An integrated approach to Zika prevention is one of the cornerstones of the Community Action on Zika (CAZ) project. To this end, the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) developed a workshop for volunteers and staff that draws on methodologies from Community Based Health and First Aid (CBHFA), Vector Control, and Community Engagement and Accountability (CEA). These three perspectives provide a technical training in vector control and health promotion against the Zika virus, while ensuring a community centered perspective to these actions through the CEA component.

The IFRC has supported 4 national societies in Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua to implement this methodology. This, in partnership with Save the Children, with support from the Reference Centre for Institutional Disaster Preparedness (CREPD), and thanks to the generous support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). So far, 97 Red Cross volunteers and staff have been certified through this workshop.

Participants learn basic principles of community health response with a special focus on mosquito-borne diseases, and how to identify and prevent them. “What we are doing here is taking the basic CBHFA principles, and adding a very participatory methodology so that volunteers can learn about vector control. This includes topics like vector ecology, creating risk maps, identifying mosquito breeding sites and more. The approach is long-term, the volunteers will then take this knowledge communities and apply it with them.” – said Juan Carlos Alvarez, Vector Control Consultant for the IFRC.

Additionally, they gain and understanding of participatory approaches to community engagement in the areas of vector control and Zika prevention, including feedback mechanisms, addressing rumors and community empowerment. “Volunteers will share responsibility with the community when they implement project activities, making the actions more sustainable over a longer period.” – added Monica Posada, IFRC Community Engagement and Accountability Delegate.

Over the next two years, the Red Cross teams and their partners in the countries will implement a variety of community-centered activities within the framework of the CAZ project, promoting behavioral changes to reduce mosquito populations and the spread of viruses like Zika, dengue and chikungunya.


For more information, please contact:

In Colombia: Sergio Ferrero Febrel, Zika Response Manager, IFRC –

In Panama: Wbeimar Sanchez, Public Health Delegate, IFRC –

Media contact: Anna Vichnevetskaia, Communications Officer, IFRC –