Community mobilisation for the prevention of the contamination and the spread of the COVID-19 illness is the topic of the workshop organised on Monday, April 6, 2020 at the headquarters of WDYP in Yaoundé and in the regional representations.
The relevance and appropriateness of such a workshop are based on the objective of making a civic and voluntary contribution to the government’s response to the risks of contamination and spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, it was a question, on the one hand, of adopting a specific intervention strategy to accompany the communities and target groups to better prevent the contamination and spread of Covid-19 within them, and, on the other hand, of developing a methodological approach of raising awareness integrating interpersonal and media communication (social networks). At the end of the work, the members of the operational teams of WDYP collected the information necessary for the development of a practical guide for action for communities in crisis situations.
Opening the workshop, the Executive Secretary associated the exercise with the deepening of the democratization of the project cycle management within the organization, by recalling that this implies the involvement of the members and the investment of each one in the reflections on the issues that challenge WDYP. In summoning the Civil Peace Service and human security, he recalled the three objectives which fall within this area of intervention and which call for an action in emergency situations.
Indeed, World Dynamics of Young People mobilizes and encourages voluntary engagement and volunteer services to accompany communities to better organize their protection against plagues, and COVID-19 is one of them; we support local communities to develop actions oriented towards the identification and endogenous responses to their needs for information and credible sources of information, in order to prevent the contamination and stigmatization of affected people, as there must be a life after disasters ; we encourage the community mobilization of young people through synergies of actions to ensure the safety of the population facing the risks of the spreading of the virus and the circulation of false information.
In accordance with the social distancing measures decreed by the government and the World Health Organization, the workshop brought together 12 participants at headquarters and 7 participants in Maroua. Hand washing devices with running water and soap or with hydroalcoholic solutions were provided.
Moreover, the context described in the terms of reference, which also justifies the appropriateness and relevance of this workshop, informs that « The poor adhesion of the population to these so-called barrier measures was observed by World Dynamics of Young People (WDYP) during an internal meeting to evaluate its own preventive measures against the risks of contamination and spread of Covid-19. Within the organization, home office has been adopted, as well as devices for washing and disinfecting hands with soapy water and a hydro-alcoholic solution when present in the office.
Indeed, the evolution of the national statistics communicated daily by the Minister of Health, combined with the weak logistical, organisational and institutional capacities of local hospital facilities, as well as the failure of governance and the incivility of the population suggest that there is reason to fear a hecatomb, especially since the messages coming from certain personalities such as the Director of the World Health Organisation and the Secretary-General of the United Nations suggest that Africa is off to a bad start in the fight against Covid-19 if it does not prepare itself accordingly.
Far from considering these behaviours, speeches and the expansion of this pandemic as a cataclysm, WDYP felt strongly challenged by this emergency situation and put in place an action plan in accordance with civil interventions for peace and human security. This plan takes into account both the members of the organization and their families, as well as the target groups and communities in which its activities are carried out at the municipal level. » Appropriate approaches must therefore be found to respond effectively to such emergency situations against COVID-19.
The work therefore purposefully made it possible to describe how to reach target communities and groups to raise awareness, formulate questions to be addressed to target groups to gather their perceptions and opinions, attitudes, knowledge and understanding of the pandemic, their fears and motivations, as well as their stories about the pandemic, develope messages to bring to target groups and their communities when doing awareness raising, and explore the use of the social media networks facebook and whatsapp to attract and reach a wide audience.