The COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed the lives of people around the globe. Changes have been made to the way people work, learn, communicate and transact - with many moving online to sustain an income and keep the economy running. Building a better post-pandemic world requires imagining the unthinkable. – Shamiso Ruzvidzo, Head of Exploration, UNDP Zimbabwe Accelerator Lab
The UNDP Zimbabwe Accelerator Lab is currently running a digital campaign ‘Reimagining a post COVID-19 Society’ focused on engaging with citizens online, learning about the impact of COVID-19 on people's daily lives and raising awareness about the pandemic through creative art. The digital campaign is running throughout the month of November on the @UNDPZimbabwe Twitter, Youtube and Facebook pages.
Zimbabwe reported it first case of the coronavirus in March 2020, which led to the announcement of a nationwide lockdown to limit the spread of the disease. With a decrease in the overall coronavirus cases, after a brief peak in winter, the country has returned to a sense of normalcy with businesses, schools, markets and churches reopening. However, the disease is still present in the country and citizens are adapting to a ‘new normal’ where COVID-19 safety guidelines - social distancing, frequent handwashing and wearing of masks in public spaces, are a part of our daily routines. With a decrease in the number of COVID-19 cases it is very easy for citizens become complacent and stop following the prescribed safety guidelines, therefore continued awareness about the dangers of the virus and how to prevent its spread is still very important.
The UNDP Zimbabwe Accelerator Lab ‘Reimaging a post COVID-19 Society’ digital campaign is being conducted in two phases: Phase 1 has been focused on obtaining citizen views of how they have been impacted by the pandemic; whilst the ongoing Phase 2 is focused on raising awareness about the pandemic and visualizing our ‘new normal’ through a digital fashion campaign with Zimbabwean Creatives.
During the first phase of the campaign, citizen opinions were obtained through a WhatsApp survey shared via the UNICEF U-Report platform and discussions on local radio shows. Views on the pandemic have varied with some stating that the pandemic has given them the opportunity to learn new skills or start new business, whilst others have indicated that the pandemic has brought about job losses or decreased their income. The coronavirus pandemic has also brought to the forefront issues of domestic violence with 66%of women agreeing that violence against women and girls had increased during the lockdown.
The second phase of the campaign (which is currently ongoing), the digital fashion shows, is bringing awareness on COVID19 through creative art. The virtual fashion displays are showcasing creatively designed face masks, as part of a re-imagined future in Zimbabwe where wearing masks is not only a requirement but a statement. Winky D, Shasha, Gemma Griffiths and Haus of Stone are some of the creatives who are taking part in the digital campaign.
The Reimagining a post COVID19 Society Campaign forms part of several activities being conducted by the Accelerator Lab focused on the impact of the coronavirus. As part of its work to understand the impact of COVID19 in the informal sector, the Accelerator Lab is collecting data on the country’s food supply chains and informal markets to assess how vendors, farmers and consumers have been affected over the past 7 months.
 Gender Assesment of COVID-19 and the countrywide lockdown process in Zimbabwe. Rapid Assesment Survey Report , UN Women Zimbabwe Country Office