Usama Mehmood

Usama joined Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS) as an intern in 2017 which arose his interest in community service and since then, there has been no turning back.

After the COVID-19 outbreak, there was a need to create awareness and help the poor through different relief programs. COVID-19, while essentially a health problem, underscores the importance of adopting a people-centered and inclusive strategy, with public awareness at its center. Keeping this in view, the ICRC joined hands with the Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS) for the creation of the Muhafiz volunteer force to spread awareness regarding preventive measures for COVID-19.

Through door-to-door campaigns, safe behavior demonstrations, food distribution, awareness on SOPs in commercial areas, and involvement of religious leaders, its volunteers carried out a nationwide awareness campaign, giving people life-saving information. Usama says “The most difficult barrier was to make people listen to us and trust us, which we overcame by involving the local imam (religious leader) and other influential community members, which helped us gain the public’s trust and effectively deliver our message. Although there were other ongoing media campaigns, the best part about the Muhafiz campaign was that we were targeting common people through on-ground activities and giving them the assistance they needed on their doorsteps.”

Although It was sometimes a little hard for Usama to continue working during such difficult times but the positive feedback from his community and the feeling of being able to help them pushed him forward. In the end, he has only one advice for everyone – to follow SOPs and do their best in preventing the spread of the pandemic.