Andri Kuswanto helped young people in Bangirejo learn how to design and paint a mural that brightens their neighbourhood. It also has a serious purpose in informing the community about Wolbachia mosquitoes and their release across Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
The World Mosquito Program organised a mural workshop with young people in collaboration with local mural artist Aditya Arya Wibowo. After the workshop, Andri mobilised the young people in his area to start the mural on the kampong (village) wall.
“When the murals were being painted, there were a lot of questions from passers-by: what kind of mosquito is this and why are the mosquitos wearing the ‘W’ logos? We were able to talk to them about the importance of preventing dengue with Wolbachia mosquitoes,” said Andri. “Lots stopped to take selfies.”
Initially the local Bangirejo community was a bit sceptical about the releases of Wolbachia mosquitoes. As time went by and there was more community engagement such as the workshops around the murals – and no local cases of dengue – people realised the benefits offered by the World Mosquito Program’s Wolbachia method.
Wolbachia mosquito releases only begin after thorough engagement with communities and approval by the government. Following encouraging results from the initial trials in Yogyakarta, a large-scale efficacy study to evaluate the impact of the Wolbachia method on dengue transmission is now underway.
“In Yogyakarta, nearly every village has a mural, so to reach out to the community we offered to support a mural in Bangirejo – three young people from the village trained with mural artists so that they could paint the mural themselves,” said Dedik Helmy Yusdiana, a Community Engagement Specialist from the World Mosquito Program.
Yusdi organised workshops to engage with community leaders, such as people from the pendidikan kesejahteraan keluarga (PKK, family welfare organisation), and the young people.
The World Mosquito Program is committed to strengthening the capacity of local communities around the world to reduce the threat of mosquito-borne diseases. In local communities, the program raises awareness, provides information about the project, consults on the best way in which to do this locally, and collaborates with stakeholders to support implementation.