In the current pandemic, LILIEMA members and teachers are active and aware of the necessity to provide information about the virus in local languages. French-only information does only reach a small number of people in the area, since knowledge of French is limited, so that even information given on the radio in French is not accessible to most. Our goal is to to disseminate health information in rural multilingual areas. In these areas, people are not reached by print media and have no or little access to electronic tools. They are hence deprived of most information shared on most audiovisual and social media. In addition to the lack of access to electricity, computers and smartphones, internet access is unaffordable to most. The tiny minority able to buy data credit is mainly reached by Covid-19 information on WhatsApp and Facebook, where fake news abound.
LILIEMA’s Covid-19 information campaign disseminates verified health information by the Senegalese state via printed posters and brochures.
We do not only make written information available in national languages – our campaign is successful because we can be sure that this message can be accessed, since we have taught multilingual literacy following the LILIEMA programme in 8 villages of Casamance for the past three years. This means that in many villages, graduates of the LILIEMA programme are present who can read this information in all languages they understand (since LILIEMA is language-independent) and share it with others. Additionally, LILIEMA information is accessible to anybody who has taken a national language literacy class using the official alphabet of Senegal, since this is the alphabet we also employ.
We can therefore make sure that important health information released by the Senegalese government is not only published in national languages, but can be understood by a sizeable portion of the population, and we are testing the effectiveness of our campaign by conducting qualitative and quantitative surveys on our reach and impact.
Our campaign is ongoing and currently updated to reflect the most recent government advice. So far, we have created and distributed 10 posters in multilingual language combinations (adapted to the places where we share them) and multilingual brochures summarising important information regarding, e.g., information on social distancing and the wearing of protective masks. Video messages in a number of languages have also been recorded to be distributed via social media; but print media remain the focus of our campaign since they can be distributed and accessed in all rural areas without economic barriers.
In the Covid-19 campaign, LILIEMA board members work together via WhatsApp and phone to agree on the core messages to be used, and on the best way to convey them in French and translate them into the national languages used in our target areas. The materials are printed in Ziguinchor and then distributed by our local activists, who are acting responsibly in order to protect themselves and others while putting up posters and handing out brochures (they work alone, avoid groups of people, do not shake hands, keep distance from others, use private transportation, and are equipped with hand sanitiser and masks, etc.). We also provide this information at the level of the local government offices, local organisations, youth organisation, etc. In Agnack, volunteers of the Red Cross have joined us in distributing brochures.
Our research on the impact of the Covid-19 information campaign is also developed jointly by all our board members. We have formulated a set of interview questions and designed a questionnaire and translated these documents into the languages used in information campaign. We collect data on reactions of inhabitants of our target areas to our information materials. Our local board members conduct the interviews in national languages for both surveys via text message, WhatsApp or over the phone, in order to protect themselves and others from potential infection.
Below you can have a look at our materials adapted to the linguistic settings of several areas and and download them.
If you are interested in using the posters and/or even add additional languages contact us, we are happy to help! We have already created a a poster to be distributed in the Gambia upon request, and we’re happy to help you create a customised poster or brochure.
Multilingual posters in 12 languages, adapted to different areas (April 2020)
French, Wolof, Baïnounk Gujaher, Mandinka, Kreol, Joola Foñi
French, Wolof, Joola Foñi, Bayot, Mandinka, Baïnounk Gubëeher
English, Mandinka, Bambara, French, Wolof, Joola Foñi
Brochures are available here in the following combinations of languages (work in progress):
- French + Wolof + Joola Foñi
- French + Wolof + Baïnounk Gubëeher
- French + Baïnounk Gujaher + Mandinka
- French + Bayot + Mandinka
- French + Joola Kujireray + Joola Eegima
- French + Wolof + Mandinka