Relay Community Network is a network of more than 7000 tribal community leaders spread across 100 refugee communities worldwide that REFUNITE works with to communicate with and mobilize last-mile populations. Using online and offline channels and the power of this community-based peer to peer network, REFUNITE is able to reach more than 7 million people with information.
REFUNITE and Relay Community Network leaders have come to learn through interviews that the majority of their constituents would not understand the concept and the importance of social distancing for preventing the spread of COVID-19.
Based on this finding, our team has developed a series of informative materials and shared it with the leaders. One of the Congolese leaders, Marcellin Biriko, decided to travel to three remote villages of the North Kivu province. His objective was to inform the population about the pandemic and how to prevent contamination.
He organized sessions in Matanda, Karuba, and Bweremana districts located in the Masisi territory. These informative meetings gathered 45 women and 21 men, all spread out to both ensure participant safety, as well as using the meeting as an opportunity to demonstrate in practice what we teach. The participants were chiefs of a tribe, heads of a village, territory administrators, and counselors.
“It’s important to focus our teachings to women because, according to our culture, when a woman is informed, all community is informed as well since she shares the information with her family, neighbors, etc.”, says Biriko about his strategy about selecting more women for the community engagement.
Marcellin Biriko has also asked each participant to fix the Relay Community Network posters at the public places in their respective villages.