Sierra Leone is one of the poorest countries in the world. More than half the population lives on less than a dollar a day, and three quarters on less than two dollars. Quality of life has improved dramatically since the end of its civil war in 2002, but the legacy of that war continues to impact heavily.
In September 2012, an outbreak of cholera, a disease linked to disadvantage and poor infrastructure, claimed the lives of hundreds, while ever ongoing is the risk to life from other diarrhoeal diseases linked to water and sanitation. For children and families in Sierra Leone, it’s crucial that effective awareness campaigns are available so that people are informed around hygienic behaviours.
That’s why we’re partnering with some of the major NGOs working in the country with an exciting, creative and fun approach to inspiring children to keep healthy.
We know that in Haiti, where our Amazing Machine programme was initiated, there have been significant changes to people’s motivation to drink only treated water, to wash hands with soap at crucial times, and towards use of latrines, bearing in mind the considerable efforts required because of lack of resources and infrastructure. Our partners in Solino, for example, a particularly vulnerable district of the capital Port-au-Prince, report very tangible changes in the healthy behaviours of children and families exposed to the programme.
Children in many parts of Sierra Leone’s capitial Freetown face similar challenges, challenges linked to life or death.
No Strings is now gearing up for a Freetown workshop in early autumn, introducing our film and accompanying puppetry methodology, where children use different puppet characters to act out the story of how disease spreads, and in doing so, learn from themselves and each other.