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Solving Schistosomiasis and Food, Water, and Energy Shortages in Africa

Food, water, and energy shortages and infectious diseases torment marginalized populations in the developing world. By removing aquatic vegetation from water access points, we can increase open water access needed by villagers and reduce schistosomiasis, a neglected tropical disease caused by snails with >1/10th of the global population at risk. Converting this vegetation to compost or livestock feed could significantly increase food production, and using it as fuel in biodigesters could offer both fertilizer and cooking gas. Thus, a single intervention has enormous potential to simultaneously and sustainably address food, water, and energy shortages and a rampant infectious disease. To scale this solution in West and East Africa, we propose to use satellite imagery to map locations of this vegetation, machine learning to geographically target this intervention, and cell phone alert systems. There is also potential to mechanize vegetation removal and scale throughout Africa, Southeast Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

View our factsheet here or see our video below.

Read more about this research project, featured in Notre Dame magazine!