Sometimes the answers to problems affecting local communities are inherently local in nature. Thouk Seng, director of an elementary school in Kampong Cham, central Cambodia, is living proof of such ideas.
Seng has decided to bring the beautiful tropical guppy fish into his classrooms, teaching students to raise them in clay pots as part of science class. As well as being an important lesson in connecting with nature, the fish have a second function: they eat the mosquito larvae attracted to areas of stagnant water, thereby they stopping the potentially fatal dengue fever from spreading around the local population. On average, there are 14,000 cases of Dengue fever each year in the country, including 3% of the population near Seng’s school.
Seng’s project, backed by international non-profit the Malaria Consortium, began in June 2018. It recognises that community engagement, in this case teaching people how to rear guppies, is a fundamental part of any solution. Teachers and students will distribute the guppies to households in the community and then set up studies to test their effectiveness.
The project also has the backing of an international consortium of universities and healthcare professionals, including the TDR, a World Health Organisations (WHO) programme to spread education about tropical diseases.Tags: Cambodia, Malaria