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Community Risk Communication: Young Urban Women Movement leading the way

YUWM COVID-19  Sensitisation

The COVID-19 pandemic gave many individuals and institutions the opportunity to realign already planned activities to meet the needs of the prevailing circumstances. The pandemic among other things led to a halt in many operations around the world. For many people in hard-to-reach communities, access to accurate information was already a difficulty. To ensure effective education, accurate information dissemination and general communication around the pandemic, organisations such as ActionAid Ghana and the Young Urban Women Movement who already have decades of experience working in these communities needed to hit the ground running.

After strategically planning on how to effectively educate communities on the protocols of the pandemic to empower them to stay safe, members of the Young Urban Women Movement embarked on a community sensitisation initiative. In the Upper East region, for example, the Young Urban Women initiated a youth -led risk communication and outreach for rural communities. The aim was to initiate a short-term emergency response mechanism to bridge the information gap on the COVID-19 pandemic. Between 1st April and 30th June 2021, the Movement sensitised people in 10 communities selected from eight districts. 

The approach began with essential COVID-19 information training for the youth volunteers. The use of radio broadcasting for broader information dissemination was initiated to provide humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable and hard-to-reach populations.

“I am glad that I joined other youth to share knowledge on COVID-19 with people living in deprived areas. It was a great task, but we were able to spread information to a lot of people who otherwise would have been uninformed and likely to contract the disease out of ignorance. I feel proud and satisfied that I contributed to changing perceptions and saving lives."   Bernice, Youth Volunteer

The Recognition

In October 2022, the Collective Service Youth Engagement Subgroup opened a call for the submission of proposals on documenting good practices on Youth Engagement and Leadership in the COVID-19 response. Following a selection process by the coordination team, the case study submitted by the Young Urban Women Movement emerged as one of the seven final case studies. The initiative which was supported by ActionAid Ghana with funding from ActionAid Denmark led to the training of 50 volunteers from the social movement. This publication is an outcome of the months-long effort of the organisations submitting good practices and the YES Coordination team, with the support of the Collective Helpdesk, UNAIDS, UN WOMEN and the Global Compact for Youth in Humanitarian Action.

The other case studies capture the following inspiring experiences:

  • Resourcing youth to become risk communicators and community mobilisers - UNICEF Pacific and Micronesia Red Cross Society (MRCS) 
  • COVID-19 prevention campaign with the distribution of supplies by local young women - BINDU Women Development and UN WOMEN Bangladesh
  • COVID-19 community sensitisation outreach - Young Urban Women’s Movement, Ghana
  • COVID-19 awareness campaign by youth - UNICEF Guinea Bissau
  • Developing youth initiatives to help those affected by the COVID-19 crisis  - Dar Abu Abdallah (DAA) and UNICEF Jordan
  • Sensitization about youth’s needs during the pandemic - Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network (MYAN), Australia
  • Documenting the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on marginalized youth - Asia South-Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Education (ASPBAE)

Read the full publication here