Using Language against Coronavirus

In just a few months since it’s emergence in Wuhan, China, the Corona virus has changed the world as we know it. Countries have been put into lock down, schools closed, events canceled, factories shuttered, millions told to work from home and emergency funds released. No economic cost has been too big to stem the spread of the disease.(CNN)

Ways the world is fighting against corona

The world is fighting Coronavirus on different fronts from sensitization methods, to COVID-19 education and social distancing guidelines. 

COVID education and language barrier 

According to the translators without borders, millions of marginalized people lack basic information about how to keep themselves and their communities safe and well from Covid-19. They include people who don’t speak the dominant language where they live, people with no or low literacy, and people without access to different forms of communication. Some don’t know what to do and why to do it. 

As a consequence, they might not be able to make informed decisions about how to behave -which won’t slow the spread of disease. Marginalized people -like all -have a right to clear, accurate, and accessible information about the disease and response efforts. They need information in a language and format they understand. It must also be presented in a way that is relevant to them, and available in a channel they can access and trust. 

In Kisumu, a group of youth have stepped up to solve the language barrier issue on COVID-19 messages by using their creativity and Cellulant’s Bulk SMS technology. The group, Koko Media, is doing this by publishing posters on COVID-19 information translated in the local Dholuo language. 

Koko Media is a youth owned Consultancy Company that operates in the social media and digital space. The organization has trained numerous Kisumu youth on social media marketing to help them build their businesses across new platforms. They are using their skills during this COVID-19 period to ensure that information is flowing effectively in their communities. 

Impact of COVID education

Their efforts have gone a long way in curbing the spread of the virus in the region. This has countered misinformation and has provided the non-literate with informational materials that spread the correct information and use pictorial messaging that also reflect local culture and practices. 

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