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UK Minister and Ambassador witness CSO in action (May 2022)

Côte d’Ivoire: Field trip to CSO-led COVID vaccination initiative, made possible by TDDA

UK Minister for Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Vicky Ford, and Catherine Brooker, the UK’s Ambassador to Côte d’Ivoire, recently visited a COVID-19 awareness-raising initiative led by one of our civil society organization (CSO) partners.

The field work, in support of the national COVID-19 response, was being undertaken by ASAPSU, a national NGO/CSO whose objective is to promote access to healthcare, focusing particularly on disadvantaged communities in urban areas. Their team was observed conducting community dialogues in the precarious neighbourhood of Blockhauss in Abidjan, where people were known to be resistant to vaccination. They were accompanied by a Ministry of Health mobile vaccination unit. TDDA supported this activity, providing technical assistance as well as funding for campaign logistics (including tarpaulins, sound systems and loudspeakers, banners and transport).

In all, 124 people were vaccinated against COVID during the ASAPSU campaign that day. It was such a success that the health district decided to keep the vaccination facility in place for a whole week, to further increase vaccine coverage in the neighbourhood. This pilot demonstrated to our visitors how speaking directly to people on the ground is a very effective way of ensuring communities understand the risks posed by the disease, and countering any rumours or misinformation that could make them reluctant to be vaccinated.

ASAPSU’s campaign followed their participation in our pioneering capacity-building programme, designed to unlock the potential of CSOs. Working alongside the Ministry of Health, we organized workshops for 21 carefully-selected Ivorian CSOs, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to support government health security initiatives and COVID vaccine deployment.

Across the TDDA programme as a whole, our capacity-building workshops have trained over 100 CSOs from our five host countries. A detailed case-study is available here.

The Abidjan field visit took place in margins of COP15, a UN biodiversity conference, which seeks to unite world leaders and indigenous peoples around a plan to protect land and livelihoods from the threats of deforestation and desertification.

What’s the link? Dr. Aristide Dionkounda, TDDA’s country coordinator for Côte d’Ivoire who hosted the visit, explains:

Achieving lasting change by working in partnership with civil society is an approach TDDA and COP15 share”, he observes.

Just as TDDA works to widen participation in health security, COP15 recognizes the need to engage actors beyond governments, such as NGOs, local communities, and women’s and youth groups, to protect nature. For this reason, the visit by the UK Ambassador and UK Government Minister was a great opportunity for mutual sharing and learning.”

The visit was also covered by Ivorian television, further raising the profile of the vital work CSOs can do to disseminate information and encourage life-saving vaccination uptake.


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