Engaging Communities On Their Own Terms

Engaging Communities On Their Own Terms

Insights that helped us engage communities on their own terms in our COVID campaign in India

“During the first and second waves of the pandemic we focused our work in Delhi’s informal settlements. As we prepared for the third wave, we knew it was essential to scale our approach to reach broader audiences across India. To do this, we established Verified Saathis, a national network of communicators people trust and recognize, who could speak directly to their communities. In Hindi a Saathi is a friend, supporter or collaborator, and our Verified Saathis include celebrities, scientists, micro-influencers, healthcare professionals, and local leaders from informal settlements and tribal communities. Through their work, we have been able to increase COVID-safe behaviors, including vaccination uptake, and helped limit the spread and harm of COVID-19.” – Kritica

The most persuasive campaigns speak to and represent your audience. Work with your audience to communicate in ways that are relevant to them, amplify the voices of influential community members and create opportunities for people in your community to directly engage with each other.

Combining both online and offline activity, the Verified team in India created hyperlocal campaigns at a national scale. In our campaigns, we centered real members of our target communities and empowered them to become credible sources of information on limiting the spread and harm of COVID-19. We worked closely with our partners on the ground to identify influential people who interacted with their community on a daily basis and connected those local leaders with renowned doctors and scientists. Because the communities lacked access to health care professionals, being connected to well known doctors was a motivator for our Saathis. This direct communication and specialized information helped them feel empowered with timely and accurate information and more confident in their interactions with the community.

So far we have recruited over 800 messengers to participate in Verified Saathis. Due to their efforts, hundreds of people in their communities have gotten, or agreed to get, vaccinated.

“You could feel the sense of pride and excitement our Saathis experienced through their work in the community.  They could see they were participating in something on both a community and national level. Many have said that they feel better prepared for future challenges that will arise.” – Kritica

If you want to find out more about creating campaigns that represent your audience, download the PDF below.