Guerrero communities:  dialogue and motivation

Left: A brigadista paints a dengue-themed mural on a wall in an urban Acapulco community. Right: brigadistas and community members remove discarded tires from an empty lot in a rural community

Aside from the household visits and discussion groups, SEPA brigadistas carry out various communication and motivation activities in their communities, with the aim of fostering evidence-based mobilisation to control the Ae. aegypti mosquito and prevent dengue fever. All of these activities were suggested by the community, particularly in discussion groups that dealt with evidence from the baseline survey.

Among other activities, brigadistas hold information meetings with different population subgroups, women, men, teachers and children.

The approach to teachers and children is through the schools. Evidence is socialised among children in primary schools and kindergartens. In these cases, we use specific resources, such as piñata parties, drawing and painting sessions, crossword  and jigsaw puzzles and raffles.

Brigadistas also use other means of communications that are popular in the communities, such as puppet theatre, street theatre (locally known as sociodrama), songs, murals, graffiti, quilts, pamphlets and parades with children and elders.

The puppet plays, for example, were initiated by a group of brigadistas who suggested a script, recruited actors and designed the set. Some of them requested support from a theatre professor at the university, who helped them improve on their original proposal.

These activities show how the brigadistas increase their operational capacity through applied community practise, as well as how they employ their creativity to communicate using the resources available to them in the intervention sites.

Beyond specific initiatives to communicate the evidence, the brigades participate in community actions to eliminate discarded containers and clean communal spaces, such as empty lots, streets and gullies. The brigadistas also assist in managing recycling activities; this involves organising the community to gather recyclable materials, such as plastic, cardboard, aluminum and glass. The revenue from the sale of these materials is used to help schools and provide resources for the intervention itself. Other brigadistas use the recycled materials to craft items that explain the mosquito’s life cycle.