The ability of a community to mitigate against adverse effects of Covid-19 by preventing its spread is crucial in fighting the current pandemic. Especially the success of sensitization campaigns depends heavily on the adequate communication within local communities. NatuReS Zambia, in collaboration with the Lusaka Water Security Initiative (LuWSI) and Lusaka City Council (LCC), demonstrates how response measures can be grounded and effectively carried out under the leadership of community governance structures.
Building on the community engagement and empowerment processes implemented by LCC, Zambia Institute of Mass Communication (ZAMCOM) conducted a series of trainings for Ward Development Committees and Community Facilitators. Their capacity to build networks and effectively communicate with the communities is key in the implementation of Covid-19 prevention measures. The goal of the trainings is to build a pipeline of community-generated stories that link communities with media houses to give a practical expression of community views, experiences, lessons, ideas and knowledge on Covid-19. The more communities identify with awareness campaigns and prevention measures, the stronger is their ability to fight the spread of the pandemic.
This training series is also an important aspect of social change, as it represents an interactive avenue to communicate societal thinking and norms. It will help convey experiences from the perspective of communities and hence make it possible to better inform future interventions. Moreover, evaluating the effectiveness of measures and expanding lessons learnt and best practices within communities will ensure a stronger impact and eventually improve public health.
Author: Sonile Mutafya, NatuReS Advisor, Zambia