Education and community engagement is integral to our mass vaccination projects

Children are at high risk of dog bites and contracting rabies. Forty percent of reported rabies cases worldwide are children under the age of fifteen. In our project areas, the paediatric proportion is often even higher. Rabies most often persists in poor communities and rural regions of developing countries in Africa and Asia. If the risks are widely understood and appropriate dog bite treatment is well known – rabies is 100% preventable. The financial burden of human treatment is high, control via dog vaccination costs ten times less and protects whole communities. Mass canine vaccination will rid an area of rabies, but this takes time during which communities remain at risk – whilst we work to eliminate the disease, education helps us save lives.

The educational sessions are aimed to empower children, their teachers and their families with the knowledge to protect themselves from bites, preventing rabies and save lives. We encourage members of the public to bring their dogs for vaccination and sterilisation, and publicise our response team for humane canine rabies control.

We are creating communities who know how to protect themselves from rabies and who act to support rabies control.

  • In 2013, our vaccination teams delivered education awareness leaflets in 14 cities in India.
  • In 2014, we piloted several teaching methods to children in schools. We studied the impact on under 16’s knowledge, attitudes and behaviour over six months to guide us in developing our school's programme. We visited schools in Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand and Goa reaching over 180,000 children and 3,800 teachers.
  • In 2015, we began year-round awareness and education programmes in Goa and Jharkhand in India with permanent education officers. Alongside targeted work in schools, we also delivered outreach with local communities. We also launched a new programme in Blantyre in Malawi and recruited international volunteers to support mass awareness campaigns in Malawi and Goa.
  • In 2016, we began to further our education and community engagement programmes in Malawi. After a successful education campaign in Blantyre where we reached over 95’000 children in five weeks, we commenced the education programme in Zomba district, east of Blantyre.
  • In 2017, we passed a huge milestone; one million children educated on rabies prevention. Throughout the year, across India and Malawi, our education programmes reached 725,401 children, 19,860 teachers and 130,658 community members. In a 10-day programme in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, our very own Dr Murugan delivered the life-saving lessons to 15,010 children, 561 teachers and 131 community leaders. Alongside the awareness campaigns in schools, we expanded our work to include workshops in health clinics in Malawi.
  • In 2018, we surpassed the milestone of two million children educatedand exceeded our target to reach more than 80% of primary schools at our flagship project sites. The successful education campaigns led to reaching 723,687 children, 16,384 teachers and 243,011 community members across areas in India and Malawi. In conjunction with the University of Edinburgh, we published the analysis of a second studyof 400 students from 15 public primary schools in Southern Malawi. The study showed a statistically significant increase in the rabies knowledge of students compared to a control group – even months after the lesson.
  • In 2019, we reached our three millionth child with our rabies prevention lessons. Plus, following years of dedicated work and meetings held with authorities, our rabies prevention information became part of the national primary school curriculum in India and Malawi. We also expanded our education work to Ghana and Tanzania.

To date our ‘Rabies Prevention’ education programme has reached:

Global Total3,632,07510,49186,920596,742


Experienced educators deliver the ‘Rabies prevention’ lesson directly to children in their classes, and assemblies. We teach children from age five up to sixteen – focussing particularly on primary schools. Schools range from the small and hard to get to, with enrolments as low as ten children in Goa’s rural regions right up to huge urban centres of up to 10,000 children in some Blantyre schools. Our teams teach on average around 100-400 children in each hour long session, and aim to cover all children in the area working school-by-school.

The ‘Rabies prevention’ lesson teaches five key messages:

  • Rabies is serious – How the rabies virus transmits and its effect on the body.
  • How to be safe around dogs - Understanding dog behaviour for safe and friendly interaction and knowing the warning signs to prevent being bitten.
  • First aid - Life-saving steps to avoid rabies infection if bitten by a dog.
  • Community protection - Understanding the nature of how vaccination works and encouraging community action.
  • Dog population management - Promoting humane dog population control and encouraging owners and authorities to neuter dogs with help from our sister charity, the Worldwide Veterinary Service (WVS).

Our methods are simple, cost effective and replicable. We encourage communities to recognise & report rabid dogs, care for & protect dogs with vaccination, and help bite victims get treatment through active and thought-provoking sessions.

