These ideas are for the help and support of participating leaders. They are in no way prescriptive. Indeed we should welcome your programme ideas and ask you to send them to our website.
Scouts may need to see just how wide the swathe of malaria-affected countries is on a map of the world. What do they think of when they see these countries? Possibly that they are of the third world and underdeveloped? Get them to think how difficult it must be for people who are feeling ill to help themselves.
Debilitating effect of low levels of general health.
Plot GP practices and hospitals on a fairly local map and per head of population. Try to find the same data for an African country. Ensure they understand the effects of the lack of transport and money. How do they feel when they have a cold? Life goes grey and everything becomes more difficult. How would they feel if they had to live like that permanently? It is well-known that in many parts of the third world there is no clean, hygienic drinking water. This obviously affects the general state of health among the population and lowers the resistance to infection and illness. Many people’s health is also damaged by AIDS and the drugs which some take to combat it. All these factors combine with often poor nutrition to make people tired, ill and generally less able to work hard and help themselves.
Number the Scouts 1 – 4 and then throughout the troop meeting occasionally call out a number and all the Scouts 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 troop can do anything at any one time. How would this affect their life or education?
First aid practice.
Information about attacks of malaria can be found on several websites such as Malaria Symptoms NHS. The progress of the attack should be described, but this is also a good time to revise how to look after and transport a patient. Patrols can demonstrate how they would look after a “patient” (i.e. one of their number) and the other patrols can judge them and give them feedback and points. It should be remembered that many families live some days’ walk away from medical help and/or cannot afford doctors and medicines.
The life cycle of a mosquito.
Scouts can compete to draw the nastiest correct picture of a mosquito.There are many websites and books where one can find this information. It can be presented to the troop by the leader or the PLs can research it to present to the troop.
How malaria is spread and how impregnated nets are beneficial.
Game.When people are awake they can swat insects. When they are asleep, they might toss and turn a bit, but they are unlikely to swat insects thoroughly. Houses in the third world do not always have windows. The air can get in easily and with it the mosquitoes.Reassure the Scouts that the insect bites they get at camp are not likely to give them 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” (i.e. touches) the sufferer and must then touch as many other people as they can before the threesome (i.e.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.
Identify one mosquito and one person who may or may not get “bitten”. The rest of the troop make a grid of human lines by standing with their arms out and holding hands, and the mosquito must catch the human by chasing him up and down the rows. Every so often the leader calls change and the people in the grid turn through 90 degrees to block the routes. The grid is to represent the impregnated mosquito net. (You may have noticed that this game bears a remarkable resemblance to “Cat and Mouse”.)
Give each patrol a net and let them work out how to use it. What could they hang it from if there is no ceiling? How can they tuck it under the mattress if there is no mattress? Details of how to erect a malaria net can be found here
Preventing stagnant water.
This is the opposite of the traditional “damming a stream” activity. Each patrol could discuss ways to let water flow and possibly find a place to put their ideas into practice..
Cost of nets.
This has probably been covered before, but a reminder may be useful before they start fund-raising. The problems of transporting the nets should also be discussed. The Scouts in the malarial countries can only distribute fairly locally, and the nets must be brought from the manufacturer to their area.
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 troop 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 troop, or the leader could find out more about Scouting in the target country and then tell the Scouts.