Working in partnership with religious leaders to fight COVID 19
In March 2020, Save the Children signed MoUs with the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOC), the Islamic Affairs Supreme Council (IASC), and the Mekane Yesus Church (MYC) to disseminate COVID-19 related messages via churches and mosques as well as their respective TV, radio and social media, etc. channels. EOC has committed to deliver these messages to more than 300,000 churches, while MKC has committed to distribute to more than 9,000 churches and IASC has committed distribute to around 15,000 mosques – totaling around 325,000 places of worship in all corners of Ethiopia. A MoU with the Ethiopian Catholic Church is being explored.
The idea is to use the already existing public announcement systems (loudspeakers) of all the churches and mosques to deliver COVID-19 related messages to the communities around them. If all of these places of worship are able to deliver the messages – prepared by Save the Children and endorsed by the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) – we will be reaching tens of millions of people – not to mention the minimal cost of achieving this.
The Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOC), Abune Mathias was leading Palm Sunday Service and talking about COVID-19. The event was live on three TV stations (Fana, Walta and Addis TV). (The live transmissions are temporary and aimed at discouraging followers from congregating at Churches to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Fana broadcasting is
the leading TV station with estimated reach of 40 million in Ethiopia.)
The Patriarch led the service and said, “As we mark this year’s Palm Sunday, the world is plagued by a pandemic called coronavirus. This virus started spreading in the world during our great lent season and remains a distressing issue until today, palm Sunday, will extend into Easter…The world is in a state of anxiety and people are dying. A single country has lost 20,000 people. Countless others are dying in other countries. For those asking what the cure is, the cure is in your own hands. Do not shake hands. Do not hug. Keep your distance. Do not go to crowded places. This is the cure. There is no other cure. The Holy Synod of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church calls upon everyone to implement these recommendations given by the Government and Ministry of Health. Human life is priority….”
Using their already existing loudspeakers churches and mosques started delivering COVID-19 related messages to the communities around them.
Save the Children Ethiopia will continue working with these institutions and the top leadership to continue delivering messages that are focused on children and incorporating gender, disability age, mental health and psychosocial support messages.
Click the link below to watch The Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOC), Abune Mathias's speech.