Ebola: To stop the virus, awareness messages on the risk of transmission need to get through to everyone.
In Sierra Leone, Handicap International plays an active role in campaigns to inform people of the ways in which the virus is transmitted and what they can do to limit the risk of contamination. To ensure everyone is well informed, Handicap International has organised the translation of the campaign’s messages into Braille and sign language and has produced an information book for children.
“If we want information to be understood by everyone, we have to adapt our messages to the people we’re targeting,” explains Bruno Leclerq, head of Handicap International’s programme in Sierra Leone.
“Each time, we need to think about the most effective ways of reaching out to them. If we display a message in a village square, for example, how are people who can’t travel, blind people, or children who don’t know how to read going to access the information? And it’s also important to think about the content of the messages we want to get across. They’ll be very different, of course, depending on who we’re targeting - children, town council employees or prostitutes, for example.”
Nearly 3,000 people (2,867) have already attended information sessions organised by Handicap International’s teams and its partners in the field. They include 1,659 adults (639 with disabilities) and 871 children (241 with disabilities). The organisation also trains volunteers - 238 to date (June 2015) - who pass on key messages to their communities in the country’s eight districts . Handicap International’s activities are designed to ensure no vulnerable group is forgotten (including people with disabilities or people living with prostitution). Representatives of these “target groups” are trained (32 to date) to pass on these messages and to reduce the risk of the virus being transmitted.