Washington, D.C., September 15, 2020 (PAHO) — Creative pieces to support the Pan American Health Organization's public health campaigns against the COVID-19 pandemic were selected by a jury in the recent "Hackathon of images against Covid-19".
Graphic design experts and visual artists curating the two-day session on COVID-19 for PAHO chose 10 images to help reach audiences with messages on prevention of coronavirus infection. Artists from 10 Latin American countries focused on three challenges: Preventing infection by COVID-19, combating misinformation and myths about the virus, and promoting mental health during the pandemic.
Dr. Marcos Espinal, Director of PAHO's Department of Communicable Diseases, kicked off the event with a description of the COVID-19 situation in Latin America and the need for clear information. “If we don’t engage the community, civil society, and artists like you, we are not fully doing our work. Educating people about COVID-19 is not only the duty of public health officials, it is everyone’s responsibility,” he said.
The initiative grew out of a collaboration between IMPAQTO, the social innovation laboratory and coworking network, NEXUS, the network of young philanthropists and the PVBLIC Foundation. All three institutions understood PAHO/WHO's challenge in the region. “Much of Covid-19 contagion prevention depends on the habits and behaviors of Latin Americans. So there is a clear need for prevention campaigns that have cultural relevance and speak to people with reference to their local experiences," said Rachel Gerrol, CO-Founder and CEO of NEXUS. “I was deeply inspired by how many artists across the region united to donate their time and talent in service of humanity and preventing the dangerous spread of misinformation around COVID. Their art and their efforts will save lives, and there is no more important goal,” she added.
“We saw the huge challenge PAHO is facing and saw the opportunity to connect two worlds that rarely talk to each other: international bureaucracy and creatives” said Michelle Arevalo-Carpenter, CEO of IMPAQTO, one of the organizing institutions.
“Images that are culturally relevant and resonate at the local level are most important. We need to create valuable connections based on trust with people and national audiences,” said Gilles Collette, advisor on corporate communications at PAHO. “Engaging multifaceted talents from the design and visual communication sectors can effectively help close the knowledge gap on Covid-19 and expand access to pertinent life-saving solutions.”