Review of risk communication and community engagement initiative for COVID-19 prevention behaviour in Cambodia.

UNICEF Cambodia continues to support the Royal Government of Cambodia and the World Health Organization (WHO) in risk communication and community engagement (RCCE) at the national and sub-national level. These  interventions aim to provide the general population,   particularly the most marginalized women and children with timely
and reliable information on Coronavirus risks and preventive actions so that people can better protect themselves and others. This report reviews data from an online and phone survey to measure  the current progress of country-level RCCE initiatives in promoting risk-reducing behaviours that prevent the spread of  Coronavirus. It draws on
Fishbein and Ajzen’s Theory of Planned Behaviour as a framework for assessing whether or not these public messages on COVID-19 have succeeded in encouraging people to use preventive behaviours along a predicted pathway of behaviour change.
Analysed survey data show that country-level public messages disseminated by government institutions and partner organizations appear to have played a role in encouraging actions against  contracting Coronavirus, with 99 per cent of respondents
reporting that they received  messages on Coronavirus and 80 per cent noting that public messaging was their main reason for practicing precautionary behaviours. Facebook stood out as the number-one channel through which respondents received information about  Coronavirus, even while it was one of the least trusted news sources. On the other hand, the survey data showed that a large number of people also received and trusted information from local leaders, particularly among older generations and those with lower levels of education.
Given the strong positive correlation between  people’s risk perceptions and their belief in the  effectiveness of preventive behaviours, this report suggests that when  people believed that  precautions could reduce their risk of contracting the virus, they were also more likely to believe in the effectiveness of the actions. The positive correlation between the perceived effectiveness and frequency of performed behaviours suggests that when people believed that preventive actions were effective, they were also more likely to regularly practice precautions. Based on the key findings, the report proposes four recommendations for RCCE interventions in Cambodia:

1) messages can emphasize that recommended behaviours are effective and can reduce the risk of c ontracting  Coronavirus;

2) RCCE can increase the general frequency of messages promoting all behaviours;

3) innovative techniques can be used for reaching older and low-literate groups; and

4) messages can highlight the social importance and   easibility of preventive actions.

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