On Monday, October 15th, Rwanda’s malaria volunteers visited the Education 4 training class at their training center in the district of Kamonyi, an hour outside the capital of Kigali. We met the 34 trainees the week after their site visits and saw them full of enthusiasm and ideas for the rest of their service. As proof of their spirit, they were not deterred by the rainstorm that nearly drowned out all the voices in the room during our lesson, thanks to the metal roof at the training center.
Before our lesson, we asked the trainees to try to gauge the perception of malaria in their communities, either at their new sites or with their host families in Kamonyi, by observing people’s practices related to, and asking their opinions on, malaria transmission and prevention. We began our presentation by asking the future volunteers to share what they had learned. A few discovered that their host family members knew that malaria was an illness caused by the bite of a mosquito. Some noted that their families had nets but never used them, and others reported that their families used their nets every night.
We gave a brief introduction to the history and global scope of malaria, and discussed the science of transmission and different areas of prevention and intervention. We introduced the trainees to PMI, Stomping Out Malaria, and Rwanda’s key initiatives. Importantly, they learned that malaria work is not just for health volunteers! At the end of the lesson, we asked the trainees to list some ways that they and other education volunteers could become invoved with malaria work at their sites. Their enthusiastic responses included doing malaria lessons during their classroom teaching time or with English clubs and labs, and getting involved with malaria activities at GLOW and BE camps and clubs.
We also provided the trainees with two guides: one to introduce them to Stomp and malaria in Rwanda, and one to help them incorporate informal malaria assessments into their first three months at site. We encouraged them to assess the burden of malaria at their sites in greater detail than they did during their site visits, to help them make informed decisions in integrating malaria into their services. At their IST, we will provide them with lesson plans and other resources specific to education volunteers. These are the first trainees in Rwanda’s education sector to receive an introduction to Stomping Out Malaria in Africa.
We are excited to expand our initiative and welcome these trainees to Stomp! They will swear in during the first week of December.