It has been hard for us to imagine what it must be like to be living in Sierra Leone at the time of the Ebola epidemic. It’s been even harder to imagine what it has been like for the children. What we have heard is that children are facing many challenges linked to emotional and social upheaval. And that in communities there is fear, stigma, jealousy and mistrust. But where there are children there is also enthusiasm, playfulness, friendship, love and joy.
With the help of colleagues in Sierra Leone, Children For Health is implemented a pilot project to support people who work with children. We called these Children’s Champions. They are teachers, youth workers, social workers and others running children’s clubs (like faith groups).
In October 2014, we were asked by several close colleagues – to help create child friendly messages, ideas and activities that develop children’s knowledge and skills to make sense of the impact of Ebola, at home, with friends and in their community. People loved what we did and encouraged us to develop and test more content and make it more widely available by using the mobile phone.
In April 2015, we launched our Safe, Strong and Smiling Mobile Website.
The content provided Children’s Champions with step by step guidance on ways to find out what children themselves are thinking and feeling about a range of topics – not just Ebola but on other health issues too. It includes: topics linked to life skills, childcare and feeling safe, as well as key messages, images, ideas for clapping games, role-plays, quizzes, songs and games. The idea is for children to learn, have fun with and share these with other children – their friends and younger siblings.
We delivered the Safe, Strong and Smiling! content using the mobile phone and in school health clubs.
We built monitoring and evaluation tools into the content to help us with the testing. We tested it over several months – getting feedback in real time.
Please contact Children for Health for a copy of our case study.
Unfortunately, as of September 2019, the mobisite is no longer online. However, there are still some other resources available in our shop. If you’d like to know more about this project, contact Clare.