Great to see Ripple Africa acting so quickly to get their Covid-19 emergency plan into action on the ground. Fonthill have supported the vital communication element of their comprehensive plan. Why communication? The importance of this is clearly explained in this recent update from the Charity.

“There are only 25 ventilators in the whole of the country, so this awareness campaign is vital. Malawi’s medical facilities in rural areas are ordinarily over-subscribed, under-staffed and lacking in basic equipment and medicine, so creating awareness is key to help ensure peope know how they can keep themselves and their families safe.  We will reach more than 600,000 people directly through our awareness campaign. We will:

  • Print simple visual, and locally relevant, educational materials in local languages.
  • Train key Ripple Africa staff to use these, so they in turn can train key community volunteers.
  • Roll out the training programme to educate and empower Ripple Africa’s fish conservation committees, Changu Changu Moto coordinators, tree planting coordinators and lead tree farmers & sweet potato farmers. These groups will then cascade the message to other community members in their areas.
  • This will cover not only Nkhata Bay District, but the fishing communities of Nkhotakota and Salima Districts and some of the forested areas of Mzimba District.
  • One member from the five committees will attend each training session. We will also train 100 churches in the local area and provide leaflets to health facilities.
  • Provide the District Councils in Nkhata Bay and Nkhotakota Districts with leaflets for the Area and Village Development Committees.
  • Run a mobile awareness campaign using a vehicle and speakers.

Why is Ripple Africa so well placed to support the community education programme?

“We have an extensive network of conservation committees spread across the districts in which we are working.  We have over 5,000 volunteers who form our fish and forest conservation committees, we support the building work of our Changu Changu Moto fuel efficient cookstoves, and support the farmers and community groups in our tree planning and sweet potato projects. All of these volunteers have considerable experience of delivering messages around conservation to their fellow community members.  We propose that we equip them with the information and resources needed to do the same on Coronavirus. This network gives us a considerably larger geographical outreach than even the District Health Department.”

It is great to see photos of this call to action, with leaflets being sorted and distributed, and briefing sessions being held with the volunteer teams.