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20 mothers, one training, one fight: against COVID-19

Aboubacar Somah Bokoum
A participant uses the portable handwashing station.

Twenty mothers from five communes of Conakry received training on prevention of COVID-19 on 5 and 6 May 2020. The trainings were led by Migrants as Messengers project volunteers as part of the COVID-19 response in Guinea. The project is implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) with financial support from the Dutch government.

The objective of trainings was to involve more Guinean women in prevention efforts to stop the spread of the virus within their households and communities.

"I learned how to use a thermometer to take my temperature, to wear a mask and protective gloves correctly, to identify risky behaviours and proper washing hands technique," said Kadiatou Diallo, a mother living in Sandervalia in the commune of Kaloum, and participant in the training. "I already had some knowledge on certain points, but the explanations I received here reinforced them. This will help me to better protect my children and my relatives," she added.

Like Kadiatou, all the participants in the training activity are mothers.

"They were selected based on their place of residence, their age (between 25 and 45 years old), their motivation and level of commitment to combat the pandemic," said Abdoulaye Touré, a member of the team that organized the training and a volunteer with the Migrants as Messengers project.

Divided into two groups of ten to ensure physical distance between participants, the trainings were developed by IOM's public health team in Guinea. "We were fortunate to be equipped with information on how to prevent COVID-19. And we felt it was necessary, given our knowledge and our experience in conducting awareness raising activities around migration, to share this knowledge with mothers who, as we know, occupy a central place in our families," explained Touré. "We hope that after this activity, the mothers will join us so that in unison, we can speak to our families and our close circle of friends about the danger that this virus represents," confided the volunteer.

"Many people in my neighbourhood hardly ever listen to the radio, let alone watch television. As a result, they don't have enough information about the virus. But with everything I've learned here today, I'll be able to explain the right things to them. For example, I could tell them not to touch the inside of their masks and protective gloves before wearing them or taking them off, not to share a personal thermometer with others, and not to hug a relative during the health crisis," said Habibatou Sylla, who lives in the Dixinn neighbourhood in the commune of the same name.

To help the participants in their prevention efforts, the Migrants as Messengers project volunteers, with the support of IOM Guinea, provided them with protective masks and gloves, hand washing kits and medical thermometers.

"Explaining the virus to people is good, but when you have the tools to show them how to prevent it, it's even better, especially when it concerns children," says Fatoumata Néné Camara, a participant living in the Kaporo neighbourhood.

As of 7 May, Guinea has identified 1,927 positive cases of COVID-19.

This article originally appeared on IOM's Storyteller on 11 May 2020 here.

Migrants as Messengers is a peer-to-peer awareness-raising campaign that empowers young people in West Africa to make informed decisions about migration.

For more information, please contact Lucas Chandellier, IOM Guinea; Tel : +224 628 33 86 53; Email :