How are Indigenous and marginalised communities affected by the global COVID-19 pandemic? And how are they responding? Here we share the experiences of the InsightShare network hubs.
As agents of change, Indigenous communities are best placed to communicate their experiences of COVID-19; inside and outside of the community.
Our Indigenous partners are working to meet the urgent need of COVID-19 information in local languages, and in culturally relevant ways. InsightShare will support our international hubs as they define their approach to the longterm effects of the global pandemic.
Through our model of decolonising systems of knowledge and power, the work of Indigenous communities resists the tightening of the grip of the already powerful, and offers hope for a radical shift of the status quo.
Do you want to know more about how we’re responding to the global COVID-19 crisis?
Read our article COVID-19: Local Responses to a Global Crisis which describes our approach to the issue.
Francis Shomet Ole Naingisa, Maasai community, Tanzania
“The worst part of the situation of our community is the high level of illiteracy. This makes it impossible for people to learn from text messages by the government and other agencies on self protection measures.
Video in the Maa language is the most effective medium of communication on the colossal dangers of Corona and self protection measures.”
Francis Shomet Ole Naingisa, a Maasai elder from Tanzania, and a founding member of the Pan-African Living Cultures Alliance (PALCA). PALCA have committed to providing support and leadership on the crisis where they can.
NEN Collective, Nagaland, India
The North East Network (NEN), an indigenous hub based in Nagaland, India and trained by InsightShare, produced an informative video with clear health instructions to follow. Collaborating with the health centre in Chizami, they communicated advice in the local Naga language.
The NEN team made sure the information would reach most of the community members by sharing the short video via WhatsApp groups.
Evelyn Paraboy Kanei, Maasai community, Tanzania
“The first quarter of 2020 has just ended and I have seen a lot in those three months. I’ve seen floods that neither I or the older people in my community have ever seen.
We’ve had so many natural disasters within a short period of time. Villages are becoming islands …. With so much water on the ground there is only one road to reach the village. If that one road is blocked the village will be isolated from the rest of Tanzania.
Images of flooding and damage from Matabete Village, Mbarali District, Mbeya Region in Tanzania
After the floods, we had dangerous thunderstorms that I have again never seen in my life. The thunderstorm damaged houses, thousands of trees fell down, and cows were struck and killed by the thunderstorms. Three hippopotamus have been seen walking around the river and dam in our village for the first time. The river is seasonal so it doesn’t normally have hippopotamus.
I’ve heard that the African continent will be hit really hard by the corona virus. The floods, thunderstorms, other natural disasters and the corona virus will affect us more.”
Evelyn Paraboy Kanei is from the Ilparakuyo Maasai community. She was a member of the 2020 delegation of Maasai representatives to the UK as part of the Living Cultures: Decolonising Cultural Spaces project.
Magella Hassan Lenatiyama, El Molo community, Kenya
“The language to explain to people is what is missing. We have been trying to explain that this is different to cholera. Another big worry here is food. With no movement, what will people do for certainty?
Images of local hand washing facilities the El Molo community have implemented to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Communities are trying really hard to prevent spread by observing directives of washing hands regularly, observing social distancing, keeping away from gatherings and staying home and seeking medical attention if sick.”
Magella is an InsightShare Indigenous Associate from the El Molo community. He works uses participatory video to work with El Molo youth, and to preserve the endangered El Molo culture and language through video dictionaries.