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Strengthening community access to Covid-19 information and involvement in pandemic responses

This project is funded by extra-budgetary resources provided by the Government of Canada.
  • Amount funded: £30,000
  • Year: 2021
  • Duration: 12 months
  • Locations: Malawi
  • Grant stream: Open grants call

Covid-19 test and vaccination rates are low in Malawi, particularly among vulnerable groups, despite government efforts to share information within these communities.

Project partners
Center for Human Rights and Rehabilitation
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How we are helping

This project will improve understanding of Covid-19 within communities and reinforce the benefits of vaccines and testing. It will contribute to a policy review to strengthen inclusion of vulnerable groups in government response measures.

About the project

The Government of Malawi responded to the Covid-19 pandemic with efforts to disseminate information on vaccines and testing. As of April 2021, rates were low with 97,429 tests conducted and 258,107 vaccinated out of a population of more than 18 million. Lack of information, particularly in rural areas, is a key factor.

High levels of illiteracy in Malawi have led to misconceptions about the pandemic within communities, resulting in disengagement with response mechanisms including vaccines and testing. Vulnerable groups including women, children, the elderly, persons with disabilities and people living with HIV are harder to reach and require more tailored approaches.

This project aims to empower communities to be aware of, and exercise their rights to, Covid-19 response mechanisms, and ensure that relevant policies address the needs of vulnerable groups. 

It will do this by:

  • Consulting with community members to assess their understanding of Covid-19 and consider how they can best participate in the project.
  • Developing concise messaging on Covid-19 to reach vulnerable groups including children, girls, women, persons with disabilities and those living with underlying conditions.
  • Conducting targeted meetings with vulnerable groups to explain the benefits of, and dispel misconceptions about, vaccines and testing.
  • Facilitating meetings for community members, including vulnerable groups, to raise their concerns with relevant duty bearers.
  • Convening quarterly meetings to review Covid-19 information dissemination, discuss policies protecting vulnerable groups and identify further policy opportunities. 
  • Meeting with government ministries (Ministry of Gender, Community development and Social Welfare, Ministry of Civic Education and National Unity and Ministry of Information and Communications Technologies) to review policies and advocate for the inclusion of vulnerable groups in Covid-19 responses.
Project Partners
Center for Human Rights and Rehabilitation

Center for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) promote good governance and human rights in Malawi by addressing stigma and discrimination against women living with HIV and AIDS; fighting against gender-based violence; promoting community rights-based responses to HIV and AIDS; community outreach and awareness campaigns; strengthening community and local government capacity on decentralisation and social service delivery. CHRR strengthened legal barriers to child marriage with the ‘Yes I Do’ project, by facilitating the development of bylaws in which punitive measures are prescribed to perpetrators of child early forced marriages.

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