The members of Mai Lap Communication and Information Solution Committee, or CISC, in the district of Cho Moi, Bac Kan province are finding themselves busier than ever during these Covid-19 days.

To enhance the joint efforts against the pandemic, the Committee has disseminated relevant information in all channels, including the commune’s radio, printed bulletins, or handouts to each household. The information also comes in a few languages: Vietnamese or Kinh, the official language, and Tay and Dao, the two languages that belong to the two ethnic minority groups respectively.

This has been the Committee’s usual task during the past two years. Since the local authority gave the greenlight to the European Union-funded Increasing ethnic minority women’s access to information for improved governance and development, abbreviated as I2I, the CISC was swiftly set up to bring useful and timely information to the villagers. The members were trained on information principles and how to produce news articles in different formats or how to communicate with people in information dissemination meetings. Dozens of bulletins and audio reports have been produced. They can be about the work of the local People’s Committee, latest policies and regulations, farming and husbandry techniques, or simply updates about community events.

Diversifying channels to boost outreach

Being used to high frequency of publication and skillful in producing different reports, the Committee does not encounter any difficulty when it comes to Covid-19 communication. One difference is that this is now done daily instead of weekly or quarterly.

The CISC gathers information from the portals of the Ministry of Health, announcements of the Prime Minister/province/district, or the press. To bring such information to every household, the Committee members use a truly mobile channel. They drive motorbikes loaded with loudspeakers, driving to every far corner of the commune to broadcast the audio reports they have prepared.

According to Dong Thi Nhi, a member of Mai Lap CISC, they decided to add this channel because the current loudspeaker network is not available in all residential areas. Thanks to recording the reports and broadcasting them in such a mobile way, the information will reach each and every family, making the task of the Committee more effective.

“The communication on Covid-19 pandemic is of utmost importance. Our Committee’s activities have raised the effectiveness of the overall communication: 100 per cent of people in our commune are aware of the pandemic, know how dangerous it is, and know what to do to prevent it.”

Dong Thi Nhi

The project Increasing ethnic minority women’s access to information for improved governance and development was funded by the European Union and lasts from 2017 to 2020. CARE implements it with ADC in Bac Kan, DECEN in Cao Bang, and CCD in Dien Bien. The Communication and Information Solution Committees have been set up with the support by I2I project, producing hundreds of articles in different formats to bring useful information to ethnic minority people, particularly women. Many communes outside the project locations have also been supported to apply this way of enhancing access to information to their locality. In addition, the I2I project has also joined hands with others to improve the efficacy in the implementation of the Law on Access to Information nationwide.