Engage with existing community-based networks, media, local NGOs, schools, local governments and other sectors such, education sector, business using a consistent mechanism of communication to increase the impact of communications campaigns. Existing messaging has reached a large percentage of the population, however, this has not yet resulted in widespread compliance with COVID-19 prevention measures and required practices. An assessment is underway to better understand the impact of current risk communications campaigns and to adjust the messaging the increase the impact. High-risk areas, including Khartoum State, will be targeted as part of this review.
Risk communications and community engagement efforts are being coordinated by UNICEF. UNICEF and WHO produced Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials, which were made available in different languages, such as leaflets, posters, videos, animations and songs that provide information on COVID-19 symptoms, prevention guidelines, encourage the adoption of positive health practices and recommend staying at home. Nearly 25.8 million people were reached with messages through SMS subscribed in the three mobile networks and digital media. In addition, COVID-19 messages were shared through more than 20 electronic/online newspapers, 13 daily newspapers, to 2014 media personnel on the WhatsApp platform and television reporters of 30 TV channels (national and international). The combined reach of these efforts is an estimated at 31 million people.
UNDP and its partners conducted risk communication and community engagement in 13 communities in South Kordofan, West Kordofan, North Kordofan, Sennar and Blue Nile states. Activities focused on awareness-raising among religious leaders about the need to frequently disinfect mosques and places of worship, community radio broadcast on COVID-19, one-on-one sensitization messaging on COVID-19 using loudspeakers, and the posting of posters on billboards/public structures. The exercise targeted a total of 39,210 households. UNDP had used community-level institutions (community management committees – CMCs) established earlier during its community stabilization programming.
The focus during the last two weeks has been Eid messaging including good practices such as social distancing. The Risk Communications Pillar is working with religious leaders to amplify this messaging.
UNFPA has implemented outreach programmes in Khartoum, While Nile and River Nile states as part of its nationwide awareness-raising campaign on COVID-19 prevention messages led by youth networks and NGOs. Youth groups used loudspeakers to target gatherings and high-risk areas with COVID-19 awareness massages. In coordination with the State Ministry of Health (SMoH) in Blue Nile State, UNFPA supported a Youth Network in recording and airing COVID-19 prevention messages on the local state radio station. These radio sessions covered basic information about COVID-19 prevention methods and stay at home orders. UNFPA also supported youth to produce public murals on walls on public streets carrying COVID-19 messages.
IOM through the Migrant Resource and Response Centre (MRRC) in Khartoum reached out to 1,235 migrants (mixed nationalities) with COVID-19 awareness SMS messages. The MRRC is also undertaking protection activities to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable migrants, such as the phone-based medical and PSS counselling.
UNHCR continues to deliver information-sharing, prevention measures and community engagement campaigns throughout Sudan. In White Nile State, all nine major refugee camps and surrounding host communities were reached through mobile speakers, trained community leaders, outreach workers, and posters in coordination with the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD), the Saharan International Development Organization (SIDO) and Plan International Sudan (PIS).
UNHCR, COR, the Ministry of Health (MoH) and WFP carried out an information sharing and sensitization campaign using posters and outreach to community leaders on COVID-19 in El Fasher, North Darfur State. The campaign was carried out during a food distribution exercise targeting 1,252 South Sudanese refugees between 17-19 May 2020. COR and MoH were present during the exercise to ensure that COVID-19 measures were adhered to.
The risk communications pillar is working to map partners and activities at the state level in order to streamline efforts.
Across Sudan foreign children and youth who have been studying at religious schools (khalwas) are stranded after the authorities removed many Sudanese children from those religious schools. In Khartoum state, 184 foreign children (mainly, Chadians, but also some South Sudanese) are stranded across 19 schools, and in Gedaref state 54 foreign youth are stranded in six religious schools. They are in urgent needs of awareness raising information related to COVID-19 and hygiene kits, PPE, and food support. In addition, Sudanese children remaining in these schools also need basic support such as health screenings, access to WASH facilities, and potential identification, tracing and reunification for those who maintain family links.