When Australia and the world faced the challenge of responding to the COVID pandemic, we at the Victorian Afghan Associations Network (VAAN) took the initiative to keep our community updated with all the important developments.
The majority of our community members in Victoria are recently arrived migrants, refugees and asylum seekers from Afghanistan. They have limited English language skills and don’t usually access mainstream media and government departments to receive information.
We were on the front foot to provide accurate and credible information to our community members in the Dari and Hazaragi languages. It’s important to note that it is not just a matter of translating the material, it is about conveying meaning in a way that is understandable to community members.
Most of our information dissemination campaign has been carried out voluntarily by unpaid volunteers and committee members.
In late 2020 and 2021 we received some funding from the Victorian Government and this enabled us to expand our activities.
As part of this project we have been liaising with all levels of governments and service providers to address the COVID related issue within our community.
Summary of key achievements and activities
- Regular and almost daily updates about COVID-19 related topics in Dari and Hazaragi languages on social media and messaging platforms. See our Facebook page.
- Formation of the Afghan Community COVID Taskforce to bring together and coordinate the COVID response and activities in Afghan communities in Melbourne and Victoria
- Weekly and on demand online information sessions in community languages about COVID, with a recent focus on vaccines
- Video and Audio messages in community languages about COVID and vaccines. Our videos on average reach more than 5000 people on social media.
- Responding to the needs of community members – hundreds of community members were assisted with booking COVID vaccine appointments
- Engaging a medical expert who speaks community languages to disseminate information and answer community members’ questions at ongoing information sessions
- Assisting local business to comply with COVID restrictions (QR Codes), COVID safe plans and applications for financial assistance
- Referral of individuals and families in need to receive emergency food relief from our partner organisations
- Disseminating and translating health information through websites, social media and
(Examples of translated flyers, photos and videos can be obtained from Facebook page to be uploaded on website)