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Education and community engagement is integral to our mass vaccination projects

Children are at high risk of dog bites and contacting rabies. Forty percent of reported rabies cases worldwide are children under the age of fifteen. In our project areas the paediatric proportion is often even higher. Rabies most often persists in poor communities and rural regions of developing countries in Africa and Asia. If the risks are widely understood and appropriate dog bite treatment is well known – rabies is 100% preventable. The financial burden of human treatment is high, control via dog vaccination costs ten time less and protects whole communities. Mass canine vaccination will rid an area of rabies, but this takes time during which communities remain at risk – whilst we work to eliminate the disease, education helps us save lives.

The educational sessions are aimed to empower children, their teachers and their families with the knowledge to protect themselves from bites, preventing rabies and save lives. We encourage members of the public to bring their dogs for vaccination and sterilisation, and publicise our response team for humane canine rabies control.

We are creating communities who know how to protect themselves from rabies and who act to support rabies control.

  • In 2013, our vaccination teams delivered education awareness leaflets in 14 cities in India.
  • In 2014, we piloted several teaching methods to children in schools. We studied the impact on under 16’s knowledge, attitudes and behaviour over six months to guide us in developing our schools programme. We visited schools in Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand and Goa reaching over 180,000 children and 3,800 teachers.
  • In 2015, we began year-round awareness and education programmes in Goa and Jharkhand in India with permanent education officers. Alongside targeted work in schools we also delivered outreach with local communities. We also launched a new programme in Blantyre in Malawi and recruited international volunteers to support mass awareness campaigns in Malawi and Goa.

  • In 2016, we began to further our education and community engagement programmes in Malawi.  After a successful education campaign in Blantyre where we reached over 95’000 children in five weeks we commenced the education programme in Zomba district, east of Blantyre.
  • In the first half of 2017, we continue to make progress in both India and Malawi. Our education officers have already delivered life saving lessons to 777 schools in Goa,170 schools in Ranchi and our very own Dr Murugan delivered a 10-day education programme in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, educating 15,010 children, 561 teachers and 131 community leaders. In Malawi, our teams have expanded their work to include workshops in health clinics alongside their awareness campaigns in schools.

 

    To date our ‘Rabies Prevention’ education programme has reached:

 

 
CHILDREN
TEACHERS
COMMUNITY

India

Updated Oct 2017

691,797

26,120

125,864

Malawi

Updated Sep 2017

868,619

11,389

118,571

Global Total

1,560,416

37,509

244,435

 

Schools

Experienced educators deliver the ‘Rabies prevention’ lesson directly to children in their classes, and assemblies. We teach children from age five up to sixteen – focussing particularly on primary schools. Schools range from the small and hard to get to, with enrolments as low as ten children in Goa’s rural regions right up to huge urban centres of up to 10,000 children in some Blantyre schools. Our teams teach on average around 100-400 children in each hour long session, and aim to cover all children in the area working school-by-school.

The ‘Rabies prevention’ lesson teaches five key messages:

  • Rabies is serious – How the rabies virus transmits and its effect on the body.
  • How to be safe around dogs - Understanding dog behaviour for safe and friendly interaction and knowing the warning signs to prevent being bitten.
  • First aid - Life-saving steps to avoid rabies infection if bitten by a dog.
  • Community protection - Understanding the nature of how vaccination works and encouraging community action.
  • Dog population management - Promoting humane dog population control and encouraging owners and authorities to neuter dogs with help from our sister charity, the Worldwide Veterinary Service (WVS).

Our methods are simple, cost effective and replicable.   We encourage communities to recognise & report rabid dogs, care for & protect dogs with vaccination, and help bite victims get treatment through active and thought-provoking sessions.

Monitoring

For every school we visit - we record who, when, where and what we did to teach children and communities entered via Rabies App to give real time project management and mapped records of our reach. We complete community and schools studies to understand the barriers and behaviours that perpetuate human life loss to rabies, and measure how our interventions work to address these. A summary of our schools based knowledge, attitude and practice study assessing the quality of our methods and effect of our work in schools is available here. Our local team keep in touch with schools and communities to receive feedback, and give ongoing support.

Get Involved

  • Come with us as an education volunteer to teach children and help reach communities through our mass awareness drives in Malawi and India.
  • Follow our blog, Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates from the teams.
  • Help support the programme by fundraising so we can reach more schools and communities in our project areas!

 

Give £3 to teach a child and vaccinate a dog

Support our schools for just £25 per month

Could your company help us do more? Sponsor a Community Cinema, make us your Charity of the Year, or send out a team of volunteers - get in touch with carly@wvs.org.uk to learn how a partnership could benefit you.