The #InOurHands campaign gets virus prevention information to marginalized and remote communities through global grassroots efforts.
Alight’s In Our Hands COVID-19 health messaging campaign has officially reached 100 million people worldwide—many of whom would not otherwise have been reached.
Coronavirus cases have been confirmed in nearly every country in the world. But in many places, critical health messaging about the virus simply isn’t reaching where it needs to go. Whether due to lack of access to communications infrastructure, like the internet, TV, or radio, or the prevalence of myths and misinformation, there are still millions of people who are unprepared for COVID-19. And as the virus spreads and gains traction in some of the most vulnerable communities, this poses a threat to those who are already so at risk.
That’s why the In Our Hands messaging campaign is tailored to meet people where they’re at—from the most remote rural communities in the Somalia Peninsula to out of school kids in Pakistan to Catholic nuns fighting COVID-19 with us in Brazil. And since April, the campaign has reached 100 million people and counting across 86 countries, expanding beyond Alight’s previous work in 19 countries and reaching farther than we’ve ever reached before.
How In Our Hands All Began
When the virus first began to take hold in communities this spring, we once again reached out to our longtime friends and frequent co-creators at IDEO.org, with whom we’ve collaborated on projects like Asili, The Color Movement, and I AM A STAR for over a decade. Now, our newest and farthest-reaching co-creation yet is also one of the most challenging—working to help prevent the spread of a global pandemic.
Together, we developed a set of multi-format health messages to give people more information about COVID-19—particularly aimed at vulnerable and marginalized people. Created from WHO guidelines, these health images and messages have been translated into 47 languages and are available for use by anyone, with the goal to reach people who aren’t otherwise being reached.
They’re also meant to be positive, uplifting, and uniting, encouraging people that the control of the virus is in our hands, and that we have the power to stop it, together.
Getting the Message Out About COVID-19 Prevention
Since one of the biggest challenges is reaching people in remote areas, we knew that our myth-busting messages had to come in a variety of ways. So we enlisted the help of some social media influencers to share on their own channels, we created digital ads, and we tailored the messaging for radio, TV, posters, stickers, megaphone, door-to-door messaging, and more.
The campaign launched in mid-April, as COVID-19 was surging and millions of people living in remote communities still hadn’t heard of the virus. Or if they had, misinformation and confusion abounded. In Our Hands offered bite-sized, positive health messaging and prevention techniques, while also dismantling prevalent misinformation about COVID-19. So far, we’ve reached 100 million people in 86 countries—and this is only the beginning.
“We are extremely pleased by the reach and impact we’ve been able to achieve with the In Our Hands campaign—from dense cities to rural farmlands—especially being able to help so many organizations and communities missed by other outreach efforts,” says Daniel Wordsworth, Alight CEO. “Especially impactful has been all the translations into regional languages, removing barriers to communication and unlocking information for so many people.”
Social Media & More
Even if refugees don’t have consistent access to a smartphone or computer, many people, especially of younger generations, have social media profiles and hear the news from platforms like Facebook and Instagram. And it’s crucial that the information shared is accurate, especially during a global pandemic.
So equipped with our specially designed COVID-19 health messaging, we reached out to social media influencers in the countries where we work and beyond, asking them to share messages on their own social media channels. Since these influencers already have millions of followers, they’re the perfect partners to spread the word quickly.
So far, we’ve worked with 180+ influencers from over 10 different countries. From videos encouraging people to wash their hands, to changing the narrative around wearing face masks, to simply spreading positive and encouraging messages, #InOurHands social media influencers have reached millions of people through their combined communities.
The messages were also shared using a highly targeted digital advertising campaign, reaching 26 million people in both rural and urban areas of Kenya, Pakistan, the Somalia Peninsula, South Sudan, and Uganda. And as the campaign picked up momentum, additional grassroots approaches were customized for each country. Efforts including radio and television broadcasts, billboard installations, murals, posters, door-to-door sensitization, and message broadcasts from vehicles were leveraged in varying ways to ensure that accurate information was received by as many people as possible.
Looking Toward the Future of COVID-19 Prevention
As the virus worsens and reaches its peak in many countries, COVID-19 emergency response funding is urgently needed. The most pressing needs include: isolation units, medical support, personal protective equipment for front line care givers, soap and handwashing stations, disinfection supplies for medical centers, direct support to local organizations, food aid to those in desperate need, and prevention messaging.
This is the moment to join together, to keep each other safe, to protect our most vulnerable, and to spread kindness. To learn more about the In Our Hands campaign, please visit @we.are.alight on Instagram or @WeAreAlight on Facebook. You can also show your support and help us battle COVID-19 with a one-time or recurring donation!