He’s may only be 20 years old, but Alusine Bangura, is of the young people helping in the fight against Ebola in Sierra Leone.
Alusine was one more than 28,000 volunteers deployed around the country between 19 and 21 September, on a three-day house-to-house information campaign. The campaign aimed to 1.5 million households with life-saving messages about this dreadful disease.
During the house-to-house visits, Alusine explains to a family in the eastern Waterloo area how Ebola is transmitted; what the symptoms are; and how to prevent it. Alusine is a natural communicator and transmits the messages with passion and credibility.
He is passionate about advocating for the rights of children. “I lost my dad when I was 13 years old. I needed to go on studying by my own means. It was not easy to pay for schooling.” Now he wants to help other children in his situation, helping them to cope with the difficulties of the life, helping the most vulnerable.
Prior to join the campaign Alusine attended a workshop about Ebola. Edmund Makiu, who is also involved in the sensitization campaign, was his trainer. He taught him about Ebola prevention and how to identify the illness. Makiu also showed him the information materials designed and printed by UNICEF to inform, educate and communicate about the deadly illness.
Altogether 200 youths in Freetown were trained during the workshop organized by UNICEF in collaboration with UNDP and the Office of National Security (ONS).
“Young people trust their peers more easily than their parents”, says Alusine. The social mobilization pillar of the Ebola Emergency Team co-chaired by UNICEF, is aware of this and knows that communication is more efficient for teenagers with the presence of other young people. This is why each group of sensitizers for the house-to-house campaign consists of a health worker, a community volunteer, a youth leader and a teacher.
Alusine is so involved in kicking out Ebola from his country that he has even produced a mini video about it. “It’s a mini clip with a song that explains how to prevent Ebola.”
In 2013 Alusine was involved in an initiative to sensitize communities on how HIV/AIDS is transmitted from mother to child:
“We reunited representatives from 12 districts of the country in his community in Freetown and we discussed with pregnant and lactating women and teenagers about how to prevent the HIV/AIDS transmission from mother to child.”
While remembering past goals, Alusine is continuing to defend the rights of his peers amidst the Ebola emergency.
He is the change he wants to see.