Amid the coronavirus pandemic, a major challenge remains in parts of Africa, reaching many with the message of the virus and the need to observe Covid-19 protocols to bring down infections.
In Ghana’s rural communities, there are many who still don’t believe the virus is real but one young man is helping to change the narrative.
30-year old Yaw Barwuah goes round his community in Ghana’s Ashanti region, sensitizing people about the deadly coronavirus.
As a social activist who runs a small NGO called B.Y foundation, this is his little contribution to fight against the pandemic wreaking havoc in Ghana and elsewhere.
But in recent months Barwuah has taken his activism on the virus digital. He launched a digital training program that engages many young people.
He uses Facebook and WhatsApp among other social media platforms to mentor other young people, turning them into agents of change on Covid-19.
Why the need for social media
Barwuah explained that “We choose the online because when you are able to educate them or train them online it gets to a lot of people because when you connect one, we are meeting over hundreds of people to connect with and they all are part of the session or training.
And this hundred or two hundred people can also go there and impact about two thousand to twenty thousand people because they spread the message and we make them believe that they are the hero and the change of the people.”
In many rural communities in Ghana, many people do not believe that the coronavirus is real. In such areas, people don’t observe any Covid-19 protocols to remain safe.
Barwuah said reaching out to such people through the young agents of change is crucial in winning the fight against the virus.
“We have a lot of percentages of people that still doesn’t believe that the coronavirus is real especially in the trotros we have people who don’t even wear this facemasks in the trotro and this where we pick this virus from. So we are able to talk to them and give them some facemasks that we share to them. I think it is a very laudable thing and it is also making impact in our society,” he said.
Some 60 kilometres away from the city of Kumasi is young Solomon Nkrumah who is in his twenties.
Mentoring new activists
He goes round to speak about Covid-19 to people in his vicinity near Kumasi. He is one of the beneficiaries of Barwuah’s trainings via WhatsApp.
Nkrumah said it has been gratifying accessing the needed tools to become an agent of change in his community.
He said “Because of what I have gotten from that training, I am not selfish to the sense that wherever I go I need not to tell people because it is a good education that we must put in place.
I have benefitted a lot from it so wherever I make sure I proclaim. This virus is not a small issue that we must play with it. So wherever I go when I tell them this is what they should do, I feel happy.”
Barwuah is excited his little initiative is already impacting hundreds of young people like Nkrumah.
He struggles though to raise enough funds to widen his digital program but that isn’t discouraging him.
“I am never giving up the fight and it is our time and I believe that this vision, if I am giving all the opportunities I need, I want to see this legacy grow up to bring a change to our world and our society,” he said.
Ghana is still struggling to reduce community infections in many communities when it comes to Covid-19.
The digital activism of Barwuah should go a long way to support the fight in such vulnerable communities.