COVID-19 Infection, Prevention, and Control and Risk Communication and Community Engagement
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the humanitarian operations inside and outside the protection of civilians (PoC) sites, and has fueled a surge in rumours, myths, and misinformation, regarding the etiology, prevention, and cure of the disease. This spread of misinformation promotes erroneous practices that increase the spread of the virus, and contributes to increased protection risks in the PoC sites. To address this issue, Camp Management, through a network of frontline community mobilizers, has been mapping rumours and community perceptions on COVID-19 in Bentiu and Wau PoCs, as well as collective centers under IOM’s Camp Management area of operations.
Mass communication, talk-shows on local radio, awareness-raising through mobile loudspeakers, distribution of Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials, door to door sensitization, messaging through community leadership and at distribution points and a series of Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) have been common platforms for collecting relevant information and disseminating verified information on COVID-19 infection, prevention, and control measures. One of the methods that have proven effective as a significant source of information for the PoC population in Bentiu are the talk-shows on Kondial FM, as cited by women and youth groups through the FGDs. This was attributed to the inclusivity of messaging through Kondial FM to reach community members who are not able to read IEC materials and messages posted on notice boards and reaches populations with visual and mobility impairments. While more work is needed to ensure greater access to radios within Bentiu PoC, radio programmes have been a significant platform to reach out to community members within a short period.