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,” said 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,” said Feliú-Mójer.
“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,” she said.
#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 such as audios, videos, infographics, and educational materials.
Prioritizing community needs
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 nonprofit 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,” said Edmy Ayala-Rosado, science communication specialist at CienciaPR and coordinator for #AquiNosCuidamosPR.
“We’re 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 Feb. 24 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. via ZOOM. Those interested in participating can register through the aquinoscuidamos.org website.
A community ambassadors’ program
One of the goals 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, organizers said.
So, CienciaPR has created the Aquí Nos Cuidamos Community Ambassador Program, to choose 10 community leaders in Puerto Rico who will receive 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.
A free community resource
Feliú Mójer urged the public to download and use the Toolkit’s content and share it on social media using the hashtag #AquiNosCuidamosPR.