NICE takes COVID-19 sensitisation campaign to another level through door-to-door

By Chimwemwe Mphande, MANA

National Initiative for Civic Education Trust (NICE) in Machinga has started door-to-door sensitisation meetings with households on COVID-19 prevention measures.

NICE’s Civic Education Officer for the district, Bowlender Muonjeza has described the approach as the most convenient way of reaching out to people to have serious COVID-19 discussions especially on the Government’s new preventive measures it has put in place.

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“We want to be in line with these measures, hence the door-to-door approach of disseminating COVID-19 control messages to communities,” he said.

The exercise is being done by NICE volunteers together with area civic education coordinators that are spread across the district who are interacting with the communities on how they could participate in public life whilst observing COVID-19 preventive measures.

Liwonde Main Market’s traders vice-chairperson, Abudu Bisa said they are doing everything possible to inform each other about ways of preventing COVID-19.

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He, however, said the market lacks hand washing facilities, saying only those trading in food such as restaurants, have managed to place buckets and soap at their business premises.

“Our committee will make sure that all people plying their trade including those coming to buy goods and services are well informed about COVID-19.

“We will also emulate the NICE-approach of meeting individuals one by one,” he said.

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Vice-chairperson for Minibus Association of Malawi-Liwonde Chapter, Patrick Kawechere also promised to continue sensitising minibus drivers, conductors and passengers on the preventive measures.

“We will make sure that passengers are not crowded in minibuses and that drivers, conductors and passengers wash their hands frequently,” he said.

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However, Kawechere asked organisations to support them with hand washing facilities, saying buckets at the bus depot were not enough to serve the many of its patrons.

Meanwhile, Lilongwe Social Welfare Office in liaison with Youth Net and Counseling (YONECO), has embarked on repatriating beggars and their families from the streets to their original homes to protect them from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Social Welfare Officer, Jean Nthengwe said they were targeting street kids having observed that they have not been observing COVID-19 preventive measures and that are at high risk of being infected.

Nthengwe said they carried out an assessment showed that they live to survive and do not care about any development that endangers their lives.

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She said her office, in liaison with YONECO, was prompted to engage the kids and make follow up of where they come from to assess if they can be repatriated, but also engage their guardians on the possibility of repatriating them.

“We engaged with parents of the children after getting detailed information from the scouted children,” she said.

Nthengwe added that two families of some girls they approached engaged agreed to be repatriated to their homes in Dedza and Chiradzulu but asked to be supported financially upon their return.

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“We have currently engaged different stakeholders to support us with resources to assist in the repatriation which will require transportation and food starter packs.”—Additional reporting by Chimwemwe Njoloma