Humanitarian aid agency GOAL has teamed up with talented street artists in Zimbabwe and the Dropbox Foundation to create a striking Covid-19 themed mural highlighting the importance of social distancing.
Mural specialists, CaliGraph, created the impactful artwork in Mbare, a high-density suburb in the Zimbabwean capital Harare. Funded by the Dropbox Foundation, the colourful mural is themed on social distancing, a protection measure which remains a major challenge in Zimbabwe.
The mural’s message
CaliGraph is a public art collective made up of young people who paint murals in public spaces to communicate important societal and environmental messages. Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic they have created a number of murals on sites in Harare featuring popular celebrities wearing facemasks to help raise awareness of the virus.
GOAL asked the group to do a mural, with funding from the DropBox Foundation, as part of the agency’s Social Mobilisation Action for Covid-19 (SMAC) activities.
As of July 28th, Zimbabwe has recorded 2,512 cases of Covid-19 and 34 deaths, but cases have escalated in recent weeks. GOAL believes the figures may be much higher, as Zimbabwe, like much of Africa, is severely affected by testing limitations.
Public messaging as a tool to tackle Covid-19
Since March GOAL Zimbabwe has reached more than 2.5 million people in Zimbabwe with vital Covid-19 awareness messaging using various media platforms including radio and social media and a partnership with mobile advertising company Promobile. COVID-19 has added to other challenges the country is facing including a spiralling recession, hunger due to ongoing drought and the fallout of Cyclone Idai which struck last year.
Six Promobile mobile units have been travelling through areas around the country promoting awareness messaging on COVID-19 such as hand washing, social distancing and the use of face masks. The Promobile campaign GOAL is also integrating gender based violence (GBV) and child protection messaging.
Gabriella Prandini, Country Director for GOAL Zimbabwe, said the mural is a powerful and creative way of getting the ever-important social distancing message out there.
‘‘The mural will be a constant reminder to those in the community about the importance of social distancing as a protection against Covid-19, especially those who may not watch TV or listen to the radio. It has been great to collaborate with local artists CaliGraph who have done a fantastic job in Harare raising awareness of Covid-19, and we are thankful to Dropbox Foundation for funding this piece of artwork.’’
Tina Lee, Head of Social Impact at Dropbox said the Dropbox Foundation is delighted to be associated with this innovative and creative project.
“Covid-19 has presented huge challenges to people all over the world, but especially for vulnerable communities in developing countries living in very challenging contexts. We are delighted to have supported this project which is using local talent to deliver very important messaging for people in Harare.”
Since the start of the Covid-19 crisis last March, GOAL has reached almost 15 million people with Covid-19 awareness messaging across its 13 countries of operation. GOAL has also been using its Community-Led Action (CLA) approach in its response to the spread of the virus. This method was successfully adopted by the agency during the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014. The CLA approach involves communities developing various action plans at a local level, with community engagement being seen as a central part in minimizing the spread of the virus.