Health Literacy, Indigenous practices and family learning in the time of COVID-19

Project Name: Health literacy, indigenous practices and family learning in the time of COVID-19

Project Code: RR0620-11; (Ref: EDU31GFAR2)

Project Funder: UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) for ODA-eligible Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), through the University of East Anglia

Project Duration: From 1 August 2020 to 31 July 2021 


This project was initiated following the previous two projects especially the family literacy and indigenous learning for sustainable development. Researchers from partner universities were collecting data for the ethnographic research when they came across data related to how families are learning and engaging with COVID-19 related information. This current issue emerged as a new angle to look at literacy and indigenous learning and practices within families following a dialogue and proposal development among the researchers.

This project, building on the previous initiatives, focused on finding out how poorer families are learning about COVID-19 and how they are engaged in critical health literacy in the time of COVID 19. It also aimed to disseminate findings with health policy makers and practitioners to raise awareness and sensitivity about the possible contributions of indigenous and intergenerational learning practices for health literacy programs and materials. In general, the project aimed to contribute to national and international understanding about how critical health literacy can contribute to the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.  

In Ethiopia a qualitative research was conducted by the BDU team to find out more about health literacy, indigenous practices and family learning in the time of COVID-19. In line with the aim of the project the research focused to explore the experiences of poorer families so men and women young or adult who make a living as a daily laborers, petty traders, local Areqi/Tella venders, street coffee sellers, farmers, house maids, potters, and female headed households were targets of the study. In general the study features the experiences of 24 participants from Bahir Dar, Awra Amba and Injibara town. 

The project includes partners in Ethiopia, Malawi, Nepal and the Philippines investigating how different members of the community draw on indigenous knowledge and practices to engage with new health information related to COVID 19 prevention. Critical observation of campaigns in the cities, COVID 19 related health information on Mainstream as well as Social Media was part of the project.