Virtual world provides gateway to community awareness work in Scotland
Technology has helped us find new ways of sharing information and discussing organ donation and kidney health and disease in Scotland.
When the Covid-19 pandemic ground the country to a halt in March, the prospect of continuing our work reaching out to specific communities in Scotland seemed slim. It was a rude interruption to the Scottish South Asian (Sikh, Hindu and Muslim) organ donation awareness project which the Kidney Research UK team has been running in conjunction with the Scottish Government for the last seven years.
Working with at risk communities
Bushra Riaz, peer educator coordinator at Kidney Research UK explains: “We’ve been committed to working in this area because kidney disease progresses faster, becoming more serious in people from these communities. For example. we know you’re five times more likely to start dialysis if you are from a South Asian background. In addition, registration on the organ donor register was low in these populations and lack of education and awareness within the communities meant many were misinformed or unaware of what to do.
“The peer educator programme works with community volunteers from the South Asian community. Many of the peer educators are from different faiths. They work together to educate, discuss and answer questions on kidney health, disease, organ donation (deceased and living) and most recently educating audiences on the new organ and tissue donation legislation which will come into effect in March 2021 in Scotland.”
Changing how we engage
Bushra continues: “Our peer educators are usually to be found visiting and taking part in events at mosques, temples and gurdwaras to share information and engage with communities. Due to Covid-19 we have had to alter our way of working and have adopted virtual, online webinar services via Zoom to continue raising awareness within Scotland.
“Our team has been working closely with Scottish faith leaders, community members and external stakeholders to plan, host and deliver webinars with a range of speakers to highlight the project aims regarding kidney health and disease, organ donation within South Asian communities. These are being very well received.
The webinars that have already taken place have been recorded and are available to view.
- Wednesday 9 September 2020 – co-hosted by Almeezan Islamic Institute
- Friday 23 October 2020 – co-hosted by Aberdeen Mosque and Islamic Centre and Syed Shah Mustafa Jame Masjid
- Wednesday 11 November 2020 - Scottish multifaith webinar. What do all faiths state about Organ Donation? Is Organ Donation permissible? How will the change in the Scottish Organ and Tissue Law (March 2021) affect me and my family?
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