On Tuesday, heads of 60 religious organizations attended a one-day seminar to encourage them to take the lead in the fight against the further spread of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The training was organized by Umucyo Community Radio and was part of the implementation of a project funded by the Rwanda Governance Board (RGB). The exercise was held under the theme “Engaging Religious Leaders in the Fight against the Further Spread of Covid-19.”
In Mid-July, after four months of closure, places of worship were given a green light to resume their services with some restrictions. The closure was part of an effort to curb Covid-19.
Again, a cabinet meeting held on Tuesday, October 27, resolved to increase the maximum number of people who can attend church services.
The government resolved that services of places of worship increase to 50 per cent of the venue capacity.
According to Cecile Nyirahavugima, Director of Umucyo Community Radio, the training was also designed to show church leaders their role in changing mindsets of their followers’ perceptions of Covid-19 precautions.
“Head of religious organizations have been playing an important role in leading to the success of programmes. As a Christian Radio station, we decided to train them on the Coronavirus pandemic to help them better understand that their support is critical to ending the pandemic,” Nyirahavugimana said.
She added that religious leaders are influential figures in society, which is the reason why they should take the lead in making the public sensitive to the government plans.
According to Alex Captain who represented Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC), church leaders should help disseminate accurate information about the pandemic.
“Some people misunderstand the pandemic, but they should know that the pandemic is real. Places of worship are among the places that receive many people. Church leaders have a significant impact on helping communities understand some trends in society. We urge them to continue to respect all precautions effectively,” he said.
“Training was very helpful. Believers should know how to protect their lives. The exercise helped the participants better understand things and have the same understanding about the Covid-19. They have mastered the skills to effectively teach their followers. Christians should change their mindset and misinterpret of the scripture,” said Pastor Desire Habyarimana.
Places of worship were also reminded to comply with measures such as maintaining physical distance among worshippers, having hand sanitizers, infrared thermometers and measures to uphold the use of face masks among others.