In celebration of World Malaria Month, eight Peace Corps Volunteers in the Southern Province of Rwanda completed a ten-mile Malaria Walk to spread the message of malaria prevention to nearly 1,000 school-age children.
Participants in the Walk included Community Health Volunteers Melissa Denton, Vanessa Da Costa, Grace Mullin, Tracy Abiaka, Kim Sprout, Hannah Norcini, and Colleen Berger and Education Volunteer Nancy Erickson.
Spanning three days and ten miles, the Volunteers walked between three schools (GS Gakoma, GS Mamba, GS Rwatano) and one Health Center (CS Gikonko) to teach about malaria. Along the way, students prepared a number of dramatic skits and songs to show their fellow classmates how to prevent the transmission of malaria. At GS Gakoma, students performed a skit that detailed exactly what a person should do if they suspect they have malaria. (Hint: Go see a Community Health Worker immediately.)
In addition to the student-led skits and songs, Volunteers came prepared with translated lessons to teach the children new and interesting ways to think about malaria prevention, mosquito net upkeep, and disease treatment. Incorporating games and interactive lessons into the Walk allowed the kids to stay interested and active in World Malaria Month. (All the prizes didn’t hurt, either.)
Volunteers spent the last stop of the Walk playing malaria-related games, including a malaria-related spin on Sharks and Minnows, with a cooperative of children who have been affected by HIV and/or AIDS.
By the end of the Walk, the Volunteers were exhausted but were more than happy with the turn out and potential knowledge-increase of nearly 1,000 individuals.