Somaliland: We must change our peoples behaviour while we facing Covid-19

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Government and public health organizations have been tasked with the challenge of changing behavior — getting people to not only practice social distancing and shelter in place but do it for weeks and potentially months. Not surprisingly, almost everyone is relying on the standard approach to drive change: Tell people what to do. Issue demands like: “Don’t go out,” “Stay six feet apart,” Wash your hands,” and “Wear face masks.” In our context as a Somali people there is no barriers forcing us to live alone our culture and norms are dependent to each other, so we must change our peoples behavior while we are facing a covid 19 challenge. Our innate anti-persuasion radar raises our defenses, so we avoid or ignore the message or, even worse, counter-argue, conjuring up all the reasons why what someone else suggested is a bad idea. Sure, the government said to stay home but they’re overreacting. Maybe the virus is bad in some parts of neighbor countries but I don’t know a single person whose gotten it. And besides, many people who get it are fine in Djibouti although there was some deaths anyway, so we must flow the recommended protection mechanisms like the Camels flow his Own leader or we flow the Islamic faith. So if telling people to do doesn’t work, what does? Rather than trying to persuade people, getting them to persuade themselves is often more effective. Here are some ways to do that. 1. Highlight a gap. You can increase people’s sense of freedom and control by pointing out a disconnect between their thoughts and actions, or between what they might recommend for others versus do themselves. 2. Pose Questions. Instead we make some awarenesses against Covid 19 we might also made some Questions like, Do you think junk food is good for you because junk foods results more obesity, If someone’s answer is no, they’re now in a tough spot. Also ask do you think the Covid 19 virus can effect you because of your negligence. Then they can flow the awareness messages. By encouraging them to articulate their opinion, they’ve had to put a stake in the ground — to admit that those things aren’t good for them. And once they’ve done that, it becomes harder to keep justify the bad behaviors. 3. Ask for less. The third approach is to reduce the size of the ask. Whether we’re encouraging people to socially distance, shop only once a week, thoroughly wash hands and wear face masks, or change behavior more broadly, too often we default to a particular approach: Pushing. We assume that if we just remind people again or give them more facts, figures, or reasons, they’ll come around. But, as recent backlash against the Covid-19 -related restrictions suggests, this doesn’t always work over the long term, especially when your demands have no fixed end date. If we instead understand the key barriers preventing change, such as reactance, and employ tactics designed to overcome them, we can change anything.

By Samatar Sheikh Adem Samatar022@gmail.com

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