I love being a staff writer for 3BL Media/Justmeans on topics - Social Innovation, Social Enterprise and Social Entrepreneurs. When I am not writing for 3BL Media/Justmeans, I wear my other hat as owner of Serendipity PR. Over the years I have worked with high-profile, big, powerful brands and organisations within the public, not-for-profit and corporate sectors; and won awards from my industry....
Social Innovation: The Comic Book Making a Difference in Africa
Children love comic books and what better way to help develop and broaden their thinking than to create an educational comic book?! A million school children from five African countries will each receive a special comic book called, 'We'll make it' and is part of a school campaign to fight the stigma surrounding epilepsy. This book was launched in Kenya by Sanofi and its partners the Ministries of Health and Education and the NGO KAWE (Kenyan Association for the Welfare of People with Epilepsy) at the first African Congress focused on epilepsy.
This social innovation African Congress on epilepsy was held from 21 to 23 June, 2012 and brought together 300 participants from 51 countries. Epilepsy is the most common neurological disorder with according to the World Health Organisation 1% of the world population dealing with it; that's 50 million people suffering from epilepsy; which includes 10 million people in Africa. It's a disorder that can strike at any age, though more than half of the cases start during childhood. Dr. Robert Sebbag, Vice President Access to Medicines, Sanofi says, "Sanofi is strongly committed to improving access to quality care for epilepsy. Drugs alone are not enough. The comic book launched...will educate patients and their families, informing populations and providing medicines at preferential price to the most disadvantaged patients."
Unfortunately, epilepsy is a health taboo and in many places it is thought to be a curse or a sign from evil spirits and unfortunately these beliefs lead to stigma and exclusion, discouraging patients from seeking medical help. Therefore, this social innovation comic book has launched to change things and educate people. It will be distributed to children from Benin, Kenya, Cameroon, Madagascar and Senegal.
'We'll make it' is available in English and French, and was launched in Benin this March. It will now be available to primary schools in Kenya, helping children from the ages 8 to 12 to understand epilepsy and the stigma surrounding it, which can lead to exclusion. The aim of this social innovation book is help more people to fight the myths and misconceptions surrounding this disease and share their new knowledge within their family.
The story of this comic book is centred around two children called, Lamine and Keifa who have epilepsy and are connected through the universal theme of football. The book tells a story that reaches the largest number of people, whatever their age or socio-economic background. It is hoped that the story of Lamine and Keifa will help to fight the stigma surrounding epilepsy and improve access to care for everyone needing treatment. Now that would be a 'happy-ever-after'...
Photo Credit: Sanofi Website