By Tsebo Mosoeunyane
Due to its rapid response during the declaration of COVID 19 as a pandemic, Lesotho Red Cross Society (LRCS) was awarded M480,000 by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Lesotho to continue with implementing community based solution to challenges associated with COVID 19.
According to the Secretary General of LRCS Mr. Kopano Masilo, the Society is tasked with creating awareness, advocacy, and communication on COVID-19, targeting youth and high-risk public spaces.
He said the Project is intended to minimise the risk of COVID-19 infection in the country.
“Infection can be minimised through appropriate education products done by the Society’s youth targeting mostly through their peers,” he added.
The project will operate in four districts of Lesotho: Botha Bothe, Leribe, Mafeteng and Maseru.
“The targeted districts are high risk for COVID-19 infection due to porous borders. Most Basotho working in South Africa illegally use these porous borders to enter Lesotho hence it is imperative that we identify youth in the villages around the borders and give them education through the creation of COVID-19 WhatsApp groups for information sharing and the drama performances”, Masilo reiterated.
The youth are expected to also look into the cultural and risky habits posing reasonable COVID-19 spread risk for community-based transmissions among them, Masilo added.
He said the project will document these practises and develop counter strategies to influence behavioural change and then youth volunteers will raise community awareness campaign by correcting misconceptions through relevant public messages thus reinforcing positive norms.
“ Apart from that, youth will also target community public places like taxi ranks, shopping centres, community shops, chiefs gathering areas and community councils through Health education in the relatively common context of kissing, hugging, shaking hands and direct argumentation which maybe be seen as another reason why interpersonal transmissions could be more likely” he said.
According to the project document for those who may not be reached through verbal communication, a shooting of community video for online dissemination to influence the same behavioural changes will be produced.
The general objective of the COVID-19 spread control among youth is to enhance strategic community innovations, to promote resilience, safeguard lives and livelihoods, enable enjoyment of individuals and collective human rights and maintain social cohesion.