Joseph Komakech, 28, is a father of two young children. As Covid-19 hit Uganda, he was concerned for the well-being of his family. He didn’t know much about the disease but was determined to find out all he could to keep his family safe.
Sitting in his compound in Alwee Keyo village, northern Uganda, he spends hours listening to the radio. With poor internet access, radio is a vital channel of communication for many people.
GOAL, supported by Irish Aid, has sponsored a variety of Covid-19 radio talk shows to inform communities about the virus. For Joseph, and thousands like him, radio is the go-to place to get information to help them keep safe.
These radio shows provide awareness messaging to 10 counties across Agago District every Friday on Radio Wang OOH FM. The guests include health experts from the local districts who share information on preventing the spread ofCovid-19 , such as hand washing, social distancing and cough hygiene.
Joseph learnt about the radio shows while in his neighbour’s home. At that stage his own radio was broken.
Joseph says: “These shows are so important, but I did not have a radio in my house. So, I decided to sell a basin of dry maize so that I could pay to repair my old radio. Now my family are ‘glued’ to the radio, and we don’t have to go to our neighbour’s house.”
Over 1.5 million people reached across Uganda
In other parts of Uganda, similar messaging campaigns have reached over 1.5 million people. These campaigns are vital as many people have no other sources of information. Radio and social media are playing a major role in ensuring communities get accurate and timely messaging, and help prevent disinformation.
The shows have helped keep people safe and enabled behavioural change. Joseph, has dubbed the shows his ‘Corona Time’. He has since installed hand washing equipment at the entrance of his home.
Joseph even called into one of the live talk shows to express his gratitude. On air he said: “I want to thank GOAL Uganda and its partners. We listen every week and the shows have helped keep my family informed and safe during this pandemic.”
Since the onset of Covid-19, Uganda has officially recorded over 39,000 cases of the disease and over 300 deaths. The true number could be a lot higher.
In addition to messaging, GOAL Uganda is providing Covid-19support to 10 local health facilities and has provided over 70,000 households with soap and other hygiene items.
GOAL has reached over 17 million people with Covid-19 awareness and supports since March 2020.