Religious leaders meet to learn about COVID-19 and their role in combatting the pandemic in a workshop organized by NPI EXPAND grantee ONG JIGI.
Over 360 Muslim and Christian religious leaders were trained on the specifics of COVID-19 and shared strategies to keep their congregations safe. The workshops were conducted in Bamako, Kayes, and Koulikoro in September, and were supported by a grant to Jigi, from the USAID-funded NPI EXPAND Project.
The leaders spent the day discussing how the virus spreads, who is at risk, progression of the virus, and how to protect yourself. Much of the discussion focused on critical roles religious and community leaders can play to stem the spread. In addition, they discussed how to address harmful rumors surrounding the virus and the need to reduce stigmatization of those who are tested and those who test positive, in helping to stem the spread.
The groups also discussed the need to encourage religious practice at home, especially for the elderly, infirm, or those showing symptoms. They were also asked to encourage all worshippers to wear masks and social-distance, display hygiene guidelines and ensure that washing kits and hand sanitizers are in place at all entrance points. Another critical topic shared was to encourage their followers to protect themselves and their families from domestic violence.