Although COVID-19 is very real, according to our Nigerian YES alumni, many of their community members still aren’t taking the virus seriously. This is most likely due to misconceptions and misinformation about the virus. Stopping the spread of the virus requires that everyone does their part and takes basic safety precautions to not only protect themselves, but also protect people around them. Alumni in Kaduna decided to organize another event to raise awareness to a large crowd.
On June 30, YES Alumni held a town hall meeting at Karatudo Hall aimed at educating participants on the novel coronavirus, how it spreads, its symptoms, risk factors, and steps to take to avoid contracting it. Prior to the event, alumni distributed masks to all attendants and urged them to wash their hands before entering the hall. Doctor Mubarak Bello (YES 2009-2010, Nigeria, hosted by IRIS in Ankeny, IA) led the educational portion of the event while the other alumni prepared signage on the virus and other logistics.
Dr. Bello spoke about the origins of COVID-19, its effectsm and how to avoid it. He also talked about how certain aspects of the lifestyle of Nigerians, such as attending large gatherings, put them at a higher risk of contracting the virus. Dr. Bello reiterated the importance of social distancing and wearing masks and further educated on steps they can take to protect themselves and people around them that may be at a higher risk of getting gravely ill from the virus. In addition to Dr. Bello’s presentation, other alumni and volunteers tackled subjects such as personal hygiene and the importance of handwashing in order to stop the spread of the virus. At the end of the town hall, alumni and volunteers distributed hand sanitizers to every attendee. The event participants were very grateful for the opportunity to learn about the virus from a Doctor and found the town hall very informative. They also learned how they themselves could take those lessons in order to encourage safety and cleanliness outside of their immediate home and into their community.
YES alumni are committed to educate community members about the virus in hope that their efforts will help reduce its spread. Although they have done several educational projects on COVID-19, it is clear that there is still more to be done. With each successful project, they renew their commitment to continue fighting the virus by becoming more informed and taking the necessary steps to stay safe. Their drive to remain active in their community and make an impact has challenged them to rethink the way they conduct community activities and reach their audience. As they research, plan, and lead these events, Nigerian YES alumni also gain leadership skills, public speaking skills, and increase their own knowledge on the virus.