Explain what malaria is and where it is common.
Leaders should emphasise that malaria is unlike any common childhood illness in that it never goes away completely even between bouts, there is no immunity following an attack and it needs treatment which many families cannot afford. Cubs may have an idea of what a map of the world looks like and can be shown how wide the malaria belt is.
Each six to prepare a presentation.
This can take any form that the Cubs choose. They can make a collage or present a talk about malaria to other sixes, Beavers, parents or at the group AGM or any other suitable audience. The preparation can be done during a meeting or it could be a six project during the school holidays. There are plenty of images available on the internet such as at Images for the Life Cycle of a Mosquito. The following document describes the life cycle of the mosquito Mosquito life cycle
Discuss how it feels to be under the weather or a bit ill all the time. It could be likened to having a permanent cold or mild flu or always being totally tired. This is how sufferers can feel between bouts. Number the Cubs 1 – 4 and then throughout the pack meeting occasionally call out a number and all the Cubs with that number must stop whatever they are doing and have a little rest. What does it feel like for them to miss out on bits of games or activities? What is it like when only 75% of the pack can do anything at any one time? How would this affect their life or education?
The symptoms of a bout of malaria can be found online Malaria Symptoms NHS or a medically qualified speaker might visit to explain them. The cubs must be helped to understand that there is no NHS in these countries. Get the Cubs to talk about how it might feel to be so ill in a mud hut with few or none of the facilities that they take for granted in this country. They could draw someone suffering from a bout of malaria in such conditions.
Illustrate spread of malaria. One person is the already infected sufferer. One person is a mosquito. Three people hold hands and have to catch the mosquito. The rest of the colony waits to be “bitten”. The mosquito “bites” (ie touches) the sufferer and must then touch as many other people as they can before the threesome (ie anti-mosquito measures) can stop him from moving and touching the people. How many did the mosquito manage to touch before he was caught when the people were moving about? How many did he touch when they were all pretending to be asleep and not moving about? Alternatively see how many the mosquito can “bite” in a short given time, again when they are moving and when they are asleep.
Importance of clean running water.
Cubs could produce a display of pictures of mosquitoes showing how they breed in water. There are two aspects to this one. Obviously people need clean water to drink and there is scope here for discussions and activities about health and water cleanliness. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant water. Unfortunately very few people in the third world have piped water to their homes or even villages and they have to rely on horrible muddy puddles for their water. These are breeding grounds for mosquitoes, but children fetching water have to go to them. It is usually the children’s job to fetch the family’s water.
Show the Cubs a mosquito net and let them work out what it is. Refer them to the mosquito game, if they need a clue, where more sleeping people were infected than people who were awake and moving. Point out that African houses do not always have glazed windows and a hole in the wall does not keep mosquitoes out. What ideas can the Cubs have as to how to use a net? Details of how to erect a malaria net can be found here
Raise money for a net.
Pack concert. bring & buy, sponsored event, etc. You can have fun with this one and let them come up with ideas.
Scouting in Uganda/sub-Saharan Africa.
There are several UK Scout counties with links to Scouts in African countries and many young people have visited Scouts in these countries. They would be willing to come and talk to the pack about their experiences in the country and the Scouts they have met there. Alternatively the ADC(I) or ACC(I) might come and talk to the colony or the leader could find out more about Scouting in the target country and then tell the Cubs.