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Abstract, Outlooks on Pest Management, 2018

Rapid dissemination of critical and accurate information to low-resource and poorly literate people in crisis situations has long been a challenge. Historically, print media as well as radio and television have served as major delivery channels. With the advent of cellphones, SMS (texting), and the Internet, these digital technologies now afford enhanced opportunities for reaching this poorly literate, low-resource client group quickly and efficiently. Here, we describe a two-step, rapid response approach to the Fall Armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda), an invasive noctuid pest newly causing havoc on maize production in Africa and Asia. First, we developed a science-based, animated video – now being localized further into various languages across Africa and Asia – intended to aid semi-literate, smallholder farmers in identifying and scouting for fall armyworm effectively. Second, we made the animation easily available for (re)distribution in affected areas via the Internet and copying/sharing with Bluetooth®, thereby exponentially increasing the animation’s reach across a wide spectrum of diverse languages and literacy levels. In this way, this form of asymmetrical communication hybridizes and combines the educational qualities of print dissemination with the range of radio/television delivery