Bend the Curve: a social media initiative for COVID-19 response

The second wave of Covid-19 caused a devastating impact across India. In Assam, the incidence of COVID-19 brought with it several challenges and barriers in terms of access to information and timely care. Global Shapers Guwahati Hub implemented a COVID-19 Response strategy for a period of three months to tackle some of these information barriers actively through collaborative and concerted efforts.


Problem Statement: Communities and volunteers in Assam must have access to timely, authentic, verified information in vernacular language for seeking appropriate and timely care for COVID-19


Target Group: Communities in Assam and volunteers involved in COVID-19 response


Project Solution: The solution was short-term and yet rapid and responsive: social media campaign focussed on breaking the myths, misinformation and fake news; a one-stop portal focussed on assimilating COVID-related information, resources related to Assam; mobilizing community contribution and volunteerism


Hub Response: 


1. The project took on three jointed verticals – spreading awareness in the form of sharing trusted information and debunking misinformation, aggregating and amplifying resources that are considered helpful, and providing support to help cope with the pandemic. 


2. Target audience was local community and thus, content was created and shared in both English and Assamese. Over the course of three months – May to July,  around 90 stories, 25 posts, 4 virtual talks, 2 reels, 1 guide and 1 live session were published under the project. 


3. In these posts, issues such as home care for COVID, preventive measures, tackling vaccine hesitancy, mental health support, information regarding various variants and diseases like black fungus, etc. were addressed. 


Project KPI's:


1. Created 90 stories, 25 posts, 4 virtual talks and 2 reels

2. Generated a reach of 25k, Impressions 30k, Shares 500 and Interactions 1500

3. Stories with resources were reshared over a 100 times and the published posts, reels and virtual talks were reshared over 350 times.

4. While initially the project’s reach was limited to Guwahati and its peripheral areas, by the end of it, the content reached communities in other parts of Assam such as Dibrugarh, Jorhat, Lakhimpur, etc. as well



Key Learnings:


1. Misinformation is harder to track than it is to dispel. On social media, the fake news and rumors spread fast and morph faster. Keeping a tab on the various types of fake news can become difficult, especially during a time of information overload. Streamlining in such scenarios is key. 

2. Using different social media tools helps you reach a more diverse audience. The project could have also used different community platforms and WhatsApp to reach out to those who are not on Instagram, Twitter, etc.

3. For a short-term project, setting short-term targets for the team allows for easier planning and execution. Short-term targets also allow flexibility that keeps the project more relevant and up to date.