Sunday, July 8, 2012

Stories from the Field: Lots of Teaching, Lots of Learning

By Emily Maheux

We had many sensitizations this week in Kazigo B with four sensitization in three days.  We learned a lot about how to work with our community and approaches to teaching young kids.  We performed skits on malaria for the community with paper mosquitos hanging from sticks (thank you Kazigo A) and the community members loved it.  One of our VHT members played the role of “VHT” in the skits and surprised us all with his superb acting ability.  He stole the hearts of the crowd when he pretended to slap the paper mosquitos away.  Any community members nearby who were not already watching the skits became curious.  All fifty of the mosquito nets that we started with were sold after the sensitization. 

We held our sanitation sensitization at Kazigo Junior School on Wednesday, which went smoothly but I noticed that students started losing interest in the demonstrations and discussion on germs.  Luckily, we had another chance to capture the attention of young children on Thursday morning at Toka Primary School, the local government school, during another sanitation sensitization.  For this sensitization, we teamed up with the Kazigo A team to teach about 700 students.  With the hopes of exciting the kids, we invited all of the students to participate in a warm-up this time.  Lauren and I had all the students stand up and follow us in one of our favorite games.  Together we would clap, dance, jump, etc. and have the kids mimic our movements and repeat our declaration of whatever we were doing: “I am jumping!”, “I am twirling!” and so on.  We started slow and then got faster and faster until at the end of it all, we slowed down again with some stretches and finished with “I am sitting quietly.”  After that, we split them into groups for each activity, where we also tried to make each demonstration more interactive.  In the afternoon, when we sensitized on HIV and STIs, we had the older kids spell the word “mango” with their hips (many thanks for the warm-up, Rashad).  This was also a huge hit and the activities that followed went well also.  We had the students play a game to test their knowledge on STIs and another to show the spread of HIV.  A third group discussed the ABC prevention strategy (A – Abstinence, B – Be faithful, C – Condom use). 

We were fortunate to have a very full and fulfilling week in Kazigo.  We certainly hope our audiences learned a lot from us and undoubtedly, we have also learned a lot from them.  I have learned from this exciting week that if we want to get our message across, we must also remember to have fun in the process.

Emily is the Administrative Team Leader of Kazigo B. Her teammates include Simon-Peter (Implementation Team Leader), Daniel, Corrie, Gloria, and Lauren.

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