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Communicating messages about COVID-19

Communicating messages about COVID-19

In this video you will see an example of an information film about the COVID-19 virus made by the Philippine Red Cross – a National Society member of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC). This video is hosted on YouTube and only available in English.

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

More examples of information videos made as part of a programme called ‘Virtual Volunteer’’ by National Societies of the IFRC, can be found in the ‘See Also’ section at the bottom of the course step.

While adapting case management for COVID-19 is the focus of this MOOC, it is recognised that caseworkers and other frontline workers may contribute to developing and disseminating messages about COVID-19 and the risks the virus poses for girls and boys. This could include messages about COVID -19 symptoms and ways the virus is spread through child-friendly materials. It might be sharing information for adults that focus on stress reduction, child development, and how to promote the mental health and psychosocial wellbeing of children and themselves.

Remember, however, it is important to follow the operational policies and priorities regarding what information is disseminated within your own organisations, and to follow guidance from managers and supervisors. Any information that is shared must be accurate and up-to-date. You may also wish to refer back to course step 13, where we explored the importance of making sure any form of communication is age specific and gender-sensitive. It is also important to consider the different languages information should be given in.

In the ‘See Also’ section below, we have provided you with links to child friendly information materials as well as some websites where you can find further resources. One example we recommend you look at is a story book about COVID-19 that has been developed for children. It is called ‘My Hero is You’ which can be downloaded from here in 80 different languages.

An example of information sharing is the work of UNHCR Lebanon where the agency has supported a refugee-managed Facebook group that has hundreds of thousands of users. The network raises awareness about rumours, scams and fake news about COVID-19 in Arabic and English. In addition, UNHCR also communicates with 9,000 refugees and focal points in partner organisations through a WhatsApp communication tree, which reaches 100,000 families. UNHCR Italy has worked with partners to create an online portal where information on COVID-19 can be accessed in 15 different languages on health advice, regulations, movement restrictions, new administrative procedures and available services.

Other examples include an innovative app – app24 – available in Austria to help refugees and asylum-seekers access real-time and updated news from the authorities, and translates TV content through sub-titles in different languages, allowing for non-German speakers to follow Austrian TV. You can find more examples in this fact sheet issued by UNHCR.

Information on accessing services

It will also be important for children, families and other caregivers to have details of where and how to access services. As previously discussed in this course, making available a directory of services that are still available and can be safely accessed during the COVID-19 pandemic could be helpful both for children and caregivers. Here you can find an example of a UNHCR mapping of health partners in Lebanon. Another example is the local authority in a part of London called Hackney that has produced an interactive map showing different services that are available during the pandemic.

There are also examples of children and young people reaching out to peers to provide and share information. For example, the UNICEF supported programme U-Report is a tool that empowers young people around the world to engage with, and speak out on, issues that are affecting their lives like COVID-19. U-Report is now active in 60 countries benefitting over 8 million users.

The ‘See Also’ section below has links to other reading material that may be of interest to you.

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COVID-19: Adapting Child Protection Case Management

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