Weekly Awesome Tanzania: Malaria Games

Malaria’s no fun but learning about it can be fun.  Several volunteers in Tanzania have adapted some popular children’s games to be malaria themed.  Classics like “Simon Says”, “Sharks and Minnows”, and “Zip, Zap, Zop” can be easily converted to energizers and learning games at girls’ conferences, environment/health club meetings, or in the classroom.

Athena McAlarney is a Secondary Education Peace Corps Volunteer and has used the games in her classroom.  She explains that the games are great learning tools because, “making education fun motivates the students to learn. I’ve found that the students play the games at home. Where they are teaching their parents and other children who are not in school the symptoms of malaria and the importance of the preventative actions they can take; along with fighting against the myths and misconceptions that the community believes.”

[heading style=”1″]Simon Says — (Annie) Anopheles Says[/heading]

At a secondary school in Mpwapwa, Dodoma, English teacher Athena McAlarney plays “Annie Anopheles Says” with her English students.  She substitutes the traditional “touch your nose, jump, hands on your hips” with actions about symptoms, prevention and treatment of malaria.

Directions: One person is Anopheles.  S/he starts a sentence with “Anopheles says” and does a malarial action which the group has to mimic.  If Anopheles doesn’t start the sentence with “Anopheles says” any of the group who followed the direction is out and has to sit down.  The last one standing wins.

Malarial actions:  chandarua (LLIN), dawa (medicine), mbu (mosquito), dengedenge (convulsions), homa (fever), tapika (vomitting), etc.

[heading style=”1″]Sharks and Minnows — Mbu na Vyandarua — Mosquitoes and Bed Nets[/heading]

Wednesday’s Weekly Awesome team, Stephanie Gaffney and Mathayo Msosa, prepared their students for a discussion about malaria with a couple rounds of Mbu na Vyandarua.  This game was a good energizer warming the students up for the discussion about LLIN use that followed.

Directions: Start with a few players as mosquitoes in the middle and the rest lined up on one side of a field.  The ends of the field are the safe spots under the mosquito nets.  Players run to the other end of the field and if the ‘mosquitoes’ tag them they become mosquitoes in the middle.  Play until everyone is a mosquito.

[heading style=”1″]Zip, Zap, Zop — Chandarua, Dawa, Pima — LLIN, Bug Spray, Test[/heading]

Directions: Participants stand in a circle.  Facilitator demonstrates the action for each phrase: LLIN, Bug Spray, Test.  Facilitator initiates game by clapping their hands to gather in the form of an arrow while shouting one of the three phrases and points it at any participant in the circle.  The participants on either side of the person chosen has to do the action of the word shouted by the facilitator while the person in the middle reacts to the shapes being formed around them (example-facilitator shouts “test”- 2 participants on either side pretend to be doctors while participant in the middle pretends to be tested for malaria).  As participants become comfortable with the phrases and actions, speed the game up and eliminate those who can not keep up.

PCV Nicole Sherman has used Chandarua, Dawa, Pima with primary school students and as an energizer in a training of trainers with adults.  She concludes, “It’s a great game to use as an energizer for all ages.”

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