Scholar Zerihun Yimer Geleta actively engages in awareness-raising on COVID-19 in Ethiopia

27. April 2020
photo of scholarship holder Zerihun Yimer Geleta at his home office in Austria
According to Zerihun, there has been lack of information and misunderstanding about the pandemic in Ethiopia. Therefore he uses social media to inform communities in their local languages.

Social and religious practices in Ethiopia, such as massively going to the church, mosque, burial ceremonies, open markets, and clubs might seriously expose the population and contribute to the spread of the Corona virus, causing the Corona virus disease (Covid-19). Zerihun was thinking of ways to educate people and decided that regular communication through social media could contribute to raise awareness. Since then he tried his best in disseminating essential and pertinent information about the virus itself, ways of its transmission and routines that help in fighting the spread of the virus. The relevant information and data comes from renowned health experts, WHO, and the experiences of different countries, including Austria, where he is currently working from home on his PhD.

To reach out to as many people as possible, Zerihun has used two major languages, which are widely spoken in Ethiopia to convey his messages: Amharic and Afan Oromo. As COVID-19 is a new disease, new developments and findings have come in on a daily basis and accordingly, he has updated his audience. In particular, he disseminated the most recommended protection methods and forwarded information that could reduce the spread of the virus.

Zerihun Yimer GELETA is a Ph.D. candidate of International Law at the University of Graz. He was nominated for his Ph.D. within the APPEAR project Advanced Academic Partnership for Legal and Human Rights Education | AAPLHRE. His Ph.D. research focuses on the interplay between human rights and development in Ethiopia. Before he joined the University of Graz as an APPEAR scholarship holder in March 2017, Zerihun was Assistance Professor of Law at the Institute of Federalism and Legal Studies of the Ethiopian Civil Service University. Furthermore, he also took part in public lectures, training, public awareness creations, and community services in which he has received recognition and promotion. Moreover, he served as Public Prosecutor litigating before regional and federal courts.