Our first ever response in the UK was a highlight, in recognition that COVID-19 is truly a global emergency and that helping people in the UK, including diaspora and refugee communities could not only help us in the UK but also help their families overseas, killing two birds with one stone.
We all felt underserved by COVID-19 communications and, at worst, were totally confused by them and so we could only wonder what it would be like for people who did not speak English as a first language, or where the messages didn’t engage people in the right way. Working with organisations like Uprising during the UK based COVID-19 training sessions allowed us to reach communities most vulnerable to this miscommunication.
Tackling mental health issues was a real eye opener, as it can typically be a taboo topic in the humanitarian industry, we felt it absolutely necessary to have this as one of our main themes in the COVID-19 training courses because looking after yourself is the most important thing to be able look after others.
The biggest challenge was accessibility in the online space and how we can reach individuals operating in countries with low bandwidth. We overcame this by enabling all our training to be downloaded afterwards, so that everyone could participate. We’ve been running courses at different times of the day too, to work around participants’ lives. It was both a challenge and a success as we trained over 3000 people in 91 countries. RedR UK staff had to work odd hours to facilitate the training. It was a real cross-team challenge.