In the context of the COVID-19 second wave where cases have surged at an alarming rate, faith and traditional leaders have an important role in tackling deep rooted beliefs that result in rituals, gatherings and practices that further exacerbate the spread of COVID-19.
At the moment, direct systematic engagement with faith leaders and traditional leaders in the COVID-19 response, is negligible. With the increased vulnerabilities and challenges that children, families and communities are facing in this second wave of COVID-19, faith and traditional leaders have an essential role in providing hope, removing stigma and discrimination resulting from misinformation, support surveillance activities, as well as mobilize communities to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.
For this important and urgent role to be carried out by faith and traditional leaders, there is need to strengthen their skills, building upon the interventions and initiatives from the first wave so as to re-equip and re-energize them with a better understanding of some of the contributing factors and negative effects of misinformation, rumors, fear, hopelessness, stigma, and discrimination.
- Mobilize faith based and traditional leaders using existing partnerships and channels including Public Affairs Committee (PAC), National Social Mobilization Committee (NSMC).
- Support RCCE initiatives through the provision of specific and simplistic harmonized message guides for rituals, practices and gatherings to ensure message consistency.
To support positive social and behavior change and adoption of positive practices with faith and traditional leaders for engagement, dialogue, exchange, feedback, mobilization and immediate call to action to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
To go beyond message dissemination and achieve meaningful self-reflection and engagement to achieve lasting positive change on jointly agreed priorities affecting communities including children, women and their families.
Harmonization of COVID-19 Messages for the Faith Community
Malawi Interfaith AIDS association (MIAA) in partnership with Public Affairs Committee (PAC) and Youth Wave conducted a 3 days’ workshop on the harmonisation of messages on COVID-19 for the faith leaders and actors with financial and technical support from UNICEF.
Training of Youth Faith Based Structures on digital Media
Youth Wave in collaboration with Public Affairs Committee and Malawi AIDS Interfaith Association trained youth volunteers in how to combat misinformation about COVID-19, COVID-19 vaccines, reassuring the public by raising awareness on the safety and efficacy of vaccines. The combined efforts of these volunteers in response to the pandemic leads to the collective goal of community recovery.
May - June, 2021