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Christina Van Hooreweghe Ngoy (Democratic Republic of the Congo)

The new coronavirus 2019, or COVID-19, is an infectious disease that has created a catastrophic global public health crisis. In Africa, the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in February 2020 in Egypt. Since then, the pandemic has spread to 53 of 54 African countries. In DRC, the end of the state of health emergency has been announced by the President of the Republic; this implies the normal resumption of social-economic, cultural and educational activities by August 15, 2020, as well as the resumption of inter-provincial travel and the reopening of national borders. Although the end of the state of health emergency has been announced, the coronavirus pandemic remains. Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in DRC, official government statistics updated on July 26, 2020, show 8844 confirmed cases, 5700 cured, 2936 active cases and 208 deaths. In the face of this large-scale health crisis, for several months rumours have been circulating in communities with false information about the Coronavirus, its symptoms, its mode of transmission and even its treatment.

For me as a journalist this situation is extremely difficult, because in this context the work of the journalist is not enough to reach the greatest number of people in the community, classical journalism is threatened by informal journalism (community members sharing information by word of mouth or through social networks, regardless of their accuracy, veracity or balance). Furthermore, as activists and change agents, most of our capacity building and training activities for vulnerable groups are limited and others are being stopped to limit the spread of the pandemic through mass activities. The coronavirus pandemic is a situation that handicaps the daily life of many people, including mine, and everyone is trying to adapt and get out as best they can while trying to protect themselves from this disease. In this context, as an activist and journalist I am doubly involved in order to contribute to the implementation of strategies and means of sharing reliable, accurate and balanced information on the fight against the coronavirus and the post-Covid-19 period for communities through women and young people.

I’m a journalist who addresses gender and sexual based violence through media in the Eastern part of DRC. I’m actually working with a thematic radio station called MAMA RADIO where I’m journalist, redactor in chief of the young journalist and trainer.
I’m also an active member of the Congolese Women Media Association, AFEM that aims to promote of women’s rights. And I’m a member of Future Hope Africa where work in the promotion and development of young girls, as well as in the preservation of the environment.
In 2017, some young people from the African Great Lakes region and I proceed with a creation of a non governmental development organization and which I’m currently lead as president. Our organization ComChaMa (Let’s start the change now) is committed to the defense of human rights, health, and the promotion of entrepreneurship among vulnerable people and democratic values.

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