UNMISS part of Jonglei joint COVID-19 effort making the most of women’s potential to influence
A joint, statewide COVID-19 awareness campaign in Jonglei is tapping into the great potential of women to influence social behavior by spreading vital messages on how to prevent a further outbreak of the infectious virus currently plaguing the world.
“We are telling everyone that they should avoid settings where people normally gather, such as places where they play domino or cards, or where wrestling matches are arranged,” says Adau Recho from the Women Empowerment Centre in South Sudan, one of several civil society organizations involved in the preventative initiative spearheaded by the Jonglei high-level task force, the World Health Organization and the United Nations Mission in South Sudan.
Ms. Recho and Adau Katarina Ding from the organization Child Bride Solidarity spoke to Peace Radio on the topic “The COVID-19 pandemic: you and your safety”, clarifying modes of transmission and practices such as hand hygiene, non-physical greetings and social distancing that citizens must adopt to minimize the impact of the Coronavirus.
“The number of COVID-19 cases in the country keeps increasing, and when it gets here, the situation will become very serious because our people are still gathering together in inappropriate ways,” says Ms. Recho, noting that testing is yet to begin in Jonglei, a state which so far has no recorded infections.
Having women convey important messages on virus prevention is a strategic choice based on their traditional role as citizens others look up to and consult for advice.
“Women constitute a majority of the persons who are out and about and meeting lots of other people, and they are capable of talking to others in a way that is well understood and respected without creating conflicts,” says Adau Katarina Ding.
South Sudan currently has 203 confirmed cases of the Coronavirus. Two infected persons are known to have recovered from the disease, and as of yesterday the country has not recorded any COVID-19 related deaths.
The United Nations Mission in South Sudan is financially supporting radio talk shows and the airing of repeated public service announcements on how to keep communities safe from the Coronavirus.