One must look very closely to notice that Ibrahim Ali Muse walks with the ever-so-slightest of limps. After 12 years, the Somali Red Crescent Society volunteer has mastered the art of utilizing the plastic prosthetic that has taken the place of much of his right leg. He was only eight years old when he stepped on a landmine, a remnant of his country’s civil war decades earlier.
 

“I received much support when I was injured, and my plastic leg grew with me over the years,” says the now 20-year-old Ibrahim. “It is because of this that I now want to help others.”

 
The lanky high school student with dreams of studying to become a doctor joined the Somali Red Crescent Society’s response to an outbreak of acute watery diarrhea last year. Based in Burao, Somaliland, he and another volunteer spent their days visiting people who were sick, telling them and their family members the steps to take to recover and how to prevent the disease from taking hold again.
 
“It has been a long time since we have had this kind of outbreak here (in Burao) so people didn’t have any have experience with it,” says Ibrahim. “Many people are also uneducated so it sometimes took a lot of persuasion for them to believe the disease is real and that they have the power to stop it.”
 
Using diagrams, Ibrahim explained the causes of acute watery diarrhea, poor hygiene, and the use of contaminated water, and encouraged people to adopt healthier measures including washing their hands before eating and after using the toilet. “I do this myself at home, and make sure my family does it as well,” says Ibrahim.
 
Thanks to the Government of Canada, the Canadian Red Cross supported the establishment of a treatment centre in Somaliland, to treat severe cases of acute watery diarrhea.