In times like pandemics, it is important the awareness messages reach to the communities so that people are able to protect and take preventive measure for their own goods. However, in the case of COVID-19 where everyone is encouraged to stay home and areas are locked down, it is more difficult than usual to reach those messages to the public.
Especially in Rakhine, Myanmar, which is not only a fragile area but also without internet access, World Vision had to think creative ways to reach the awareness messages to the community.
“Because of COVID-19, only I and one other staffs are left in the office. We were not able to risk going into the field and spread the messages for the government has restricted mass gathering. So, we took a different approach,” says, Thet Paing Phyo, the Area Program manager of Maung Daw.
The idea was to use loud speakers as remote community engagement tool in 13 IDP (internally Displaced People) camps and 48 villages. Because of the lock down and restricted mass gathering activity, one volunteer from each camp and village is selected to spread the awareness messages.
After that, the volunteers were given recording file, prerecorded in local dialect, of COVID-19 awareness message which was downloaded from Ministry of Health and Sport website. The volunteers would carry the loud speakers on bikes and trishaws playing the prerecording message in their village.
Awareness message spreading took place for five days and reached over 23,000 beneficiaries and World Vision provided 5,000 Kyats per day for each volunteer as a fee for renting the loudspeakers. Also the volunteers received useful information such as how to wash hands, with video or photo files which can be shared via their mobile phone file sharing system with their communities.