By Lusayo Singogo & Chikondi Basikolo
While learners are locked up in their homes due to the COVID- 19 pandemic, SWET Project has decided to provide them with the much-needed education by partnering with teachers to sensitise the learners on the pandemic’s prevention measures right from their households.
Speaking during an Integrated Communication Campaign for the Prevention of COVID-19 held at Chiwoko and Dzenza Teachers Development Centres in traditional authorities (T.A.s) Tsabango and Chitukula, respectively, SWET’s Project Officer, Dennis Sinchaya said there was need to ensure school-aged children have right messages on the pandemic to ensure their safety.
Sinchaya said the on-going campaign focuses on behavioural change towards COVID-19 prevention and is one way of alerting school-aged children on the need to adopt positive behaviour in relation to Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).
“Messages about COVID-19 are everywhere but we decided to implement this campaign to strengthen the adoption of the recommended prevention measures.
“We are targeting school-aged children and hope to see an increase in the adoption of preventive behaviours, especially towards the management and prevention of COVID-19,” Sinchaya said.
He explained they, as SWET, are reaching out to learners through teachers living in surrounding communities, saying they relate better with children as they are trained professionals.
“Each teacher will have to visit 25 households and sensitise the learners about COVID-19,” he said.
According to Sinchaya, they take COVID-19 key prevention messages to learners’ homes because it would be difficult to control and make them observe social distance if they were to be assembled.
The campaign has other components adopted by the organisation in the dissemination of COVID-19 prevention messages to the public such as the use of social media and mass media in which they produce radio spots as well as jingles.
Primary Education Advisor (PEA) for Dzenza Zone, Polina Nkhunga hailed the development, stating that it would not only benefit the leaners but communities as well.
“Teachers have already benefitted a lot from the briefing meetings SWET conducted. The briefings have given us a true picture of the pandemic and answered our questions relating to the disease.
“This will help the teachers to deliver the right information to learners effectively,” she said.
The PEA pledged to work hand in hand with teachers so that all households within the communities are reached.
Annie Gama, a teacher at Kawale Full Primary School in T.A. Tsabango hailed SWET for the campaign, saying it is a good initiative that will fuel positive change and vowed to play her role diligently.
“As a passionate teacher, I will play a leading role in the fight against COVID-19 by taking the pandemic’s key preventive messages to the learners.
“It will be a chain of passing on the information because the learners will also share to whoever they are in contact with across the communities,” said Gama.
Apart from Lilongwe, implementation of the campaign which is funded by UKAID through UNICEF, also targets Mzuzu, Zomba and Dedza. It took off on March 23, 2020 and is expected to finish on July 23.-MANA