The availability of accurate COVID-19 information that is culturally- and linguistically-appropriate is essential to keeping communities safe. Likewise, it is also important to provide information via channels that community members actively use and trust.
Reaching Communities through Facebook
Facebook is a popular source of information and communication for many communities, including among some refugees, immigrants, and migrants (RIM). Facebook provides an easy-to-use platform to share videos. The Facebook Live feature allows users to “livestream” a video directly from a laptop or phone; these livestreams can feature multiple individuals. Viewers can watch the video live while it is broadcasted or they can watch it after the live stream has ended. The use of Facebook to share informational videos about COVID-19 among RIM communities and/or to deliver live content through the Facebook Live feature are promising practices for reaching RIM communities.
Reaching the Somali Community in Minnesota
The Somali Medical Association of America is using Facebook videos to provide COVID-19 vaccine education and messaging to the Somali community. Through a community health education series, Somali healthcare providers in Minnesota are partnering with groups that include the Somali North American Business and Professionals Inc and Islamic Mosque of North America as well as community leaders such as Sheikh Abdi Hersy to address vaccine questions and share resources. They are also using this platform to share videos chronicling the vaccination experiences of Somali physicians.
Reaching the Afghan Community in Washington
The Afghan Health Initiative (AHI) is located in King County, Washington and serves immigrant and refugee populations in Washington State. To address skepticism and misinformation about COVID-19, the AHI developed short videos in multiple languages (Farsi, Dari, Pashto and Spanish) and posted the videos on Facebook. With thousands of views, the videos were very well received by the community. Leadership at AHI feels that videos have helped to change the perception about COVID-19.
Reaching the Latino Community in Baltimore
“Somos Baltimore Latino” – a Spanish language website based in Baltimore – provides a regular Facebook video feature called “Tu Doctor y Tu Municipalidad” (Your Doctor and Your City). The video features Dr. Kathleen Page, an infectious disease specialist at Johns Hopkins University. The video series is done in partnership with the Baltimore Mayor’s Office and features Cataline Rodriguez Lima, director of the Baltimore Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs.
Reaching the Marshallese Community in Arkansas
The Marshallese community in Northern Arkansas used Facebook Live to reach community members and promote COVID-19 prevention messages. A prominent Marshallese physician and community leader hosted a Q&A event on Facebook Live where he addressed COVID-19 prevention. He focused on citing public health authorities in his messaging; for example, encouraging community members to follow CDC guidelines. Facebook Live was featured as a creative and important way to reach community members because the method focused on social media platforms and did not rely on a specific literacy level. Additionally, Facebook Live was reported as a helpful way to reach older members of the community who were already active on Facebook.
Reaching the Filipino Community in California
The Filipino Young Leaders Program, in collaboration with the Philippine consulate, hosted a Zoom and Facebook Live event during their two-week campaign to address domestic violence in the context of COVID-19. The group had noticed an increase in anonymous questions regarding domestic violence in the community on Tayo--a virtual help desk for Filipinos--so they acted. FYLPRO, the Philippines Embassy, and local health providers moderated sessions that included survivors of domestic violence from the community, family therapists, and lawyers who work with survivors. The Facebook Live session had 1200 viewers! This was part of FYLPRO's Caretaker Project, aimed at providing accurate information about resources during COVID-19. Dr. Joyce Javier, a Senior Advisor for the Caretaker project moderated this session and shared additional resources on how to promote Filipino family wellness (filipinofamilyhealth.com). Additional Facebook Live sessions are being planned—find more information on the FYLPRO Facebook page.