Faiths Act And Roll Back Malaria Partnership Celebrate World Malaria Day
27 Apr 2016
To celebrate World Malaria Day, our collaboration project in Sierra Leone organised a "Run to End Malaria" in one of its implementation districts, Port Loko. Below our Senior Project Manager, Adebanke Adetayo reflects on the day's activities, and how our programme helps encourage community collaboration and understanding.
Every year, our project organises an event in support of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership's efforts in Sierra Leone. We focus on encouraging collaboration to raise awareness.
66 men and women participated in the race through the town, whilst project participants carried banners and handed out leaflets about malaria prevention. Abu Albert Sesay, one of our local programme officers said "This was the first time a fun run has taken place in Port Loko, and the public appreciated being involved. People emerged from their homes to see the race and the parade and we had over 400 people at the event – bike riders, market women and school children, listening to our messages".
The Red Cross Society kindly provided support through health volunteers, local authorities, and school physical education leaders, to ensure security during the event, and the District Health Management Team (DHMT) encouraged the public to adopt and sustain pro-health practices.
The President of the Inter-Religious Council of Sierra Leone, Sheikh Conteh, told the crowd, "Some of your brothers and sisters cannot run like you because they are sick with malaria. I encourage you all to ambassadors for this campaign and spread the good news to your family and your community".
Members of the DHMT joined a talk show at a popular community radio station to talk about key malaria messages, focusing on vulnerable people within the community. We have found that radio is the most trusted source of information in Sierra Leone. By engaging religious leaders to work alongside health workers to spread practical life saving messages to their communities, we can encourage collaborative approaches that enable those communities to protect themselves from disease.
Annette Aguila, who manages the project in Sierra Leone, commented that one of the biggest successes of this year's celebration was "how well the local partners and organisations came together to support one another around the cause. Their presence showed the power of partnership, as we were able to reach many more people with our key messages, both at the event and through the media".
If you would like to find out more about how we support collaboration between community groups, please visit our webpages.