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Illustration students develop resources for African school children about air pollution and health

The NIHR CLEAN-Air(Africa) Global Health Research Group joined a successful degree course in illustration at Plymouth University in preparation for the launch of its school based initiative on air pollution in sub-Saharan Africa. John Kilburn, Year 2 coordinator at Plymouth, said “we tasked our students to develop materials for CLEAN-Air(Africa) communicating the issue of household air pollution to primary school children”.  Household air pollution from cooking with wood kills more than 55,000 people (mostly women and children) each year in Cameroon, Kenya and Ghana – focus countries for the CLEAN-Air(Africa) Group.  A schools-based program to prevent air pollution will be launched in Kenya by the Group in June.

Two teams of illustration students created some fantastic materials that will be piloted through the work of CLEAN-Air(Africa). The first team developed a concertina flyer to hand out to primary school children as part of a lesson to highlight the issue of air pollution on health and environment and benefits of clean cooking.

The second team developed a ‘story in a bag’ to be used in a tale about the benefits of clean air on health from the perspective of a grandmother.


Dan Pope and Rachel Anderson de Cuevas from CLEAN-Air(Africa) joined the course to set the context for the project. Prof Pope stated “the imagination and creativity of the students was extremely impressive. We will pilot the materials in Kenyan primary schools when we launch a clean energy initiative in an informal settlement in Nairobi later this year”.

With thanks to John Kilburn and the Birdo and Koopa teams from the BA(hons) illustration course at the University of Plymouth. Click here for more information about the illustration course.