Meeting People Where They Are

Meeting People Where They Are

 A Case Study of COVID Outreach in Delhi

“Delhi has been one of India’s worst hit cities and COVID-19 brought the health infrastructure to its knees. The people are literally gasping for air.” – Saudamini

Delhi, India’s national capital, was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Traditional public health communications weren’t reaching Delhi’s disadvantaged populations, so we collaborated with on-the-ground partners for a community-centered campaign. 

With our partners, we built a localized network of 115 community leaders across 33 informal settlements in Delhi who helped us better understand our audience and how to reach them.

We identified groups who were disproportionately at risk of contracting the virus, including waste pickers, young people, and the elderly. Their vaccine hesitancy was fueled by online and offline misinformation that vaccinations made people sick or caused infertility. Our campaign recruited community voices trusted by our audience like faith leaders and teachers, and equipped them with information to share on popular online platforms like WhatsApp as well as offline.

Our community-driven campaign was successful, increasing vaccine uptake by 19% compared to other communities where we weren’t active. When you are trying to make an impact, it’s critical to meet people where they are, rather than where you want them to be. Here are three tips to help you do that.

  • Know who your audience is and plan your communications around their needs.
  • Listen to your audience to understand where they’re communicating and what conversations they are already having about your topic. 
  • Show compassion and empathy in your messages – address audience concerns and center people they already trust. 

If you want to learn more, check out our Insights from Verified on Meeting People Where They Are.