Awareness on Wheels
When the second wave of COVID-19 arrived in Nepal, prohibitory orders were put in place throughout many districts in the country. All services and transportation except most essential were shut down while cases of COVID-19 surge exponentially claiming lives of patients in a rate never seen before in Nepal.
Save the Children activated Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) actions within the community and Points of Entries (PoE) in collaboration with local government in Province 2. Messages on COVID-19 signs and symptoms, its prevention, mental health awareness, proper mask usage and gender-based violence during times of emergencies were disseminated through use of localized channels. One of the most popular and effective medium during the first wave was Awareness on Wheels, where these messages were broadcasted using miking and tempo (TukTuk). The Awareness on Wheels (AoW) continued this year expanding its reach to 18 rural/municpalities in working districts in Mahottari, Sarlahi, Saptari, Dhanusa and Udayapur.
The approach of AoW involves dissemination of messages by airing Public Service Announcements (PSA) through loudspeakers attached to a tempo, duly decorated with posters with lifesaving messages on COVID-19. PSAs in both Nepali and Maithili languages were aired via AoW to effectively reach all target group.
While all non-essential travel and transportation are banned in most areas in Province 2, the AoW has been deemed as an effective means of RCCE action by the local governments and have approved its movement even during the prohibition. Police Authorities in Bardibas, Mahottari have endorsed the idea of AoW by continuously airing prohibitory order PSAs through police vehicle since the lockdown.
Besides AoW, Save the Children along with its implementing partners have activated additional RCCE actions like messaging through PSAs and posters in Points of Entries, dissemination of PSAs through FM/Radio and miking in mosques. Taking the RCCE approach further, Interactive Voice Response (IVR) push messaging technology is being adopted by Save the Children to reach the community effectively and safely with COVID-19 messages.