29 April 2020

Our co-founder Dr Sharath Srinivasan joined a prestigious panel of humanitarian practitioners to discuss understanding the concerns, perceptions, and misinformation barriers to practicing preventative behaviours in Sub-Saharan Africa in the wake of COVID-19 and what can be done to address them. Dr Srinivasan joined Kathryn Bertram, READY / Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs and Sharon Reader, IFRC Africa Regional Office. Held on April 29th, the webinar formed part of the latest in READY’s weekly webinar series, COVID-19 and Humanitarian Settings: Knowledge and Experience Sharing (view the series playlist on YouTube).

 Dr Srinivasan’s contribution to the webinar is part of our wider efforts to disseminate the ground-breaking work that Africa’s Voices has been doing in Somalia and Kenya to put the voices of citizens at the heart of an effective public health response. Findings from our Somalia rapid diagnostic have made an important contribution within Somalia, the region and the world while in Kenya we are instilling a culture of accountability by convening media-based encounters between citizens and duty bearers at the forefront of the government’s response. AVF is an active and vocal participant in coordination mechanisms, including the inter-cluster RCCE Taskforce and the sub-group on radio. Together with our frequent contribution to webinars and other similar forums, these wider efforts to contribute to collective thinking on sector-wide best practice will continue throughout our COVID-19 programming. 

Follow-up discussion questions are posted on READY’s discussion forum (registration required).

View the webinar recording here.

Webinar Summary

Recent reports and provisional modeling by UN agencies and the WHO estimate that the number of cases and lives lost in Africa due to COVID-19 could surge within 3-6 months. Urban populations are of particular concern since the majority live in overcrowded neighborhoods, while unreliable access to hand-washing facilities and widespread rumors and misinformation are challenges in both rural and urban settings. In this webinar, Sharon Reader, Senior Advisor for Community Engagement and Accountability, IFRC Africa Regional Office, and Sharath Srinivasan, co-founder and Senior Advisor, Africa’s Voices Foundation, discussed the work they are doing to understand the concerns, perceptions, and misinformation barriers to practicing preventative behaviors in Sub-Saharan African countries, and what is being done to address them.

Moderator: Kathryn Bertram, Social Behavior Change Advisor, READY; Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs

Expert Speakers:

  • Sharath Srinivasan, Co-founder and Senior Advisor, Africa’s Voices Foundation
  • Sharon Reader, Community Engagement and Accountability, IFRC Africa Regional Office

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