As a trusted voice in the community, the Ethiopian Kale Heywet Church, together with Tearfund, launched a campaign in December 2021 to raise awareness about the Covid-19 vaccines. Nearly 2,000 people attended the three-day event.
Government officials addressed the crowds and time was taken to commemorate and remember those who had lost their lives during the pandemic. Local musicians took part, refreshments were provided and the event had good media coverage.
After listening to scientific, practical and theological presentations, participants were asked to discuss in groups their thoughts about the Covid-19 vaccines. Representatives from each group were then invited to feed back their concerns and questions. They were also asked to share their thoughts on why people might choose not to be vaccinated, and what could be done to help people overcome these barriers.
As a result of these discussions, several hundred people took the opportunity to get vaccinated during the event.
Holding a participant-led campaign that included prayer, clear advice, time for discussion and the opportunity to be vaccinated proved to be a great success. One participant in the event said, ‘I used to be afraid. Today my children encouraged me and I finally came. Now that I am vaccinated, I want to tell my neighbours and my community that there is nothing to be scared of.'