Economic uncertainty, food instability in Nigeria propel Alight to engage with unexpected partners
The economic impact of COVID-19 lockdowns throughout Nigeria, Africa's largest economy, has led to growing concerns around food instability. Misinformation, stigmas and ostracization of people who have contracted COVID-19 and recovered, have utilized isolation centers or are simply wearing masks, has made it more difficult to contain and combat the virus.
International non-profit organization, Alight, teamed up with Nigerian Catholic Sisters and social media influencers to confront these issues with their global health messaging campaign, IN OUR HANDS, while simultaneously implementing grassroots efforts to directly engage with communities throughout the country.
"Through our work with the Sisters, we've heard time and again that COVID-19 won't kill the community, hunger will," said Daniel Wordsworth, Alight CEO. "We've had to get creative to reach people across varying demographics, connecting them through one global health push that expands beyond just protection from COVID-19, but also addresses the outlying factor that will have a long term, devastating impact in Nigeria, which is food insecurity."
To directly address both food insecurity and COVID-19, Alight has been providing micro-grants to Sisters in communities throughout Nigeria. As the Sisters reached more layers among different communities, they found that the majority of the funds they received were being allocated to address food insecurity impacting the families they were meeting.
In an attempt to combine efforts addressing public health and food, as well as economic insecurity, most Sisters printed the IN OUR HANDS messaging in the local language and disseminated the accurate health information with the food supply at distribution centers. Awareness sessions, posters in multiple languages placed at churches, markets and schools, newspaper and radio advertising and announcements at community gatherings were additional approaches that the Sisters implemented to reach communities in both urban and rural parts of the country.
Alight also engaged with a handful of top Nigerian social media influencers to share IN OUR HANDS messaging. The organization encouraged creative flexibility and looked to the influencers to ensure a tone that was authentic to Nigeria. A majority of the video content centered around social distancing, washing hands, wearing masks and addressing the need to adjust daily practices.
Through these unlikely partnerships with Nigerian Catholic Sisters and social media influencers, Alight has reached over 15 million people in just under two months.