AGA IN ACTION
FAO develops rabies education package
Education is an important element in the prevention and control of rabies. To this end, the Animal Health Service of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in collaboration with the Global Alliance for Rabies Control developed an educational package to further enhance the awareness-raising efforts on rabies and contribute to the World Rabies Day, to be celebrated on 28 September 2011.
The “Jumping Joey” education package is an activity-based, interactive tool designed for students in primary school and the first levels of secondary school to learn about rabies. It was developed for readers to learn how to safely interact with animals and about animal behavior, on how to care for animals, and how to prevent rabies. The assumption is that by teaching students, they will carry this knowledge home to their families and friends, and in turn disseminate information to the wider community. It is believed that teaching children about rabies provides a solid foundation for reducing risks of contracting rabies and thus aim for a rabies-free future.
It is easier for children to learn new information through already familiar activities. This explains why the activity sheets were designed so they can be integrated into the regular curriculum of schools. Most activities revolve around specific themes such as arts, language, math, music, science, and theatre. By incorporating “Jumping Joey” into the curriculum, rabies education will not simply be a one-time educational event, but rather a sustained effort as the information becomes disseminated throughout the country each year without the need for recurrent resources.
The education package includes activities such as crosswords, storytelling, and quizzes. These activities were crafted to be engaging and entertaining for children while imparting knowledge on rabies. Currently, there are several schools participating on an initial trial test, including schools in Ethiopia, Kenya, Sierra Leone, and South Africa.
To date, there are reports of very positive experiences coming out from schools in the Philippines and Sri Lanka for the introduction of rabies related educational information into their regular curriculums. The feedback received from schools so far involved in testing the education package will help in fine-tuning the activities. Later, the roll out of “Jumping Joey” across more schools and more regions around the world will become a long-awaited reality.