Fighting Super-bugs – A Global Movement

For almost four decades, the power of Child to Child approaches has been in their replicability and the potential to create truly global movements. Its innovative Step Approach promoting child participation was not only appropriate for engaging children but also easily adapted to address a variety of issues.

Now, with the help of Celine Woznica from Child to Child of the Americas, two grassroots institutions with long histories of implementing the CtC methodology are collaborating across the continents to tackle a global problem—microbial resistance due to antibiotic abuse. In the wake of World Antibiotic Awareness Week, we are pleased to share their story!

Representing the movement in Argentina

The Alforja

Centro Niño a Niño (Child to Child Center) in Cuenca, Ecuador was founded in 1995 by Dr. Arturo Quizphe who learned about the Child to Child methodology while taking advanced studies in pediatrics in London. Upon his return to Ecuador, he established Centro Niño a Niño as an organization dedicated to the development, implementation, and evaluation of resources promoting child health, through active child participation.

In 2010, Centro Niño a Niño was invited to join ReAct, a global movement based in Sweden to promote reasonable use of antibiotics and antibacterial agents in an effort to prevent the rise of “super-bugs,” or bacteria resistant to antibiotics.  Centro Niño a Niño’s unique addition to this movement was the perspective of working with children.

The result of their collaboration was a creative resource pack called the Alforja Educativa – the Educational Knapsack. The Alforja is a collection of beautifully illustrated activity sheets, stories, videos, and songs that create an understanding of the importance of the invisible world of microbes to our health and the health of our planet.

Children's health

The Educational Knapsack

After a phase of local testing, the Alforja was rolled out in 2016 with a workshop coordinated by Silvina Alessio of Centro Nino a Nino and Celine Woznica, Director of Child to Child of the Americas. The initial trainees were teachers who incorporated the Alforja into their school curriculum. Follow-up evaluation indicated that the Alforja was effective in conveying the important message that antibiotic abuse affects the healthy microbes needed by our body and world.

Following the success of the 2016 workshop, another training in Child to Child methodology and the Alforja was held in August of this year and participants from five South American countries have begun to implement the Alforja.

Children planting a garden in Bolivia

Now it was felt, it was time to take the Alforja beyond South America.

Forging Connections

ReAct Africa, based in Nairobi, Kenya, showed interest in the Alforja but identified a gap in terms of how to roll it out in schools.  Through Child to Child’s global reach, Celine and the London-based Child to Child office were able to facilitate a connection with AceAfrica, which has been running school-based “Child to Child clubs” for decades in Kenya and Tanzania.

The Alforja has now been translated into English, and AceAfrica has begun to engage multiple stakeholders to adapt the toolkit to the Kenyan context.

The CtC dream

The original spirit of Child to Child was to spread the practice of listening to children and empowering them to take an active part in their own lives, as well as their communities.

It is truly exciting to watch this emerging network of partners, and of people who share the CtC ethos. We hope to have more updates on this global movement soon!