06 May 2020, Conakry – In Guinea, returned migrants have been equipped with basic skills to help their communities prevent the spread of COVID-19, including combatting misinformation.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM)’s Migrants as Messengers project volunteers took part in a training session on 22 April, conducted by Dr. Fatoumata Sanassy Keita at the office of l’Organisation Guinéenne pour la Lutte contre la migration Irrégulière (OGLMI).
“We have to recognize that a lot of people currently are relying on false information,” said Rama, one of eleven Migrants as Messengers volunteers who participated in the training.
“Today, people don’t believe in this sickness, but we can’t let them get this into their head that the sickness doesn’t exist,” said Diarra, another Migrant as Messengers volunteer.
In addition to basic training on how to correctly wear facemasks, wash hands, and practice social distancing, the participants were provided with information to share on how their communities can get help if they experience symptoms.
“A lot of people think that if they are sick, they will face stigmatization. We are going to help people understand that if someone is sick, they have to go to the hospital. They shouldn’t be ashamed to say they are sick,” said Elhadj, Migrants as Messengers volunteer.
As of 2 May, Guinea has identified 1,650 positive cases of COVID-19.
The eleven volunteers across the country will be equipped with hygiene kits and focus outreach on awareness-raising around COVID-19 with female community members in the coming weeks. The outreach will be conducted in local languages.
“We know that it is through women that good practices can be conveyed in the home, particularly handwashing. This is why we want to target them in our awareness-raising,” said Mariama, Migrants as Messengers volunteer.
"These are women that we have identified in our respective neighborhoods, they come from all the communes of Conakry," explains Elhadj.
Migrants as Messengers is a Netherlands Government-funded peer-to-peer awareness-raising campaign that empowers young people in West Africa to make informed decisions about migration.
As part of the Risk Communications and Community Engagement (RCCE) COVID-19 Response Committee for West and Central Africa, IOM is helping to make region-specific community engagement materials on COVID-19 accessible to practitioners through CoronaWestAfrica.info.
For more information, please contact Florence Kim at IOM Regional Office for West and Central Africa; Tel: +221 78 620 62 13; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org