Members of Rwanda Youth Volunteers in Community Policing (RYVCP) have started mass awareness campaign to influence positive behaviours and actions against novel Coronavirus pandemic.
The awareness activities, according to RYVCP leadership, were initiated to supplement the government efforts and Rwanda National Police (RNP) in particular, to fight and prevent the spread of Coronavirus especially in business centres like markets and trading centres.
On May 15, awareness activities were conducted in different markets in Nyabihu and Burera districts.
Jean Baptiste Bunezero, the District Youth Coordinator for Nyabihu said that the outreach activities on their first day, were conducted in the markets of Kora, Gasiza and Gashusha in Bigogwe, Rambura and Rugera sectors, respectively.
"Our public awareness campaign aims at educating people that go to markets on safer and healthy practices as recommended by our government, to prevent them from either spreading or contracting Coronavirus," said Bunezero.
He added "Traders and people who came to these markets were educated on how to wear face masks, those who don't have them asked to acquire them first; how to wash hands and doing it regularly even in their homes and communities; social distancing and urging them to avoid unnecessary movements."
The outreach activities, Bunezero said, will be expanded to other business centres in Nyabihu.
In Burera, the district youth coordinator, Gervais Ngemba said that they started the campaign in business centres in the sectors of Butaro, Gahunga and Kagogo.
"In partnership with the Police, local leaders and other security organs, we took the awareness campaign on prevention of COVID-19 to Gahunga, Rusumo and Mugo markts and many other places including trading centres," said Ngemba.
"We want Rwandans to understand the importance of washing hands with soap, planning their shopping carefully to avoid unnecessary movements, social distancing and wearing face mask at any time they leave their homes," Ngemba explained.
The youth volunteers are also measuring body temperature at entry points of markets and trading centres.
"Thousands of people who came to these business centres washed their hands, exercised social distance and went home with face masks.
We believe that continuous awareness will influence positive actions as recommended by our leadership for everyone to be safe from Coronavirus," Ngemba said.
"We want to be the voice of our government in our respective communities because the measures are meant for us to stay safe."
Rwanda National Police spokesperson, CP John Bosco Kabera commended the role of youth volunteers in security, health and development activities.
"Over the years, youth volunteers have been central to community policing; raising awareness on fighting and preventing crimes, supporting disadvantaged Rwandans in varied human security activities and the overall community security and development programmes," said CP Kabera.
He added: "Raising awareness to influence positive attitudes on COVID-19 is, therefore part of of their usual actions of patriotism and individual responsibility which should define everyone to achieve the intended results."
The youth group, which started in 2013, currently has over 300, 000 members across the country.