Spreading awareness and keeping fit
Community volunteers on bikes
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In November 2020, twenty-year-old Tsega Gebrekidan fled her home country seeking safety. Today she resides in Um-Rakoba refugee camp in Sudan.
As she adjusted to the new environment and life, Gebrekidan searched for a job to earn a living and means to support herself. This is when she heard about the UNICEF-supported Social Behavioural Change (SBC) programme implemented in the refugee camp. She instantly joined the programme as a volunteer to raise awareness on COVID-19 and other disease outbreaks in her community.
‘’ When I joined, I found new friends, they were helpful and friendly, and we supported our community with raising awareness through key messages to improve their well-being,’’ she proudly said.
Gebrekidan is excited to be part of a wonderful team of volunteers.
“As a volunteer we love to support and help each other and reach people in need such as people with disabilities. We learned to work as one team,”
Through UNICEF support, made possible with funding from the US Bureau of Population, Refugees (USBPRM), Gebrekidan and 92 other volunteers in the two refugee camps of Um-Rakoba, and Tunaytba, received bicycles to support their mobilization activities as they strive to reach the most remote locations as well as support their movement within the camps.
For the young volunteers, the bicycles are serving more than one purpose. They use them to raise awareness but also keep fit.
“The bike is good for my health; I use it to exercise too. I had the honour of participating in the bicycle race event coordinated by the Rural Community Development Organisation (RCDO) in partnership with UNICEF and Norwegian Church Aid ( NCA),” Gebrekidan added. “Even though I didn’t win, I am happy that I participated and I love my bicycle!.”
As the young volunteers reach, engage and change their communities, they continue to benefit from the UNICEF-supported programme.
UNICEF in partnership with NCA, and RCDO has also established a community hub to support the young volunteers and community through capacity building and awareness raising activities. The hub offers life skills sessions that are empowering young girls, and boys and improving their self-resilience skills.
RCDO is also conducting focus groups discussion with the refugee communities on various topics including COVID-19 prevention, diseases outbreaks, and Gender Based Violence. Moreover, radio listening groups have also been created through the partnership with Gadarif State Radio Corporation, to record and broadcast community drama in the camps, benefiting the community.