21.09.2016

The local people here even hesitate to speak or do anything about it,” Bernard says. The NGO uses flashcards to raise awareness among villagers on snakebites and safety measures. “The first thing we tell them is not to kill snakes as they play an important role in agriculture,” he explains. Snakes are natural rodent controllers in farms, protecting crops and harvests and preventing serious diseases from being spread e.g. by rats.

Bernard says, “We culturally and environmentally linked the importance of snakes, and slowly expanded the outreach programme.” In 2013, the NGO won UN recognition for its rural snake safety campaign. It ran an epidemiological survey which gives details on bite, and also on what victims do when they return home from hospital. “Sometimes, superstition causes victims to change homes, names and phone numbers after the bite due to superstition. Following a victim in the village is a challenge,” Bernhard says.