08 Dec 2020 ‘Get vaccinated against misinformation’ radio campaign by WACC partner yields positive results
About 42, 360 inhabitants of remote Indigenous communities in Guerrero, Mexico are being provided with life-saving information about Covid-19, thanks to WACC-supported radio programs in Mixtec and Spanish produced by local partner, Centro de Investigación en Comunicación Comunitaria A.C. (CICCAC).
Broadcast on Radio Zapata 94.1 FM, the radio campaign – Get Vaccinated Against Misinformation – seeks to provide clear and truthful information about Covid-19 “to counteract the problem of disinformation, disbelief and disorientation that exists in the region,” said CICC in its project report to WACC. CICC received support from the fundraising campaign launched in April 2020 by WACC,Communication Saves Lives: Rapid Response Fund for Community Media.
Informing remote communities about the coronavirus is critical, said CICC, noting that 90% of Indigenous communities in Guerrero lack accessible, free and quality health services. The Na Savi community, for instance, is located between five to seven hours to the nearest hospitals. But these hospitals have also been struggling with a lack of support and resources: two hospitals no longer accept Covid-19 patients; the Tlapa hospital now has only four doctors to serve the 400,000 inhabitants of 19 municipalities.
“Due to the lack of basic infrastructure, drinking water is scarce in many Indigenous communities and it is impossible to maintain hygiene measures,” added the CICC.
Aggravating the problem is the fact that most men in the communities are temporary migrants, who because of the pandemic, were not able to make the trip to earn the little money that allows their families to survive. “The towns where the Radio Zapata signal reaches are Na Savi, Me Phaa and Mestizos, and their economic conditions are hovering between extreme poverty and poverty, a situation that in the midst of the pandemic becomes a very high factor risk to people’s lives,” it said.
The WACC grant allowed CICC and Radio Zapata to train community promoters, who were then able to produce 16 radio capsules in Spanish and Tun Savi, which complemented other actions that have been implemented by different Indigenous communities elsewhere, including Latin America, where the peoples of the Amazon isolated their elders to protect them, and in Mexico, where the Zapatista communities of Chiapas closed its territory.
Between August and September of this year, the Radio Zapata team participated in a training process on basic notions on COVID-19, they made recordings on the subject and carried out the necessary radio post-production to start the information campaign, said the CICC.
The major positive outcome of the campaign was that “doubts about the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the COVID-19 disease were dispelled among the community promoters of Radio Zapata,” said the CICC. “This is important because, as they are actors of change in their communities, the information they share through the capsules but also through the live programming of the radio has a great scope and implies a great responsibility.”
The CICC said the radio campaign reached 40 communities, of which 20,867 are women and 21,493 are men.
The most important change generated by the project is “the free and free access to truthful information in Mixtec about the causes, consequences and care about COVID-19,” said the CICC. “There is a lot of information in Spanish, but indigenous communities do not usually have access to it as the language becomes a barrier.” Providing communities with accurate, timely and useful information, contributes to the fulfillment of their right to information, it added.
“The reaction of the community promoters was very positive. There was interest in taking the awareness workshop,” said the CICC. It added, however, that since it is not possible as yet to return to Indigenous territories during the pandemic, CICC would have to conduct its community evaluation/diagnosis on the effectiveness of the campaign, at a later date.
All radio material created as part of the campaign are being made available to the general public and other radio stations are given free access to reproduce and disseminate them.
Indigenous community promoters air radio campaign to counter misinformation about Covid-19 in remote communities of Guerrero, Mexico. Photo: CICCAC