ICampus Online Debate On COVID-19 Response Reaches Nearly 130,000 Social Media Users

Alphonso Toweh
Read Time:2 Minute, 30 Second

ICampus hosted an online debate on the theme: “Government Response to the COVID-19 Outbreak in Liberia.’’ The debate featuring two teams from the Center for Exchange and Intellectual Opinions (CEIO) reached nearly 130,000 social media users.

The debate, which was broadcast live on KMTV, was one of four events sponsored by USAID Liberia Accountability Voice Initiative (LAVI) to raise awareness and education about the Corona Virus pandemic.

 Since June, iCampus has also organized two comedy shows and an online learning webinar on COVID-19 as part of LAVI’s Learning and Methodologies Shared through Strategic Collaboration with Civil Society Actors for Adaptation and Self-Reliance.

The debate teams examined the critical issues and the key interventions instituted by the Liberian government since the first Corona Virus case was reported in March. So far, Liberia has recorded 1,107 cases (490 active), 70 deaths and 547 recoveries.

Filmmaker and media guru Zubin Cooper moderated the debate in which the two sides discussed the pros and cons of the government’s intervention.

Randolph Kemokai, who represented the team that supported the government’s intervention, said the government took progressive steps to address the pandemic such as instituting a lockdown that included the closing of schools, churches and ban on public gatherings. The government, he said, also opened the 14 Military Hospital and provided hotels to treat and monitor COVID-19 patients.

“The government has been robust in its response,’’ he said.

Rassak Kanneh and his team criticized the government for politicizing the COVID-19 pandemic. He cited the decision by Monrovia’s Mayor Jefferson Koijee to train 6,000 inexperienced people with no medical background to do contact tracing.

The government failed to fulfill its promise to pay water and electricity for the most vulnerable people and has yet to account for all the donor funds provided to fight the pandemic. The government had a series of missteps that exacerbated the crisis, he said.

“COVID-19 has been politicized,’’ said James Cox, a member of the opposing team. “People are putting their names and pictures on donated items. COVID-19 can be eradicated if we address the real issues.’’

Luther Jeke, iCampus director, said the “Strategic Online Public Debate’’ is one of the innovative tools iCampus is using to stimulate the need for proper coordination and information dissemination around the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The debate further highlighted the essential value of learning in social care and public health to a wider audience and how it needs to be harnessed in a way that we think about future care, support and well-being beyond COVID-19 in Liberia. ‘’

About iCampus

iCampus- Liberia’s first multi-disciplinary, innovation, and community space for change-makers focusing on the intersection of technology, accountability, and social change. Our 4,000 square foot campus in the heart of Monrovia provides the space, resources, support, and cutting-edge technologies that can make change possible in Liberia. Visit iCampus’ website to learn more: https://www.icampus.io/

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About Post Author

Alphonso Toweh

Alphonso Toweh Alphonso has  been in the profession for over twenty years. He has worked for many international media outlets including: West Africa Magazine, Africa Week Magazine, African Observer and did occasional reporting for CNN, BBC World Service, Sunday Times, NPR, Radio Deutchewells, Radio Netherlands. He is the current correspondent for Reuters. Mr. Toweh holds first MA with honors in International Relations and a candidate for second master in International Peace studies and Conflict Resolution.
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