The MOSAIC project, led by Emmanuel Roux (UMR Espace-Dev), was recently awarded funding from the European Union's "Horizon Europe" framework program for research and innovation (2021-2027). It aims to promote the health of local cross-border populations in East Africa (Kenya) and the Amazon (Brazil) by co-producing data and knowledge on the environment, environmental changes and their impacts on health.

In a recent interview, Emmanuel Roux shared with us the details of this project, which involves fifteen partners. Interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral, MOSAIC aims to create a data ecosystem to inform and involve local communities.

In the Amazon, deforestation can expose human populations to pathogen reservoirs and/or vectors, generating a risk of infectious disease transmission.

© IRD - Antoine Boyrie and Anne-Elisabeth Laque

What are the challenges of this project?

The aim of MOSAIC is to contribute to promoting the health of local populations in East Africa and the Amazon by co-producing data on the environment, environmental changes and their impact on health. The aim is to initiate a virtuous circle in which better-informed communities can develop adaptation and mitigation responses to become potentially less vulnerable to these environmental changes.

The African Conservation Center (ACC) field team is monitoring vegetation in community conservation areas in southern Kenya.

© David Western, African Conservation Centre

Who are the partners and how do you co-construct with them?

This project came about as part of The Future Of One Health program, a collaboration between IRD and the company SoScience as part of the activities of IRD's "One Health" Community of Knowledge (CoSav). This program has led to some wonderful scientific and human encounters, notably with the African Conservation Center (ACC), an NGO focused on wildlife conservation in Kenya, and one of MOSAIC's main partners.

In addition to the ACC, we have 13 partners, with different implications, who enable us to effectively implement an interdisciplinary approach. They include the International Platform for Science, Technology and Innovation in Health (PICTIS), of which the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) is a member. Fiocruz is a Brazilian public institute attached to the Ministry of Health, with which we have had an ongoing partnership for several years, notably as co-director of the Sentinela International Mixed Laboratory (LMI). We also have a history of cooperation with other consortium partners in France (Université d'Artois, Aix Marseille Université, INRAE, CIRAD, Université de Perpignan), French Guiana (Institut Pasteur de la Guyane, Centre hospitalier de Cayenne), Brazil (University of Brasília) and Colombia (National University of Colombia), as part of the Sentinela LMI and its research activities on the international borders of the Brazilian Amazon. The partnership with the University of Warsaw will enable the development of data infrastructures and software to truly create a data ecosystem that will serve all the stakeholders in this project. Other partners (University of Lisbon, Pan-American Health Organization) complement the consortium's expertise in public health and policy issues. Our approach is to co-construct the project with the partners, with strong involvement of local communities.

Test "Moustic'où?", a fun board game to learn about mosquitoes, their habitats, associated risks and appropriate preventive measures.

© IRD - Emmanuel Roux and @Fiocruz

What knowledge does your team draw on?

We draw on our existing partnerships in Brazil and Kenya, as well as previous projects related to environmental and health monitoring on the international borders of the Brazilian Amazon. The project team uses participatory approaches to gather data and knowledge from local stakeholders, including local communities. Our previous scientific knowledge of the impacts of environmental change on health has also guided the construction of the project.

Involving local communities in the production and dissemination of data and knowledge is part of the participatory approach that the MOSAIC project aims to reinforce.

© David Western, African Conservation Centre

What are the expected results of MOSAIC?

Concrete results include the creation of a data ecosystem to collect, analyze and share environmental and health information. It also aims to involve local communities in this collection, in the construction of indicators that integrate data from other environmental, epidemiological and other monitoring systems, and in the dissemination of data and knowledge. We also aim to build the capacity of all project researchers to implement participatory approaches with local communities, in order to truly engage the latter in all phases of the project. In the long term, we hope to strengthen the capacity of local communities to participate in the debate on health and the environment at local, national and international levels, and to contribute to finding appropriate, acceptable and sustainable mitigation and adaptation solutions.

The livelihoods of the Maasai people of Kenya and Tanzania are largely based on the milk and meat produced by their livestock.

© David Western, African Conservation Centre

How does your research contribute to the science of sustainability?

Our cross-sectoral approach, centered on co-construction with decision-making bodies and local communities, aims to create solutions, based on scientific and community knowledge, that are acceptable and sustainable. By applying the principles of open science, and considering all the dimensions of the system (human, animal and ecosystem health, according to a One Health approach), we seek to change the practices of the various stakeholders in order to initiate a virtuous circle for health and the environment. MOSAIC is an ambitious project that promotes environmental sustainability and the health of local populations.

Contact science : Emmanuel Roux, IRD, Espace-Dev

Contacts communication : Baptiste Pellegrinetti, Julie Sansoulet