Training community mobilizers on COVID-19 protection measures

ACT member Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe (DKH) has trained volunteers in the Hobyo district to inform community members about the dangers of the Coronavirus.

Nasteha Nor Abdi is 27 years old and lives in Wisil, a small town in the Hobyo district of eastern Somalia. Nasteha was trained as a volunteer health worker in May with Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe’s partner organization Center for Peace and Development (CPD). Since then, she has been travelling with other volunteers to public places and to markets in her community to raise awareness of how communities can protect themselves from the Coronavirus, and how to deal with those who are ill.

“We have social values and beliefs that make it difficult to fight the pandemic. Due to a lot of misinformation, many people here believe that this is a disease that only non-Muslims can be affected by. It is difficult to educate people about the dangers of COVID-19.” Nasteha believes that her calling is to support the health of her community. “The health care system in Somalia is weak. Here in Hobyo, the health center is already struggling to treat underlying diseases. Therefore, prevention is our only hope.”

“So far, the volunteer team has educated about 500 people in Wisil,” Nasteha proudly reported. Through this initiative, Nasteha and other community mobilizers have trained youth groups on how to wash their hands properly, to use masks, and to be aware of possible treatment options. The volunteers also worked with community leaders, including elders, religious leaders and women’s groups to disseminate their messages.

“Thanks to our efforts, local communities have now accepted that COVID-19 is a real threat and are practicing preventive measures. This motivates us to reach out to even more people in Hobyo, Wisil and the surrounding area to protect them from the disease,” said Nasteha.

“Our biggest threats are misinformation and misperceptions, and I am pleased that people are now better informed about the pandemic. They know how to deal with patients and suspected cases and how to protect themselves,” she continued.

Nasteha is happy to be able to help to protect her community and is grateful for the support of CDP,” without that help, we could not have accomplished so much,” she concluded.