Starting them young: GARC and Knowledge Channel partner for rabies education

Knowledge Channel Foundation, Inc. (KCFI) and the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) have teamed up in the Philippines to develop educational videos, e-learning modules, and teaching guides as part of their ongoing work to educate children about rabies.

While KCFI operates the Knowledge Channel (KCh), the first and only TV, online and offline transmedia that focuses on the Philippines’ basic education curriculum, GARC brings life-saving information on rabies, animal bite management and prevention, and responsible pet ownership to the most at risk – the primary school children in public schools in far-flung communities.

Given the vulnerability of children to dog bites and consequently, rabies exposure, GARC, through the support of the UBS Optimus Foundation and in close coordination with the Philippines National Rabies Prevention and Control Committee, has targeted children through education interventions over the years. GARC and KCFI believe that educating children at a young age about rabies prevention will help prevent dog bites and rabies over the long term as well.

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The development of these multimedia learning resources (MMLR) began in October 2015 in coordination aside from the two organizations, with the Department of Education (DepEd),   Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Animal Industry (DA-BAI) and Department of Health-Disease Prevention and Control Bureau (DOH-DPCB) which provided content and technical guidance in scripting and production. A Focus Group Discussion (FGD) with target learners – primary graders and their teachers was also conducted for each video episode to ensure that the materials are age-appealing, relevant, and effective.

Two of the video episodes were aired and included in KCh’s Payong K-Lusugan (Health Advice) series on Health Education while the e-learning modules – two animated videos – became part of the Kuwentong Pambata (Stories for Children) series for Day Care to Grade 3. These were broadcasted nationwide and were even made available for free broadcast in the Asia-Pacific Region through ABS-CBN’s Intelsat 19. They are also available through the KCh Portable Media Library (PML) – an external hard drive loaded with KCh videos and other learning resources which are distributed in schools through KCFI’s Leaning Effectively through Enhanced and Evidenced-Based Pedagogies (LEEP) and KCh’s learning portal (www.kchonline.ph) as well as GARC and KCh’s Youtube Channels. English subtitles have been added to the videos for an international audience.

The videos have been featured during the Rabies Awareness Month and World Rabies Day celebrations in the Philippines. Aside from students and teachers, the videos have also benefited more than a hundred partners from the human and animal health sectors especially those from local government units who have direct access to communities. Their responses have been overwhelmingly positive and they welcomed the additional resources which targeted an age group that needed the most attention.

At present, GARC is working closely with the DepEd to integrate rabies education into the national K-12 curriculum. With KCh’s reach, the video episodes are expected to benefit more than 4 million children in more than 4,000 public schools in 67 provinces, more than 10,000 out-of-school youth enrolled in DepEd’s Alternative Learning Systems (ALS), and more than 100,000 teachers of formal schools and community learning centers with access to KCh.

This project is a testament to GARC and KCh’s commitment to support the national government’s goal of achieving a rabies-free Philippines by the year 2020. It is also a push to realize that educating young minds is crucial for long-term behavior change.

Contributed by Dane Medina, communication officer for GARC Philippines office and Edric Calma of Knowledge Channel.

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