Leyla Romero, Facilitator

Leyla Romero (centre, in gray) with her SEPA brigade at a Managua fair.

In one of our neighbourhoods, the most important change has been the leadership’s empowerment, since participating organisations include the Citizen Power Council, the Sandinista Youth, the local Government and Adulto Mayor (Elderly Adults), among others.

The time and love that they have invested in this effort have changed the minds of each leader, from their households to their neighbourhoods. Switching from using repellents to learning about the vector mosquito’s life cycle, even switching from larvicide and fumigation to an informed dialogue, have turned these leaders into brigadistas who have come together for their community’s sake to wipe out the Aedes aegypti, and their priority is to become informed and to inform all those who don’t know how mosquitoes breed.

In another neighbourhood, the most important change has been the households’ recognition of the SEPA brigades, since we not only managed to decrease positivity, but we also broke the ice in households to which we didn’t have access during our first visits. Without question, the participation of children and youth who joined our cause was a great help. But the merits of the adult leaders should also be acknowledged, because in their effort to keep the brigade going they recognised the need for children and youth to participate.

Each day, I’m surprised by each person’s capacities, especially those of children. Their participation is vital for a brigade, since their power to persuade households is so magical that I’m still impressed by it. Their ability to grasp everything and store it in their little heads, and then communicate it to households is beautiful, an incomparable experience, one that can’t be given up for anything.