Alicia da Rauda volunteers with the Salvadorian Red Cross on the Zika Operation. She has been part of the project’s team of volunteers since day one and has actively participated in community activities and campaigns.
During the first phase of the Operation, it was difficult to engage the communities. The participating communities in Soyapango and Ilopango face economic, social and violence issues on a daily basis. This generates fears and mistrust, especially in receiving information from outside actors. But building a relationship with beneficiaries and alternative ways of sharing information, like songs and participatory activities helped to break the ice.
“When we first went into communities, they were dirty and had many mosquito breeding sites. Today, we go back and a lot has changed – there is real awareness about prevention. I think the project goes past responding to the Zika outbreak, it’s a way to bring the community together, give it the resources it needs to live better.” – says Alicia.
Alicia told us that sharing her personal story with the community helped her build a bond with participants. “For me, working on the Zika hits very close to home. My father had complications associated with Chikungunya and passed away a few years back. Sharing the information and teaching communities how to prevent the spread of the Zika virus is a way for me to help others and ensure that they don’t have to live the same experience as my family had.”
Throughout the Operation, the Salvadorian Red Cross has carried out educational and awareness campaigns on eliminating breeding sites and vectors, cleaning and maintenance techniques, as well as the prevention of vector and sexual transmission of the virus.