To continue promoting education for the prevention of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, the non-profit organization Ciencia Puerto Rico (CienciaPR) developed the "Aquí Nos Cuidamos Toolkit" or #AquiNosCuidamosPR. It consists of four public service campaigns with free informational and educational resources.
The purpose of #AquiNosCuidamosPR is to empower vulnerable and marginalized communities in Puerto Rico to protect themselves and manage the emergency created by COVID-19, through science and solidarity. The Toolkit has been developed by experts in science, public health and communication, with input from community leaders and organizations, the deaf community, and non-profit entities as part of an alliance. #AquiNosCuidamosPR has the support of several entities such as the Puerto Rico Public Health Trust, Mercy Corps Puerto Rico, the Puerto Rico Psychological Association, and Taller Salud, among others that will be joining the effort.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified the need to empower marginalized and vulnerable communities with reliable and accurate scientific information, but that is practical and relevant to their reality," explained Dr. Mónica Feliú Mójer, Director of Communications at CienciaPR and leader of the project. "During emergencies like the current one, having access to information that is easy to understand and applicable to one’s individual context can make the difference between illness and health. We created #AquiNosCuidamosPR with all of this in mind. Our content is accessible, realistic and easy to adapt. While acknowledging the harsh reality of the pandemic, we also tell people that we have each other and offer alternatives to help them minimize their risk of infection, take care of themselves and their loved ones," said Feliú Mójer.
#AquiNosCuidamosCuidamosPR is divided into four phases. The first phase campaigns the theme "Physical, not Social Distance", which promotes practical ways to minimize the risk of infection with the coronavirus when socializing and safe alternatives to help people connect with their loved ones. Subsequent campaigns will focus on COVID-19 vaccines, mental health and emotional well-being, and finally, tools for vulnerable and marginalized communities to use science to address future emergencies.
All of #AquiNosCuidamosCuidamosPR campaigns will include multimedia tools that are easy-to-use and disseminate such as audios, videos, infographics, and educational materials. The content is relevant to Puerto Rican reality and culture and based on the latest scientific data. Ramdwin González Otero is in charge of the Toolkit’s graphic design and the music was composed by David Rivera.
Prioritizing community needs
Notably, CienciaPR organized several virtual community forums to hear the concerns and recommendations of different populations and to inform the Toolkit’s development and distribution strategies. The forums were attended by neighborhood leaders, community-based and non-profit organizations, as well as the deaf community, journalists, and scientists.
"Each campaign addresses the issues based on the needs and concerns expressed by the participants of our community forums. We also took into account their preferences for receiving the multimedia content. For example, we have created a newsletter so that our information can be sent directly to the e-mail addresses of community leaders," emphasized Edmy Ayala Rosado, Science Communication Specialist at CienciaPR and coordinator for #AquiNosCuidamosPR. "We are also creating printable materials, infographics to share via social media, WhatsApp or text, and audios that can be used for radio or speaker vans. By using different media, we seek to minimize information barriers and help mitigate the coronavirus through education and science," added Ayala Rosado.
As part of the launch of the "Physical, not Social Distance" campaign, CienciaPR will host its third virtual community forum on Wednesday, February 24 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. via the digital platform ZOOM. Those interested in participating can register through the aquinoscuidamos.org portal.
A community ambassadors’ program
One of the objectives of Aquí Nos Cuidamos is to strengthen the capacity of vulnerable and marginalized communities in Puerto Rico and their leaders to use science to inform their decisions and responses to future challenges and emergencies. Therefore, CienciaPR has created the Aquí Nos Cuidamos Community Ambassador Program. This program will choose 10 community leaders in Puerto Rico and provide them with a $200 stipend to support the implementation of a COVID-19 prevention project in their community that uses the Toolkit, exclusive workshops, opportunities to provide input on future campaigns, and recognition as Community Ambassadors. Those interested in applying can visit aquinoscuidamos.org.
A free community resource
Dr. Feliú Mójer urged the public to download and use the Toolkit's content and share it on social media using the hashtag #AquiNosCuidamosPR. The project director also called on the media to join this effort to disseminate public service campaigns for the benefit of marginalized and vulnerable communities in Puerto Rico.
All of #AquiNosCuidamosPR content is available for free download on the aquinoscuidamos.org portal. For more information, visit www.aquinoscuidamos.org or www.cienciapr.org. You can also follow CienciaPR on Facebook and Twitter as @CienciaPR and on Instagram as @ciencia.pr.