A Red Cross mobile cinema brought vital information on cholera transmission and prevention to 50,000 people throughout Sierra Leone. According to Red Cross volunteers Garber Joseph and Daniel James, “Sierra Leone has bad roads but with cinema we’ve reached the unreachable! Mobile cinema captivates people – we have had lots of communities asking us when we’re coming back.”

The tour visited schools and communities in all 14 districts in Sierra Leone. In addition to watching The Story of Cholera, audience members discussed the causes of cholera, watched handwashing demonstrations, and learned how to make homemade sugar salt solution to treat dehydration. They also received bars of soap and cholera awareness leaflets. The story is documented in this video.

Garber explained: “When I first heard about the mobile cinema I wondered how it would work as I hadn’t seen anything like this before. Then when I saw it all set up for the first time I was impressed and could see how people would be able to easily grasp the information – it’s so visual and easy to understand. After all ‘seeing is believing’!”

Daniel added: “Peoples’ reactions have been great. When this cholera business started people really needed information on how to protect themselves and the cinema provides that. Nobody wants to listen to a know-it-all preaching but the cinema is not like that – everyone gets a chance to be involved and participate in the show. When they get involved it’s also a chance for us to find out what they think and their level of knowledge. For example, we realised how many people believed cholera is spread through the air and so we can address that immediately during the show.”

The Red Cross studied the impact of the cinema and our video in their mid-term review of the project and found large increases in a number of variables that measured people’s understanding of ways to prevent cholera. A copy of the review is available here: Mobile cinema mid-term review Oct 2012.

By the numbers:

Number of people attending a cinema show                47,008

Communities visited                                                                  67

Schools visited                                                                            57

School pupils reached                                                       25,717


Source: Information and photos provided by Sharon Reader, Beneficiary Communications Delegate, International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.