In July, The Ministry of Local Government (Minaloc) put six cells of Nyamagabe and Nyamasheke districts in Rwanda under lockdown.
Kigeme in Gasaka Sector and Ruhunga in Kibirizi sector -Nyamagabe were affected. To date, Kigeme cell in Gakoma village is still under lockdown.
According to a statement by Minaloc, the decision was a result of a health assessment done after the pandemic was confirmed in some parts of the two districts.
Radio Ishingiro, a community radio program based in Northern Province in partnership with Water Aid, together with the district of Nyamagabe recently carried out ant- COVID campaign in Gasarenda Market- Nyamagabe District, Southern Province.
Dubbed ‘mobile /market place campaign’, is an ongoing two months communication campaign aimed at educating people on the importance of good hygiene and sanitation, through behavior change and mindset.
The same campaign has been conducted in Bugesera district as well, targeting market places.
Bonaventure Uwamahoro, mayor of Nyamagabe district said so far, the existing communication campaigning strategies in the district have turn out to be impactful.
For instance, he mentioned that before the campaign, less than 150 people in his district had embraced the cashless system but at the moment, the number has risen to 800 people.
The mayor said the campaign has also helped in changing the mindset of the residents, as most of them now know what’s required of them. However, he urged them to continue adhering to measures put in place to combat the spread of the virus.
Among the activities carried out during the campaign included using sound systems, moderators, and Q &A sessions
Residents were asked questions regarding hygiene and their role in the community to help curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Those who got the questions right and give real examples on what they do, were awarded hygiene items including soaps, water stands, and face masks.
Ildephonse Sinabubariranga, the managing Director, Radio Ishingiro said behavior change can result in good sanitation, for instance, if people understand the reasons for washing hands, putting stands at their home becomes easy.
“As media industries and practitioners, apart from informing and entertaining, we have a big role in educating the public, which is fundamental as far as passing the right information on COVID 19 is concerned,” he said.
He cited that it’s not all about talking to people but talking with them.
“With information on COVID 19 everywhere, everyone is aware of the virus. However, letting them express what they know to others helps one understand well what is required of them,” he added.
Odette Kampogo, a 70-year-old resident of Tare sector, Nyamagabe who was among those awarded hygiene items said apart from just her own health, understanding the repercussion of what the virus can cause is the way forward, and that youth should be at the forefront in understanding this, so that they can pass information to others.