When Perch Media Trust director Collin Magobeya came up with the idea of going to the people with Covid-19 awareness messages, many were skeptical about his approach.
Critics questioned the logic of bringing people together at a time when social distancing is the daily gospel across the world.
They wondered why he wanted to go against the tide. Gatherings are not permitted and there is serious danger of spread of the virus if people come together in numbers.
But Magobeya had something unique in mind. While others suggested the best way to take the message to the people would be through social media platforms and other electronic means of information dissemination, the humanitarian official wanted information to get to the people – physically.
He thought about the power of music to get people’s attention even when their movements are limited. He wanted to take the music and Covid-19 messages to people’s doorsteps.
The question was: How do you take information to the people physically and avoid gatherings?
After a long search for answers that hit a brick walls and seemed futile, Magobeya finally knocked on Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services offices’ doors and his dream came true.
Officials at the ministry understood the concept that many along his journey had failed to comprehend. They gave him more ideas to broaden his mission.
The ministry offered a van that Magobeya would use to send his Covid-19 messages across. Since that day, messages have been taken to many places and people have responded well.
Other players have also come on board after realising that not everyone has access to electronic information channels.
Humanitarian organisations such as Amnesty International, Katswe Sistahood and Adult Rape Clinic also joined the train. They saw an opportunity to spread many humanitarian messages to the people in this era when many are locked down in their homes.
With music from the likes of Albert Nyathi, Bob Nyabinde, Sister Flame and Pauline, the team has managed to attract attention in many areas as the van goes around spreading information.
So far, the multifaceted team has gone to suburbs such as Warren Park, Hatcliffe, Dzivaresekwa, Budiriro, Glen View, Retreat Park, Kuwadzana, Hopely, Stoneridge and Caledonia.
In Chitungwiza, they have gone to St Mary’s, Zengeza and Seke while they have also Domboshava, Murewa, Marondera and Mazowe.
Magobeya said the power of music has helped them take messages to the people in various places.
“The van makes it easy for us to go around spreading information without getting people to gather.
When I first proposed the idea, many people did not understand how we would do it. I thank the ministry of information and all organisations that came to make the initiative a reality,” said Magobeya.
“There is a lot of music released to spread awareness about coronavirus, but many people do not know about the songs.
We got the songs from various musicians and we have attracted attention wherever we go.
“Through the strong PA system in the van, our team sends out useful information about the virus. Whenever people hear music, they come out of their houses and we simply speak out about the virus without stopping.
The mobile approach ensures that people do not gather. Community leaders in various places have given us good feedback about our outreach and we want to go to many other areas in the country with the initiative.”