Children's Story is Latest Weapon in War Against Avian Flu; Booklet Part of AED's Efforts Against the Disease in Asia, Africa and U.S.

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 23, 2006--There's a new weapon in the battle against avian flu: a children's story.

Zandi's Song, a story about a girl who helps teach her village about avian flu, is part of the Academy for Educational Development's efforts to prevent the spread of the disease in Africa and other parts of the world.

AED, a nonprofit organization working to solve critical problems throughout the world, created the Zandi's Song booklet and accompanying materials to teach African schoolchildren about avian flu and involve them in educating their communities about the disease. The booklet also comes with posters, a fact sheet, bookmarks, and a 12-page teacher's guide that explains step by step how to help children participate in preventing and containing avian flu in their communities.

In many countries where avian flu is threatening flocks, poultry is a primary source of both nutrition and income for many families. "Chickens are considered mobile savings banks," says Dr. Susan Zimicki, director of AED's infectious disease initiative. "When birds are destroyed to stop the spread of avian influenza, families can lose their livelihoods and primary food source."

"The key to preventing the spread of the disease is educating people who are most at-risk for contracting it," Zimicki says.

AED is testing the effectiveness of Zandi's Song in Kenya, but because of the recent outbreak of avian flu in Nigeria, advance copies of the booklet and accompanying materials have been released and are available at www.aed.org/avianflu. They can be duplicated with the acceptance of a license agreement. Once field-testing is completed, final versions will be posted. The materials can be easily adapted so that they are suitable for use in other countries.

Reaching Poultry Farmers in Southeast Asia

In Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Indonesia, AED is implementing an avian flu communications campaign on behalf of the United States Agency for International Development. AED's initial research among backyard poultry farmers showed that, while many people knew about avian flu, fewer knew specific ways to prevent or contain the disease.

Through partners such as the Lao Journalist's Association and Veterinarians Without Borders, AED is now working in those countries to help poultry farmers and vendors in remote and rural areas handle and manage their birds in ways that reduce the risk of the birds contracting and spreading avian flu. AED is using radio and television to reach small farmers and their families with persuasive messages. In addition, to help address the impact that destroying their birds has on them, AED is examining the critical issues of economic security and food supply.

Protecting Workers in the United States

AED is also focusing its efforts on containing the disease in the United States. AED developed materials on preventing the spread of avian and other types of flu for the Service Employees International Union. Most of the union's 2 million members work in health care settings. SEIU has used the web-friendly fact sheets and FAQs at health and safety training for union members in New York City.

Founded in 1961, the Academy for Educational Development (www.aed.org) is a nonprofit organization committed to building the capacity of individuals, communities, and institutions to become more self-sufficient. AED works in all the major areas of human development, with a focus on improving education, health, and economic opportunities for the least advantaged in the United States and developing countries.



Mark Rasmuson,