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COVID-19: COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
In response to the outbreak, the government measures have included severe restrictions on movement and physical distancing. Wherein, it will inevitably impact the way we engage communities. We will provide some practical tips for such community engagement.
- Technologies: Consider different technologies in engaging communities. Allow communication through texts or audio messages.
- Accessibility: Be sure to make engagement in all groups or where everyone can feel comfortable. Adapt the way on how you communicate by using simple language or via alternative audio-visual means.
- Material Support: Make sure that your community can use technologies.
- Gender Sensitivity: Adjust remote engagement tools based on the roles of men, women, girls, and boys. For instance, evening spots are for women, they are easy to reach as they may have responsibilities during the day.
- Advocacy: This can contribute to the stability of community engagement. Although it may depend on the context, just consider developing advocacy strategies. These can be the key to ensuring the access of people to information.
- Collective Effort: We will need all the help we can. Be ready to assign new tasks to staff and volunteers. They can work in different sectors at once. Make sure that all of them receive clear briefing risks. They should also know that they have the right to refuse to perform tasks that make them uneasy or unsafe.
- Focal Points: Classify focal points within communities and keep them informed. Build on existing leadership like religious figures, teachers, traditional healers, and community leaders.
- Face-To-Face: The members of the community may still resort to face-to-face interactions. If that’s the case, advise them to follow the protocols given by the health experts.
- Information Sharing: The volunteers can use any social media platform to stay in touch with each other. It will allow them to share and gather information on key developments.
- Door-To-Door Activities: A door-to-door distribution has a rule of leaving the items at the door of the household and not handling them right away. For vocal interactions, you can talk over the door.
SUPPORT TO COMMUNITIES
- Hygiene: Provide handwash stations in places convenient for the community. It is vital especially if they are still undertaking group acts. Near markets, handwashing amenities are also necessary. You can also use cashless systems if possible.
- Solidarity Strategies: Support the solidarity strategies of your community. Some of which may include food, water, and other essential needs for those most at risk. Advocate using a simple signage system for those in need of support or homes self-isolating. While signage is adapted in each context, they need to be as simple as leaving an object by the door or writing a symbol on the wall. These might lessen physical contact between community members while supporting basic welfare.
- Isolation Strategies: Certain groups will have more difficulties dealing with coronavirus disease once they are infected. These people are those with underlying health conditions or the elderly. Work with communities to find ways to protect these high-risk people from the transmission while ensuring their access to essential facilities.