The College of Agriculture through its Development Communcations department forged a partnership with Cagayan de Oro City’s Emergency Operations Center COVID-19 Secretariat under the City Information Office to engage DevCom students in a study that seeks to understand the barriers and causes of the community’s hesistancy towards COVID 19 vaccination and the non-compliance of wearing face masks. The partnership is a service-learning engagement under the university’s Flexible e-Service Learning Program where it facilitates discipline-based community egagements of junior and senior tertiary students using their disciplinal knowledge and skills in responding to community needs.
Thirty DevCom majors enrolled in DC 31- Communication Programs and Campaigns under the supervision of Ms Trinnah Marie Caracho, DevCom Professor, engaged with the City’s Emergency Operations Center COVID-19 Secretariat (EOC) under the leadership and coordination of Ms Amelia Agbayani, EOC Head.
DevCom students conducted a Knowledge, Attitude and Practices (KAP) Survey and Analyses among the youth, PUJ drivers, market vendors and indigent households of Barangay Carmen. The survey assessed the possible reasons behind vaccine hesitancy and improper wearing of face masks which has an impact on the City Government’s efforts of public information and education. Results showed, that in terms of vaccine hesitancy, misinformation and disinformation are the common reasons across sectors while improper wearing of facemasks was due to varying reasons such as discomfort of wearing face masks, additional waste, and financial burden for indigent families.
Given the results of the KAP Survey and Analyses, students recommended different campaign materials which the City Government can utilize in its information education campaign efforts. The results of the study were presented to representatives of the EOC in an Output Presentation where stduents also turned over the infographics and infomercials they have created to the secretariat team. Ms Amelia Agbayani thanked DevCom students for their commitment and effort in analyzing the data of the surveys and of coming up with materials that are not only creative but timely and relevant to the context and needs of kagayanons. In addition, the team hopes to replicate the process in other barangays in the city. To view the sample outputs of students, you may access them in this link: shorturl.at/pyEUX.
Social Formation thorugh Service- Learning
As an educational pedagogy, service-learning seeks to deepen students’ social consciousness by highlighting the principle of “Education for Social Justice” throughout the SL process and synthesized during the processing session at the end of the engagement. DevCom students have expressed how their engagement with the City LGU made them see the relevance of their course in the entire process of community development particularly in developing communication strategies that are evidence-based and socially relevant.
Jaerah Mae Emano shared that her service-learning experience made her see the relevance of her course to communities, “the FeSL experience was definitely a good tool for me to understand my purpose as a DevCom Student. Through it, I was able to reach out to those who are in need of a voice and of assistance to the current issue they are not even aware they are in.” For Al Japser Parmesano, FeSL taught him to empathize with the context of the sectors they were exposed to, “as a student who studies communication, I realized that it's not just my job to communicate, but along my duty is to empathize with people. We are mostly dealing with marginalized people and these people are very vulnerable to misinformation.” According to Princess Shahane Daug, FeSL made her see the cooperation needed between the public and private sectors especially in strengthening information education and clarifying misconceptions, “I've learned that there were presumptions that market vendors believe in false information. However, our KAP results showed us that majority of our respondents are willing to cooperate with the vaccination drive, and proper wearing of face masks. Therefore, the problem lies with strengthening this cooperation through policy interventions”.
Other colleges and departments such as Psychology, Chemistry and Nursing are currently doing their FeSL engagements with other partner organizations such as the Bukidnon Mission District’s Jesuit Missions School, Missionary Congregation of Mary Claretian Schools and Barangay Indahag. It is hoped that through the partnerships, service-learning engagements may be sustained to advance the academic and social formation of Xavier Ateneans.