Protecting communities with weak support systems from Covid19 and associated risks, engaging stakeholders & integrated mobile communications
Pakistan has nearly 96% Muslims population, and around 63.3% of population lives in rural areas (2018, Census Report). Majority of the rural population are inclined to practice religion and respect imams. The edited version of Azaan (call for prayers) inspired me to design communication that can influence their minds during COVID19 response. This has not been used in Pakistan owing to the reluctance of religious fraternity, however such communication can work best to convince people to isolate themselves until the pandemic subsides.
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Around 66% of all households in rural communities reported to have access to mobile phone, out of which 89% reported using WhatsApp (ASER, 2019). Our consortium (CTC, Viamo and OBORtunity) believes that we can identify typology of mobile users and send stylised communication to each type regarding covid19 and also receive his / her response. These can be communicated to the Government, relevant department or charities to provide for their needs e.g. essential health needs or food needs.
In what ways did you change your behaviors as a result of this resource?
After hearing the call for prayers, I stopped going to the mosque so I can not become a carrier of the virus and infect others. We have started praying at home and our offices have closed.
At our target community level, we are communicating for the same i.e. social distancing, hygiene and other precautionary measures. however, we believe that this requires scale and more importantly pace.
In what ways did you share this information?
The information was shared on our social media circles to help motivate masses. however due to limited access and limit of messages, the messages have not been effectively communicated to the vulnerable groups, rural communities and other marginal groups in societies who are at a higher risk of contracting the Covid19.
What information do you feel you are missing about COVID-19?
1. How we will work around the food requirements of the people
2. How would we get treatments for our routine health needs e.g. dialysis and others without getting infected.
3. How Government can make sure that the daily wage workers can get employed soon or they be fed with respect?
4. How can vulnerable families receive the support in these chaotic times, when they have limited access and influence already?
What populations or personas are not currently being addressed with today’s COVID-19 information?
This virus started off in Pakistan with mostly the well-off communities, able to travel. Within that, the virus initially spread in the middle class and is gradually spreading to the lower income spectrums. The low income tiers, slum dwellers, daily wage workers and rural population is generally not well aware, particularly women, of the dynamics of Covid19. Specifically;
1. Rural women and rural low literate community
2. Rural farming community
2. Slum dwellers and low literate communities