“I’ve been on the ground responding to Ebola and Cholera outbreaks, and what I know is this: You can’t treat your way out of outbreaks. You need to “behavior” your way out of outbreaks. There is never enough treatment available – you need to change behavior to get the outbreak contained to a treatable level.” Harlan Hale, who has spent a career in disaster response at OFDA.

 The problem is that communication for behavior change is not reaching the last mile or the most vulnerable people, and people don’t trust the sources of this information. Indonesia and Puerto Rico are at particular risk for Covid-19. Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world, and had the highest death toll in Southeast Asia. And, Puerto Rico has an aging population with insufficient health infrastructure. 

The key to saving lives, and ultimately restoring economies, will be ensuring everyone, especially the most vulnerable, has trusted information to change their behavior, access to support and resources, and the ability to communicate their needs and receive help from governments and NGOs.

I am so proud of the entire AtmaGo team, and the long days and nights that have been spent in creating and rapidly launching a community-centered, all in one resource on Covid-19 (pictured below).

 The Covid micro-site we have built (covid19.atmago.com) is a real time, all-in-one community-centered resource that brings together:

  • Official information about Covid-19 cases and mortality;
  • Hotlines to access help;
  • An “I have/I need” system so that people can ask for help from their neighbors or volunteer resources for  community members;
  • Community-centered videos, infographics, and comics from our multi-talented Community Manager David Khoirul that make information on staying healthy and protecting against Covid-19 accessible to everyone;
  • Stories from Corona, where community members throughout Indonesia share on audio and video what they are doing to slow the spread of the Covid-19 and how they are coping with movement restrictions. Trusted communication from people in similar situations is fundamental to generate the trust needed for behavior change;
  • User-generated information from locations through Indonesia about government resources, community information and response to Covid-19 which links back to AtmaGo. 

 Covid-19 content on AtmaGo has already been viewed over 200,000 times. 

The Dalai Lama said: “This crisis shows us that we are not separate from one another—even when we are living apart.” 

 In the midst of the unprecedented challenges that the pandemic has brought, on AtmaGo we are truly seeing the many rays of hope, community and connection. 

 In the coming weeks, we look forward to sharing with you the impact that AtmaGo and AtmaGo’s resourceful and ingenious users will have in helping one another, amplifying their voices and needs, and setting the foundation for equitable recovery. 

Sincerely,

Meena Palaniappan
Atma Connect Founder and CEO