So far we are in week seven of our ICS placement and a lot has happened. Everybody is sad as the placement is coming to an end and we have had a good time together as a team.

We have enjoyed working on the programmes of our partner organisation, like climate change, food security, youth development and not forgetting HIV and AIDS, where we have been conducting meetings with AIDS Support Groups. We learn and share tips on how to live a positive life, something everyone loves. 

Perhaps I did not say it, we have had a good time too on learning sessions, where different topics have been shared. The first one was on the Millennium Development Goals, understanding global poverty, HIV and AIDS, Early Childhood Development and above all the Ebola virus. 

The team had the idea to share with the community about the Ebola virus, with the AIDS Support Groups, and also update people on what the Malawi government is doing about it, considering the difficulties people have in rural areas with access to information.

Ellie interacts with locals at one of the group meetings 

Ellie Hinde, 20, a second year Biology undergraduate student at Oxford University, prepared a session on Ebola and this is what she had to say about why she thinks it was important to have learning sessions on Ebola:

“Everyone had heard about Ebola but weren’t aware of the real facts and figures. I thought it was important to educate people on Ebola properly to prevent scare mongering and the spreading of rumors. It is good to know something as topical and then people will be better prepared to deal with the problem if it was to face us here in Malawi. I felt it was important to give a learning session on the epidemiology, virology, host species, preventative measures and cures, as well as the other facts concerning Ebola such as its potential as a biological weapon, its impacts on conservation and biodiversity and economic impacts on a small and large scale. I used the 2014 outbreak as a case study. I hope everyone learnt a lot and enjoyed the session”, says Ellie who loves going out with friends and playing sports.

The World Health Organization has declared Ebola a global concern following the recent deaths of over 2000 people in West Africa. There have been no cases of death in Southern Africa where Malawi lies, but the country has some level of checks and preparedness. 

Written by ICS national volunteer Joackim Nthala