UNESCO has launched a communication campaign in reinforcement to UN and national efforts against the coronavirus in partnership with @ElimikaWikiendi, a popular Kiswahili online social media platform in Tanzania and Eastern Africa for public education in development.
The campaign aims to support solidarity, counter misinformation, hate speech and myths, tackle racism, promote resources for education and distance learning, protection of journalists, and support quality, gender-responsive and accurate programming by media, particularly the community radios.
In preventing the spread of the pandemic, access to quality, gender-responsive and accurate information is key to dispel myths, curb the spread of fear and ensure that the public has the facts to keep themselves and others safe from acquiring and/or spreading the disease.
Media can also play a key role in curtailing hate speech and racism at this time. In Tanzania, reports from foreigners have shown experiences of name-calling on the streets and the general fear of contracting the disease from foreigners is noticeable. Public information on health and sanitation is imperative at this time, particularly to rural and hard to reach communities mainly reached by community radios, which UNESCO supports.
On 17 March, the government banned all public gatherings and closed schools from pre-school to tertiary level. Tanzania is among the 13 high-risk countries for COVID-19 as classified by WHO AFRO. This communications plan fulfills the requirement for a robust and multi-sector preparedness and response plan to ensure readiness and agency-led action for any outbreak. In all outreach and interventions, content, programming, and broadcasting adequately incorporate and address considerations for gender and human rights unique to this crisis.