POSTED January 13, 2021
Peer-to-peer education is building knowledge about COVID-19
See how young people in Ghana are responding to the messages to keep safe
By William Anim-Dankwa, communications manager, Ghana
There was laughter and giggling as I approached Mustapha, 16; Aisha, 15 (above); and Abdul-Karim, 11 (below), leaning on walls apart from one another, wearing masks and seemingly amused by their senior mates.
The students were discussing COVID-19. I joined to test their knowledge, asking them: ‘how do you contract the virus?’ Their answers showed they know enough to protect themselves.
They told me that they’ve learned from radio ads and announcements in various languages. They also heard Children Believe-sponsored broadcasts through a loudspeaker from vans driven through their community.
They told me that before they took interest, there were rumours a person would die once contracting the virus. This made them very afraid. Aisha explained the initial fear changed when she realized the truth and learned other valuable insights. “I realized that if I could warn people to be careful and share the knowledge, it can save many people in my community,” she said.
Abdul-Karim explained how he’d learned about the importance of social-distancing. By this time, Mustapha, who had been smiling to himself, joined the conversation. He told us he heard the virus has no legs, and if people in the community stay home — when they have nothing to do outside — infection will be limited. They also agreed regular handwashing was far better than using hand-sanitizer, which isn’t available in their community.
When I asked whether they understood stigma, they recounted the case of a member of the community who returned home after treatment to find nobody would touch anything he touched. Aisha said it was difficult, because if they were not certain he was completely better, it was natural people would protect themselves. I reminded them what we’ve been sharing in our education programs, noting that if they follow the COVID-19 protocols there’s no need to be afraid, especially since people who have been affected need community support.
They were happy to have informed their friends about COVID -19. They’re confident they’ve learned a lot about the virus and will be ready to write about their experiences when school reopens in a few days.
The eager students are thankful to Children Believe supporters and grateful to the organization for updating the community about keeping safe during the pandemic, opening the discussion about treating COVID-19 patients fairly and for sending PPE to the local health facility.
As of today, Ghana has 56,230 cases, according to reports from the World Health Organization. More than 450 cases were recorded in the last 24 hours.
To learn more about how you can help today, visit childrenbelieve.ca/covid-19.