COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT DURING COVID 19

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ruben-pillai
29 Apr 2020

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Government measures in response to the outbreak have included severe restrictions on movement and physical distancing, which will inevitably impact the way we engage communities. This document provides key messages and practical tips for such community engagement. 1. Technologies Consider engaging communities through different technologies. Online means, such as WhatsApp, allow for communication through both text and audio messages. Mobile networks can support hotlines, phone trees or simple phone calls. Where mobile networks are either not present or unstable, two-way radios can be an alternative. 2. Material support Make sure communities have the means to use these technologies! This includes the provision of portable radios, phones, phone credit, free Wi-Fi hotspots and even megaphones. 3. Accessibility Make sure to engage all groups, in both host and displaced communities, in environments where everyone can feel comfortable to speak up. Adapt the way you communicate to reach each group, which may require using simple language or communicating messages through alternative audio-visual means. 4. Focal points Identify focal points within communities and keep them informed. Build on existing leadership, such as community leaders, traditional healers, teachers and religious figures. Women are often overlooked, even though they are primary caretakers and first responders in emergencies, so make active efforts to identify women focal points. 5. Gender sensitivity Adapt remote engagement tools based on the roles of women, men, boys and girls. For example, if using radio messaging, evening spots can ensure that women and girls are reached, as they may have responsibilities during the day. 6. Collective effort We will need all the help we can get! Be ready to assign staff and community volunteers new tasks. They may have to work in different sectors

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