In early April 2020, many remote villages away from major cities in D.R. Congo were still learning to navigate between myths and reality about COVID-19 as the country announced its first confirmed cases. That was the case in the Rutshuru territory. One of the leaders of Relay Community Network took action after receiving the World Health Organization guidelines to sensitize his community in the Bwito local collectivity.
The Bwito local collectivity is a region made of 7 local tribal groups, 80 notabilities which are divided into 37 major village centers. This vast community with over 82,000 people represents the constituents of Chief Benoît Muhirwa, the Bwito head tribal chief and an active Relay Community Network’s leader. In this environment, information travels slowly from one village to another due to poor internet connectivity. Knowing this, Muhirwa decided to personally share the information amongst his constituents to fight Coronavirus in Rutshuru.
The tailored posters sent by the Relay Community Network helped Muhirwa to call for a change in social behavior. “People were used to shaking hands or gathering in groups whenever they meet. Now they know these behaviors represent a high risk of contamination.”, explains the leader.
Muhirwa traveled to several villages including Matanda, Karuba, and Bweremana to sensitize and distribute the posters to his constituents, who would fix them in public places like markets, schools, water-pump venues, etc.