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What examples do you have of using SMS and other messaging like WhatsApp (groups) during the COVID-19 pandemic to inform and/or engage people in communities?

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Many of WaterAid Country Programmes have utilised SMS and WhatsApp to inform and engage individuals and communities. These platforms are convenient because they can reach a large audience very quickly with important messages.

  • WaterAid Pakistan used SMS Services for messages in regional and local languages to spread the message on the importance of handwashing with soap and water and social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • WaterAid Niger developed tools for a digital campaign 'StopCovid19Niger' in collaboration with Young Volunteers for Environment and the platform is available on WhatsApp.
  • As part of an eight-day campaign using digital images, audio messages and videos, WaterAid India used text messages and WhatsApp group networks for dissemination of campaign hygiene promotion materials.
  • WaterAid Tanzania are using an automated WhatsApp Chatbot to provide smartphone users with correct and verified information on what coronavirus is, how to protect yourself, travel advice and specific handwashing instructions. We are also partnering with Viamo, a mobile company, to send out messages and are currently discussing a gamification idea where you "choose your own adventure in hygiene".
  • WaterAid Nepal are sending out bulk messages with the World Health Organization and Government messages as part of our hygiene behaviour change campaign.

These are useful examples of utilising SMS and WhatsApp as they can come in the form of text, audio or visuals to reach a wide range of audiences.