Camino Verde’s brigades in Guerrero

A Costa Grande brigadista sets up a mosquito piñata for a community celebration

In both Mexico and Nicaragua, the key players in the intervention are the Camino Verde brigades (brigadas). Their organisational and working methods differ slightly in each country. 

In each community, we selected 4 to 6 brigadistas. In order to foster a balanced participation from different groups, we sought to include two young adults, two adults older than 50 years and two schoolchildren aged 9 to 12; we also tried to make sure at least half the brigadistas were women. We recruited some brigadistas from among those individuals who accompanied interviewers and entomological monitors during the baseline survey. Others were suggested by community leaders or during neighbourhood meetings. In all cases, we looked for people who are residents of the immediate community and well-accepted by their neighbours.

Brigades at work

The brigades are the catalysts for the SEPA dynamic in their communities. They are the ones who foster motivation through evidence-based communication and discussion. This is essential to achieve a sustainable impact beyond the time limit of the Camino Verde project.

In this context, the brigadistas took charge of delivering the results of the saliva sample tests to each household, a first contact that also allowed them to become better known in households where they were not already known. Gaining the households’ trust is probably the greatest challenge the brigadistas faced.

The facilitators act as the link between the central CIET staff and the brigadistas. These facilitators initially trained the brigadistas on the mosquito’s biological cycle and the dengue fever transmission cycle, with the aim of having all of them communicating the same information. Another step in the training was the sharing and discussion of the baseline evidence in households and focus groups.

As the brigadistas gain confidence in themselves and their work their role becomes primary and that of the facilitators secondary.