South Africa: Activists Step Up Door-to-Door Work to Protect Poor Communities

analysis

One of the lasting lessons of the Aids epidemic has been the importance of involving communities directly in epidemic prevention, treatment and care. In addition, it has been understood that community activists, who are known and trusted by local residents, are usually the best people to mobilise communities behind public health messages.

Almost three weeks after South Africa declared a State of National Disaster, and in the face of mounting evidence that many communities still distrust and don't completely understand key messages about Covid-19 prevention, the value of supporting community mobilisation has barely been recognised.

As a result, activists are once more doing it for themselves and these are some of the activities Maverick Citizen has heard about.

There's new energy and purpose in civil society. In a mere three weeks, more than 200 organisations from every walk of activism have joined a new civil society alliance called the C-19 People's Coalition. A website has been set up, WhatsApp groups buzz 24 hours a day, eight working groups meet almost daily to focus on different areas of the response and energy is being channelled towards the people most vulnerable to Covid-19 - the poor and socially marginalised.

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