COVID19 shocked the world and caught most countries unprepared including Liberia. At the inception of the coronavirus pandemic in Liberia, resources were not initially available; there were denial and misinformation in communities about the virus including limited understanding about its signs, symptoms, and effects. With limited information about preventive measures and increasing confirmed cases, there was an urgent need for an innovative action.
Naymote Partners for Democratic Development drawing its experience from Ebola quickly mobilized local communities and engaged them through 45 locally-based organizations to help respond to the fight. NAYMOTE with approval from two of its partners, the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) and National Endowment for Democracy (NED) redirected ongoing project funds and initiated the “Community Action Platform Against covid19” project, a community-driven social mobilization and innovative program to prepare communities to adequately help combat covid19.
The project had two outcomes all built around awareness creation and mobilizing community resilience anchored on experience and available information on the virus. The month-long project was implemented across the 17 electoral districts in Montserrado County and ended on June 15, 2020. A total of LD $2,050,805.00 was used to support this initiative.
The project increased grassroots response to the fight against COVID-19, enhanced community engagements and ownership. As a result of the Project, ‘’there is an increased awareness in communities about the virus, project communities are observing preventive measures, some citizens are considering voluntary testing and in general, the level of denial is reducing due to our engagements with them. Project communities have openly engaged and appreciated the project especially its partnership framework and innovation for the efforts and health messages disseminated to keep their communities safe and well as they participate in activities and provide their voices; sharing their experiences during discussions’’.
During the implementation of the Community Action Platform Against COVID-19 project, the institution used innovative grassroots approaches and mobilized 225 affected and vulnerable communities to respond to the COVID19 pandemic in Liberia. 45 Community-Based Organizations and network groups across Montserrado County were supported to conduct robust social mobilization activities, their engagements reached and educated 52,243 citizens, comprising of (23,712 males and 28,531 females), across all 17 electoral districts in Montserrado County.
The project targeted and supported people living with disabilities organizations, women groups, youth groups, community-based organizations, local media outlets, and local government administration.
With increasing confirmed cases, there was an urgent need for innovative action. NAYMOTE having Ebola Experience, quickly mobilized local communities, and engaged them through locally-based organizations. As of June 13, 2020, Liberia total confirmed cases have reached 458, total deaths 32; recovered cases 219, and active cases 207. These cases are mostly transmitted through communities. The two hotspots counties are Montserrado with 385 confirmed cases, and Margibi with 30 confirmed cases followed by Grand Bassa (9); Nimba (12) and Gbarpolu (7).
Realizing the power of technology to reach many people and reinforce engagements, the institution hired 15 volunteers and reactivated its call center at the institution’s head office in Monrovia which disseminated COVID19 awareness information to thousands of citizens via phone calls, using the institution contact database of over 12,000 citizens across the country. A WhatsApp chatroom was established for information sharing and is continually active as the 45 organizations are engaged and sharing information.