Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Ms. Sibongile Nyirenda
When COVID-19 was discovered, it took the world by storm. I was one of the individuals who was skeptical about this new disease. I always thought it was one of those diseases that would not affect my country. Unfortunately, Malawi was not spared from the pandemic. All I could see were rising numbers of people affected by the disease but I still had doubts that it would affect people around me. My family members and friends got infected by the disease and that is when I knew, this disease is real.
When I arrived in my community, I learned that some community members had a similar mindset to the one I had until a health center near the community was closed due to Covid-19, and some members in the community were found positive in the previous year. Efforts have been made to make the community more aware of Covid-19 but some community members would rather not believe what outsiders are teaching them. I decided to work with individuals in my community to help sensitize fellow community members about Covid-19 prevention measures and vaccination. There were a lot of misconceptions about the vaccine and with the help of the sensitization team, these misconceptions were cleared and questions were answered.
The sensitization meetings were engaging. The community members I worked with decided to add an element of drama acts in these meetings. I was amazed by the talent these members have. They never had the time to practice or perfect their drama scenes but managed to come up with instant scenes that were so amazing and captivating. These drama acts brought life to the sensitization meetings and they were both educating and very funny. I was mostly intrigued by two young men who were spearheading the scenes. When I asked about their acting experience and if they had acted together before, their response was that they had never acted together but had recognized each other’s talents during one of the youth initiatives that was held in the community.
These drama acts are something that attract community members to sensitization meetings and can be used as a tool to reach both the young and old on topics about Covid-19 and other crucial issues affecting the world. It is safe to say that these individuals were an asset that was needed for the one good act needed for change. I am so excited to work with a community that is willing to influence change by using the assets within the community.