENNIAL (CAIB) festival hosted by Nigeria.
The BFI Kreative Brainz Klub (BFIKBK) is one of the leading implementing partners/organizers of the CAIB festival, a collaborative, public education project using comedic Art-drawings, cartoons, animations, etc, to collaboratively push for sustainable development in Africa by promoting Cartooning as a great art form, celebrating and rewarding excellence in the use of cartoons and comics to address issues of public interest, raise awareness on many critical issues and concerns that are not given the level of attention they rightly deserve; to engage African youths in addressing these concerns via creative education and capacity building in multidisciplinary communication skills needed for securing Africa’s future; and to shape opinions of the general public, deepen democracy and catalyze moral capital development revolution in a global context, within the prism of humor, edutainment and cross-cultural education/exchanges.
The “WASH 4 ALL” comic books, other free comics, cartoons and more information about the Cartoon Africa International Biennial (CAIB) festival can be freely downloaded from their official website: http://www.cartoonafricabiennial.org.
As part of an ongoing youth/community-led WASH education/health outreach by BFI for schools and communities, the “WASH 4 ALL” comic book plus the new “Me-WASH info-graphic bulletins” being produced by MediaBFI, are also expected to be published in print version by MediaBFI as part of the CAIB-MeWASH Free Comics And Cartoon Workshop For Youths supporting events at every CAIB event to help youths and schoolchildren in Nigeria and across Sub-Saharan Africa, who can’t access or download the virtual versions online, to be able to read the comics and share the information via peer-education.
Other members of the Bfi team who worked on this comic book are:
Sophia C. Odupute, Logistics And Concepts Support,
Joy Otono, Letterer, and
Architect Edwin Irabor, Colourist.
Francis Umendu Odupute was the 2012 World Water Week (WWW) WASH Media Award winner in the cartoon/photo category where he and Selendy met. The WWW is organized by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) and takes place in Stockholm, Sweden. The WASH Media Awards competitions are sponsored by SIWI and the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (http://www.wsscc.org/). WWW “has been the annual focal point for the globe’s water issues since 1991,” according to SIWI. “It is a platform for over 200 collaborating organizations to convene events about water and development issues. Individuals from around the globe also present their findings at the scientific workshops.” The SIWI website is available at http://www.siwi.org.
An article about Odupute and his award, “WASH Media Award Winners Recognized for Excellence in Reporting,” is available on the Horizon International Solutions Site at http://www.solutions-site.org/node/791.
An article by Odupute, based on his own daughter’s previous school, “Evbuotubu Primary School, Nigeria: A Journalist’s Experience (1 and 2),” is available at http://www.solutions-site.org/node/832.