WhatsApp Groups in 13 languages take COVID awareness to Adivasi communities


By GV News Desk

17 June 2021

Gram Vikas is leveraging social media to reach remote rural communities with accurate, timely and reliable information on COVID-19 and the pandemic. Many of our partner communities are in Adivasi habitations, whose remote locations make the regular physical outreach hard during the pandemic. Original and adapted content in local Adivasi languages is addressing the challenge of the information gap among marginalised communities in Odisha.

The team started 17 WhatsApp groups through which they constantly reached out with information to partner village communities across 10 districts. We curated the contact numbers of approximately 900 Village Development Committee (VDC) members, frontline health workers (ASHA, Anganwadi, and ANM workers), teachers, and SHG members from 662 habitations. The team created geography and language-wise WhatsApp Groups for men and women to disseminate audio and visual content.

We identified the languages spoken by the partner village communities in different geographies in Odisha. These included ten Adviasi dialects, Kimse Saura, Jurei Saura, Lanjia Saura, Kui, Kalahandia, Sadri, Sambalpuri, Santali, Mohanta, and Mundari. In other villages, residents spoke Telugu, Hindi and Odia.

Gram Vikas identified and trained volunteers who speak these languages to collect testimonials, supporting content development on vaccine awareness, general covid awareness, government notifications, etc. Staff and volunteers recorded the audio/visual materials in the identified languages. The audiovisual set consists of 30 community testimonials on the importance of vaccines, general dos and don’ts, government campaign messages.

Gram Vikas also developed content with the SBI Youth for India Fellows like animation bytes on vaccine awareness, misinformation on vaccines, and COVID awareness. We also sourced content from Barefoot College and SEWA Bharat, which will be recorded in the identified local languages using voice overs.

In one of our animation videos, we talked about the difference between polio and COVID-19 vaccines. The video used character sketches that the local communities could relate to along with text cards.

We also shared the recorded testimonials of the Sarpanch, Village Development Committee members, SHG members, and frontline workers in the local language, which has inspired many to follow COVID-19 appropriate behaviour and register for vaccination.

Gram Vikas COVID-19 response efforts have so far reached out to 50,000 households and supported local governments and frontline health workers to counter the COVID-19 pandemic in some of the poorest regions of Odisha. Know more here.

Reporting by Tazeen Qureshy and Jaison Jose Thomas

Rufus Sunny is facilitating virtual training on basics of photography and videography for our community media volunteers.

Photograph by Jaison Jose Thomas


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