Canadian charity makes COVID-19 information accessible in local dialects
TORONTO, April 13, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — LetsStopAIDS, Canada’s youth-HIV charity, has created a platform to ensure that information about COVID-19 is available to vulnerable populations where online translations may not be available or up-to-date.
In just six days, 65 volunteers from 12 countries joined forces remotely to build HeyCOVID19.com, a website dedicated to providing COVID-19 information and updates in over 20 languages and local dialects, including Luganda, Nyanga and Setswana. The content is based on information provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) and supports the United Nations (UN) call to action for this global health response to be as far-reaching as possible. The platform focuses on aspects of personal hygiene, physical distancing, recognizing symptoms, myth-busting and how the virus impacts HIV-positive individuals.“The goal of this project is to ensure that people living in the most remote areas are empowered to adopt public health precautions, act in solidarity and prevent the spread of misinformation,” said Shamin Mohamed Jr., Founder and President of LetsStopAIDS.“ By translating these critical public health messages, we are hoping that barriers of culture, language, community or platform are easily overcome.”To address platform accessibility, translations will be also disseminated through Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger in remote areas. Many telecommunication plans in these regions provide unlimited access to these platforms, meaning this information can be more widely exchanged and as many times as possible with no additional charges. The content was developed with this factor in mind.“This is clear, simple, and science-driven information,” adds Mohamed Jr. “Our content is free to download and share on any social media platform. Sometimes, Google Translate just isn’t an option, especially for local dialects. That’s where HeyCOVID19 comes in.”LetsStopAIDS recognizes that COVID-19 is affecting communities globally at different cycles and waves. The pandemic has started to impact developing regions, including areas where LetsStopAIDS has long-standing relationships.Key messages have been translated into Arabic, Bemba, German, English, Spanish, Persian, French, Gujarati, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Luganda, Luo, Nyanga, Filipino, Portuguese, Siswati, Swahili, Setswana, Urdu, and Zulu.LetsStopAIDS volunteers brought the idea for HeyCOVID19.com to life after witnessing the dangers and effects of misinformation. Drawing parallels to the HIV pandemic, the team understood the importance of awareness for accurate and correct public health and safety knowledge. Donations received will be used to fund ongoing COVID-19 efforts, including internet connectivity for local volunteers and for engaging community partners.Interested individuals are encouraged to visit and share HeyCOVID19.com.About LetsStopAIDS:LetsStopAIDS is Canada’s largest youth-HIV charity that focuses on HIV prevention and knowledge exchange by engaging young people and fostering leadership. Founded in 2004, we are a global network of over 400 youth-HIV leaders in over 20 countries. LetsStopAIDS focuses on providing meaningful virtual/in-person opportunities that motivate leaders to share knowledge, resources and support to youth affected by HIV.To learn more about LetsStopAIDS, visit LetsStopAIDS or follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. #LetsStopAIDSTo learn more about LetsStopAIDS, please visit: https://youtu.be/5B6-LBgWBYU For more information, please contact:Irisa Chan
Public Relations Manager
+1 (416) 231-2333 x601