BUEA, Cameroon – An Applied Persuasive and Risk Communication Strategist, Robert Abunaw, has invented a Town Crier Mobile Rural Radio, TCMRR, which he says will help in combating coronavirus in Manyu Division, Southwest Region.
TCMRR, the senior journalist says, “consists of a bicycle and broadcast system mounted on it. This broadcast system carries messages which have been produced by a backup system which is based in Mamfe”
He said they produced all the messages using the broadcast format-like spot, dialogue, promo and several broadcasting approaches to send the messages to the community, that COVID-19 is real and that there is danger which is coming.
The invention of TCMRR, according to the retired CRTV Journalist, stemmed from the fact that information about COVID-19 on TV, Radio and Online, did not actually target the people in the rural areas.
The information didn’t actually educate, sensitise and inform the rural locals as it was urban-based.
To breach this communication gap in the Manyu Division, Robert Abunaw established the TCMRR whereby villages could be better informed about COVID-19.
It was as a result of discussion with some Manyu elite, which led to the holding of a one-day training workshop in Mamfe, which brought different stakeholders – state and non-actors – that finally resulted in the setting up of the Manyu Anti-COVID-19 Rural Communication Response Task Force.
The task force, he added, decided it was an inherent advantage of radio to reach the local communities.
Another reason he outlined emanated from lot of misinformation amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This radio has a role to reeducate and inform the people of the facts on the ground,” he stated.
Aside the radio, the Communication Strategist has equally printed out flyers in mostly pidgin and English, which he described as “target audience specific messaging,” to be pasted in communities while the TCMRR is broadcasting.
According Abunaw, the Manyu Anti-COVID-19 Rural Communication Response Task Force, is a five-month programme which he hopes that, by then, COVID-19 must have been eradicated and many lives saved.
The Quarter Head of Wotolo in Buea, further outlined that the town crier would be out to tell people the realities of coronavirus.
“This pandemic is not for indisciplined people. To survive it, you need discipline. If you obey the rules of COVID-19, COVID-19 will obey you,” he said.