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Martino Roberto Chiappa: EU Aid Volunteer helping the coronavirus response in Mozambique

EU Aid Volunteer, Martino Roberto Chiappa, is supporting his host humanitarian organisation in Mozambique to raise awareness in remote communities on actions that can prevent coronavirus and help them stay safe. © WeWorldGVC, 2020

I came to Mozambique as an EU Aid Volunteer last October to support WeWorld-GVC, my host organisation, that is running projects helping communities recover from the effects of cyclones Idai and Kenneth. I expected that this would be challenging enough. Little did I know that a global pandemic, unprecedented in scale in recent history, was on the horizon and would affect my stay and experience in Mozambique.

Text by: Martino Roberto Chiappa

By the beginning of this year, coronavirus had started spreading in Europe.  As soon as the pandemic started affecting Italy, my home country, I thought about going back home, to be closer to my family and friends.

However, when it became clear that this was a pandemic spreading all around the world, I decided to stay here, to give my support, working alongside my Mozambican colleagues. After all, that's why I was here in the first place – to help. More importantly, due to the nature and speed of spread of the coronavirus outbreak, information and communication about the disease are, for the moment, the best weapons we have to prevent contagion. And communication is my specialisation! Thus, working with my colleagues and our partners, we are raising awareness of the virus to as many people as possible, giving information about hygiene practices and the rules of social behaviour that each of us must adopt, for themselves and also for the sake of others.

In the past few weeks, I have had the chance to plan and participate in the trainings and outreach activities in rural communities in remote areas. The official information does not reach them easily.

To get more people’s attention, we decided to produce a music video that deals with preventive measures. A more playful approach and a simpler language could help to spread the messages everywhere, especially on  social networks.

The biggest challenge is bring about a change in our habits before the number of infections increases exponentially. For this to happen, we need to listen and share the advice of institutions and experts. That being said, I would like to thank the European Union – especially the EU Aid Volunteer initiative – and WeWorld-GVC - for allowing me the opportunity to give my support at such a dramatic moment.

Martino Roberto Chiappa is an Italian national, working in Mozambique as part of the EUAid Volunteers programme. He is hosted by WeWorldGVC, an Italian NGO funded by the EU in Mozambique to help communities in post disaster recovery and in disaster preparedness. Martino will be in Mozambique as an EUAid volunteer until September 2020.

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