ELCA Malaria Campaign

Make Malaria History

Youth educate others through song and dance

Posted on September 17, 2013 by jessicanipp

The best way to learn… is to teach!

Average student retention rates are much better when they are able to learn in a participatory way. Lutheran malaria programs in Africa encourage participatory learning!

Average knowledge retention rates among students are much better when they are able to learn in a participatory way. Lutheran malaria programs in Africa encourage participatory learning!

Research has proven that participatory learning brings better results than passive learning.  If you hear a lecture about a subject, you retain about 5% of the content, on average.  (Hmm… not so great.)  If the teacher uses audio visuals or a demonstration, then the rate of retention goes up to about 25%. (Getting better.) If you participate in a discussion group or are able to physically do the thing you’re learning about, retention rates exceed 50%. (Pretty respectable!) And–best of all– if you teach others what you have learned, you tend to remember 90% of the subject matter! (Now that’s learning!)

Malaria programs supported by the ELCA Malaria Campaign use a variety of teaching methods to ensure that community members are able to learn and internalize important information about malaria. In many places, children and young people are among the most important teachers.

In Burure, Zimbabwe, there’s an elementary school that educates 1,000 students.  The Lutheran Malaria Program in Zimbabwe has done a great job of educating schoolchildren about the causes and transmission of malaria, what to do when symptoms arise, and how to keep themselves and their families safe. And now the students are ready to be leaders!

Below are two videos from Burure, Zimbabwe, showcasing students who have learned this material so well that they are able to teach others.

In the first video, we meet a girl in the fifth grade at the Burure elementary school.  She presents a poignant poem about malaria, written by her class. Watch the video here (or on our YouTube station):


The words shared by this student:

I am in Grade 5A.  I am here to present our poem about malaria:

North and South, East and West
Everywhere you go
People all cry, “Malaria, malaria, malaria”

Yesterday it was my brother
Today it is my sister
People are suffering everywhere…
Malaria, malaria, malaria

Headaches and vomiting
Fevers everywhere;
People are suffering from it
Malaria, malaria, malaria

Here is a second video depicting students from the elementary school in Burure. These students have written and choreographed songs to educate their families and their community about the dangers of malaria, and what they can do about it. Watch the video here (or on our YouTube channel):


Both in Africa and across the ELCA, youth are taking leadership.  I am proud to belong to a national church and a global church with such strong young leaders.

(Many thanks to Pastor Steve Herder of Ascension Lutheran Church in Thousand Oaks, CA for sharing these videos with us!)

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