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September 15, 2023

Proposal to Address the Stigma and Discrimination through Strengthening Community Engagement in the COVID-19 Response

Project Overview

Involving communities is extremely important in all public health interventions. It should be at the heart of any public health intervention. Due to stigmas and discrimination stemming from COVID-19 misinformation at the community level, the need for an effective community engagement initiative was identified. Prioritizations lied in maintaining two-way communication with affected audiences and responding to their concerns and attitudes via hotlines and surveys, better engaging affected communities and groups, and establishing feedback mechanisms with healthcare workers.  

The Problem

Following the outbreak of COVID-19 in March 2020, numerous sources like media channels, employers, advertisers, district control teams initiated delivering information to the public regarding COVID-19. While the public was flooded with information and guidance, there were still communities that had not adopted protective behaviour and acted as a threat to the other’s health by not maintaining social distancing, not revealing symptoms, and not practising home isolation. 

The Solution

Sarvodaya supports the Government of Sri Lanka and to implement community engagement activities and protect citizens and frontline workers against COVID-19. Another component of this consists of organizing district level multisectoral review meetings to connect different sectors to share information and establish networks to respond to the current outbreak and prepare for future pandemic. Sarvodaya additionally supports by strengthening capacities of volunteers to prepare and respond as first respondents to the current outbreak and pandemics in the future.  

The Impact

In the long term, the project primarily aims to improve local services and wider policy outcomes, increase levels of trust in local service providers, improve quality of life and community wellbeing, and enhance community cohesion.  

Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement for the People in Need.