Kolda Peace Corps Volunteer Throw a Malaria "Block Party"

By Jordan Weinstein and Lexi Merrick
May 8, 2015
Malaria Block Party
Peace Corps Response Volunteer and Malaria Initiative Coordinator Jensen draws mosquitoes with a young visitor.

The words "malaria" and "party" are not often found in the same sentence, but as Peace Corps Africa's Malaria Month draws to a close, Peace Corps Volunteers in the Kolda region went out with a bang by hosting a neighborhood malaria block party outside the regional house in the city of Kolda.  Health volunteer Randi organized the event, with the assistance of fellow health volunteers Nathan and Lexi.  She explained that she got the idea because, though volunteers have maintained the regional house in the Sikilo neighborhood for many years, there has been very little engagement of the people in the surrounding area.  With this event, she saw an opportunity to not only make Peace Corps visible to the community, but also collaborate with a local partner (the Red Cross) and disseminate information about malaria.

Malaria Block Party
A young boy drawing someone sleeping under a bed net.

Under a tent in front of the house, volunteers set up a sound system to play educational radio programs.  There were also stations for coloring, face painting, and bed net beautification and repair.  Volunteers also led a game of Bed Net Ball and handed out malaria fact sheets to passersby.  The centerpiece of the event was a malaria "promise banner," which visitors signed and pledged to take an active part in eliminating malaria in their community.

By the end of the day, 23 men, 19 women, and 60 children came and went, walking away that much more aware of the Peace Corps and preventing malaria.


Malaria Block Party
"The fight against malaria." By the end of the day, the banner was covered with names of people pledging to help eliminate malaria in rural village of the Kolda region..
Malaria Block Party
Making the pledge at a young age.
Malaria Block Party
Child draws picture of mosquito. Photo by Peace Corps Volunteer Leader Jordan
Malaria Block Party
One visitor poses with his anti-malaria drawing.
Malaria Block Party
Local Red Cross worker Moustapha Baldé manned the sound system, alternating music with Peace Corps Volunteer-produced radio shows educating about malaria.
Malaria Block Party
Agroforestry Volunteer Stephanie uses fabric scraps to beautify and reinforce mosquito nets.
Malaria Block Party
Health Volunteers Nathan and Lexi lead a game of "Bed Net Ball." The game builds teamwork while teaching about malaria. The ball is the mosquito, the fabric is the net, and the players have to flip the ball into the air and get under the net before the ball hits the ground.
Malaria Block Party
Health Volunteer Nathan models some of Lauren's work – a freshly slapped mosquito.
Malaria Block Party
Urban Agriculture Volunteer Lauren was a huge hit at the face painting table.

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