Community Mobilizers Make a Difference in the Field
250 community mobilizers conduct a variety of activities to raise awareness and promote lifesaving practices on COVID-19 in communities in five districts in Abyan, AlDhale’e, and Shabwah governorates
Salim Ali works as a community mobilizer in Shabwah governorate, in Yemen. Every day, he goes from door to door, visiting families and talking to neighbours. His main awareness topics are vaccines and how immunization against childhood diseases can make a lifelong difference for a child.
After the pandemic spread widely in Yemen, he also started raising awareness of the importance of vaccines against COVID-19 and of basic yet crucial preventative measures. He shows community members of all ages very simple practices: how to wear a mask properly, how to wash their hands or how to practice social distancing. He explains to the elderly why the vaccine would protect them against the virus, in particular if they have diabetes or other underlying conditions.
“I talk to anyone I meet on my way: children who have many questions on what vaccines are for and why they should be vaccinated, what is the coronavirus… Their parents don’t always have the answers, so I’m here to help”, says Salim.
Just by watching him interact with the community, you can tell that Salim is a trusted source of information.
“Adults also have a lot of concerns because they hear different information. So I explain to them how vaccines work and how an existing health issue can make them vulnerable to the virus”, he adds patiently.
Thanks to contributions from donors like the European Union, 250 community mobilizers conduct a variety of activities to do awareness and promote lifesaving practices on COVID-19 in communities in five districts in Abyan, AlDhale’e, and Shabwah governorates.
In 2021, more than 450,000 people were reached through household visits, community gatherings, megaphone announcements, and information brochures.
“COVID-19 has affected our work. The number of beneficiaries has to be small; we sometimes conduct awareness sessions for 3 people only,” says Salim. “But some people do not accept the messages we promote. If we advise them to avoid social gatherings in special occasions and handshaking, they refuse because these are part of their custom,” he says with a touch of frustration.
He manages to conclude on a positive note: “It is difficult to correct common misconceptions and rumors, but we manage to fight them”.