Like many of us, Miracle Adesina watched the COVID-19 pandemic spread through the lens of social media. As a healthcare professional, what he saw coming through his social feeds gave him great cause for concern.
“I watched and just shook my head at viral videos from Northern Nigeria of people washing their hands only with water and then DRINKING it. They did this as a statement, and what they were saying is that the virus wasn’t real,” he recalls.
Everywhere he looked, people were spreading misinformation.
“Corona virus was invented to stop Nigerians from going to church.”
“The real cause of the pandemic is 5G.”
“Africans are immune to COVID-19; that’s just a rich person’s disease.”
Part of the problem, Miracle felt, was that critical health messages were not available in many of the 70+ indigenous languages throughout Africa.
“I decided we could do something about this. My team at Slum & Rural Health Initiative got to work, found graphic designers, and began translating factual, empowering messages from the World Health Organization over social media and WhatsApp,” he says.
“I shared some of our first translated graphics with my grandmother, who only speaks Yoruba,” he recalls. “I saw how this empowered her, gave her practical things she could do to protect herself, and protected her from all the misinformation spreading in her village.”
The Pollination Project supported Miracle’s translation project with a seed grant. Now, the infographics and translated messages that his team has created have been shared with hundreds of other changemakers who are working on COVID-19 related projects.
“So many of the changemakers we work with across the world, particularly in Africa, wanted to respond to the pandemic by correcting the misinformation they were seeing in their communities. Miracle’s team made that process immediately easier for all of them, and helped us avoid duplicating efforts among our TPP community,” said Ajay Dahiya, who leads The Pollination Project.
If you are a changemaker in Africa who could benefit from Miracle’s work, his team has graciously offered them without cost to anyone who may be able to use them. The translated graphics are available at this link.