Lessons and activities

We use an array of teaching methods tailored for each respective country and campaign including drawing, acting, flashcards, video, props and demonstration to deliver the message of rabies prevention and ensure it is memorable. Each section of the session has plenary activities aimed to review what has been learnt and not only to make sure all children understand the message, but also that the children take the message home to their parents, family and friends.

The teachers pack include lesson plans, teachers notes, curricula links, power point presentations, worksheets, extension activities and FAQs.

School play

The ‘Lyssa’ plays are enjoyed by all ages and can be performed in any setting. Told through a young central character and their friendship with a stray dog - the story is relatable to children, and stimulates responsibility. The play is performed by their class mates, peer-to-peer, so that the messages are memorable. Through storytelling, we engage children, their teachers and parents to take action for rabies eradication.

Pedal cinema

A moving image can say a thousand words! Our wonderful back-pack cinema is pedal-powered and portable allowing us to show local- language education cartoons and films in any environment, meaning infrastructure is no barrier to our life-saving lessons. Films are produced in multiple local languages, replicated for each project location.

Supporting teachers

We work with teachers for an ongoing source of rabies knowledge in the community. In each school we visit we deliver teaching materials for schools to educate their classes about rabies, year-on-year. Our wall posters remain in classrooms, providing a permanent reminder in schools of the key first aid advice that can protect children in a dog bite emergency. With the support of Goa State government we have produced a detailed textbook chapter available on the Goa Government Website. We aim to extend state support and widen distribution of this material.

Please see our resources section for further materials for use in the classroom and community centres.


For every school we visit - we record who, when, where and what we did to teach children and communities entered via Rabies App to give real-time project management and mapped records of our reach. We complete community and schools studies to understand the barriers and behaviours that perpetuate human life loss to rabies, and measure how our interventions work to address these. A summary of our school's based knowledge, attitude and practice study assessing the quality of our methods and effect of our work in schools is available here. Our local team keep in touch with schools and communities to receive feedback, and give ongoing support.

Get involved

  • Come with us as an education volunteer to teach children and help reach communities through our mass awareness drives in Malawi and India.
  • Follow our Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates from the teams.
  • Help support the programme by fundraising so we can reach more schools and communities in our project areas!

Give £3 to teach a child and vaccinate a dog

Support our schools for just £25 per month

Could your company help us do more? Sponsor a Community Cinema, make us your Charity of the Year, or send out a team of volunteers - get in touch with to learn how a partnership could benefit you.


Dogs Trust, WVS, Davies Veterinary Specialists, Covetrus, BSAVA, Commonwealth Veterinary Association, WSAVA, CDC, University of Edinburgh Technik Technology, Vipex, WTG, Pet Air, Mayhew International, BCF Technology, Centaur Services, AGM Telematics, AST, Daray Medical, Medimark Scientific, MSD Animal Health, Starleaf, University of Bristol, W&H, ABC India, A1 Animals Come First, Humane Animal Society, Animal Rescue Kerala, International Animal Rescue, Just be Friendly, IPAN, TOLFA, Indian Veterinary Association, AWBI, APCRI, VSPCA, Vets for Animals, iSAW, CARE, tiffinbox and IVSA.

Dogs TrustMSD Animal HealthWorldwide Veterinary ServiceWSAVAAFSCANCovetrusClinician's BriefDavies Vet SpecialistsFitzpatrick ReferralsBSAVACommonwealth Veterinary AssociationTechnikVipexPet AirMayhew InternationalBCF TechnologyAGM TelematicsASTCentaurDaray MedicalMedimark ScientificStarLeafUniversity of BristolW&HSecurosHumane Animal SocietyABC IndiaArkA1 Animals Come FirstJBFIPANTOLFAIARIndian Veterinary AssociationAnimal Welfare Board of IndiaAPCRIVSPCACAREWAGPeople for Animals GoaPeople for AnimalsiSAWVets for AnimalsKottayam Nature SocietyBlue CrossMother's HeartTiffinboxCVSCDCBSPCAMbwa Wa AfricaIVSADogstar FoundationUniversity of Edinburgh

Mission Rabies
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BH21 5PZ
United Kingdom

Mission Rabies is registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales (1162293)

Mission Rabies USA, Inc is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization – EIN 81-5065473

In association with:

Dogs Trust WorldwideWorldwide Veterinary ServiceMSD Animal Health