In Pictures - Students are Agents of Change When It Comes to Fighting Zika

May 17, 2017 - Chinandega, Nicaragua. The Nicaraguan Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies, in partnership with Save the Children, with accompaniment from the local Ministry of Health, and thanks to the generous support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) implemented a pilot activity for Zika prevention with school children in Chinandega Nicaragua. Participants included 20 students from the Tomas Ruiz Institute Romero, school teachers and supervisors, while volunteers from the Chinandega Red Cross branch led the activity. The main goal of this intervention is to share knowledge and build capacity among students on vector control of the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitos to prevent their breeding sites and thus the spread of the Zika virus.  


Step 1: The first step in this activity is to capacity building among volunteers, who then share their knowledge with students and communities. During the session, volunteers receive training on key messages for Zika virus prevention and learn how to lead activities for mosquito breeding sites identification and mapping. 


Step 2: Next, the volunteers take the lead. They provide students with information about the Zika virus in an interactive way by screening an animated video with key messages, and then teach students how to prevent and eliminate mosquito breeding sites. 


Step 3: One of the main strategies of this pilot activity is learning by doing. For this, volunteers break students up in groups and lead them on a walk around the school grounds to find mosquito breeding sites and potential areas that could facilitate new breeding sites. 


During the walk, students are encouraged to cover some of the containers right away to prevent mosquitos from depositing their eggs, while they also take note of other sites to be monitored regularly. 


Step 4: After they have completed their walk, students create a map of the school and the potential or existing mosquito breeding sites. Here, they mark sites in green, yellow and red to note how urgent it is to address the specific site. 


Step 5: Finally, a student from each group presents the group’s findings to make sure that everyone understands the concepts learnt. Now, they are able to take the lead in preventing mosquito breeding sites at their schools and share their knowledge in their homes and communities. 


Step 6: Last but not least, the Red Cross gets a chance to learn as well. We get feedback from volunteers, students and participants on the activity, what went well and what could be improved. This helps us constantly improve the interventions. 


The activity is implemented within the framework of the Community Action on Zika (CAZ) project. It has been possible thanks to the support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development, and was carried out in partnership with Save the Children.