|Rwanda Village Concept Project|
The Rwanda Village Concept Project (RVCP) is a multidisciplinary project run by students of both different disciplines and different nationalities in close cooperation with local communities in Butare. Its main goal is the improvement of living conditions in underprivileged communities through increased self-reliance and responsibility, as well as establishment of sustainable development initiatives and resource management.
The RVCP follows an inter-sectorial approach. There are currently six microprojects operating. Though this document comes from the Malaria Micro Project, we work alongside and in cooperation with a number of other projects:
· Anti-Malaria Micro Project
· HIV/AIDS Awareness Micro Project
· Hygiene Promotion Micro Project
· Pyramid Micro Project
· Income generation Micro Project
· RVCP Initiatives
The Malaria Micro Project
Goal: The Microproject aims to improve the health conditions of the target community by prevention and by reducing the prevalence of malaria. The project also intend to improve access to prompt treatment.
This will be achieved by educating target communities, by strengthening Information, Education, and Communication activities (IECs) at all level, by improving access to preventive measures as well as promote the use of Long Lasting Treated Nets (LLTNs), and by environment management programs.
Ø Education of the community on malaria prevention and treatment(Home based management of fever)
Ø Promote the use of Treated bed nets in rural areas.
Ø Promote health insurance in the community as solution to treatment problems
Ø Promote environmental management programs
Ø Encourage people to take care of vulnerable people(Children, Pregnant women, the elderly and people living with HIV/AIDS,etc.)
Partly as a result of RVCP’s activities, the incidence of malaria has decreased from 6% to 3% in the target communities, during the period 2000-2006. In addition, the usage rate of preventative nets has increased from 0.50% to 83% during the same period (see Figure 2 in Appendix I for a graph demonstrating this and other achievements). The participants have gained a profound understanding of causes, symptoms and transmission of malaria. This will lead to their acknowledgement of the importance of preventive measures and prompt treatment. The RVCP emphasizes a hands-on approach by subsidizing ITNs and by enabling the people to conduct environmental changes.
Section B: Current activities
The Malaria Micro Project bases its work around 3 core activities:
Ø Interactive teaching sessions for adult communities
Ø Interactive teaching sessions for youth
Ø Subsidised mosquito net distribution to vulnerable persons
Adult Community sessions
RVCP work to provide interactive teaching sessions during which the participants are able to discuss the problems and give their contributions. This is done during a two-hour session per village, run by RVCP students in the villages and arranged in cooperation with the local leaders. In total, 18 sessions are conducted during the period of June until October : 6 in Nyakagezi, 6 Sessions were held in Nyakagezi, covering all 13 villages during the Umuganda (community work) sessions, whilst in the other sub-sectors there were 4. Around 60 participants attend per session. If needed, more sessions will be organized and special sessions for women and for youth will be conducted in order to ensure the transmission and the comprehension of the information.
Each session covers the following topics: causes of malaria, signs and symptoms of malaria, breeding sites and habitat of the anopheles mosquito, environmental management, use of ITNs in malaria prevention, and the role of health insurance in paying for treatment. During the session, there will be demonstrations of how to use and maintain ITNs.
Leaflets are given out after each session to remind participants of the information covered.
Primary School sessions
RVCP conduct a series of four interactive teaching sessions per class in four primary schools in each of the target four sub-sectors. These sessions follow four key principles as dictated by UNESCO/FRESH on the subject of malaria education: (1) recognizing/understanding; (2) studying; (3) acting upon this information; and (4) evaluation and consolidation. Guidelines from UNESCO/FRESH (Focus on Resources for Effective School Health) have been updated and developed further to suit the nature of the sessions. The lessons have been designed in an interactive manner to enhance the children’s learning. To educate the wider community the children are given homework to discuss with their families, in the hope that the family will also develop their awareness and knowledge of the topics taught in the classroom. The final session in particular is a field-work session to a household equipped with sufficient prevention measures against malaria, with the aim of enhancing knowledge through practical application.
Through these sessions the basic fundamentals about malaria are covered, including the malaria cycle, treatment of the disease as well as methods of prevention. In addition, a strong emphasis is placed upon a number of key messages, as detailed below:
Malaria is transmitted through mosquito bites. Sleeping under a mosquito net treated with a recommended insecticide is the best way to prevent mosquito bites.
Wherever malaria is common, children are in danger. A child with a fever should be examined immediately by a trained health worker and receive an appropriate antimalarial treatment as soon as possible.
Malaria is very dangerous for pregnant women. Wherever malaria is common, pregnant women should prevent malaria by taking antimalarial tablets recommended by a health worker.
Families and communities can prevent malaria by taking action to stop mosquitoes from breeding.
Finally, RVCP displays a poster in the classroom on completion of teaching sessions, reinforcing the knowledge given, maintaining a high level of awareness about malaria and also providing continuing information about the disease and its treatment.
Subsidised Insecticide-treated Net (ITN) DistributionRVCP’s focus is to educate and thus promote the implementation of prevention strategies by the villagers themselves, however due to a lack of income amongst a high proportion of the villagers this is largely unfeasible. Thus, RVCP identifies those in the target community that are deemed the most vulnerable (by the community itself), and distributes these nets at a subsidized rate.
Since the micro project began, more than 650 nets have been distributed amongst the target communities.
Challenges and Limitations
Funding - The funding of the malaria Micro project as it stands is provided entirely by Bristol Volunteers for Development Abroad (BVDA), a student-run organisation from the UK. A partnership has existed between RVCP and BVDA since 2003, with BVDA providing volunteers and funding from July until August.
Although BVDA provides funding, as a student-run organisation its fundraising capacity is limited, meaning the duration and range of RVCP’s activities are restricted to the summer months. With additional funding, specifically for the malaria Micro Project, RVCP could scale up their distribution of insecticide-treated nets (ITNs), increase the coverage of activities throughout more sub-sectors, as well as increasing the number of months during which educational sessions are conducted.
Furthermore, RVCP is limited in general by a lack of adequate facilities and materials, for example adult community sessions for malaria are conducted on a hillside, a lack of training for students participating in RVCP, whilst the expectations of RVCP and its activities among the target communities in the villages often exceeds the students’ abilities and availability.
Logistics – The adult community educational sessions has faced a number of challenges, chiefly finding a suitable time during which the sessions can be conducted. At present, sessions are held following the community’s Saturday morning Umuganda (community work), which is advantageous in that a large proportion of the community are present. The arduous nature of the community work however means that the villagers are often extremely tired and thus have a shorter concentration span. Efforts to alter the time or day of the sessions have met difficulty since the villagers are highly occupied and busy persons.
Proposals for the future
To enhance the productivity of international volunteers as well as providing a more sustainable source of funds, RVCP is looking to extend its partnership with BVDA, to spread the funding available throughout the year whilst also seeking recently-graduated international volunteers, thus allowing them to be able to work for a longer period without the summer months.
The malaria Micro Project is also currently considering working in tandem with the income generation projects to allow villagers to purchase insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) and other preventative tools for themselves.
In the future years and with increased funding for the malaria Micro Project, an increased distribution of subsidised insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) among the community may be more beneficial, alongside a series of more targeted house-by-house educational sessions.
The Malaria micro project joined the End Malaria - Blue Ribbon campaign in 2007. Our educational material have been designed for that campaign.
In the nearer future, more activities will be conducted in the community using dramas, songs, poems, peaceful marches and so on.
The community will be facilitated to get prompt treatment for malaria and an emphasize will be put on people at high risk notably children under five and pregnant women.