Media coverage about COVID-19 has been non-stop. But, despite the global scale of the situation, Canadian media coverage about the effects of COVID-19 has largely focused on the impact here. While, understanding the effect on Canadians lives, the economy and the healthcare system, global perspectives are also essential to understanding the true sense of the situation.
This is where you can help: Letters to the editor of local papers from Canadians like you can help fill an important gap and raise awareness about what’s happening in the world and how Canada can help. These letters are also a great way to get the attention of key decision makers.
Here are some key tips to help you write your letter.
Write your letter as a response to an event or a recently published article
Responding to an event or a recently published article will make your letter more relevant and increases your chances of getting published. A recent event relevant to COVID-19 that you can use as a “hook” for your letter is Canada’s announcement of its support to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and End Polio on May 12. As the development for a COVID-19 vaccine is getting more media coverage, so should the need for equitable access to it for everyone, everywhere.
Use some facts or stats
Not a policy expert? No worries! We have plenty of resources that you can use. One of them is our ONE Africa COVID-19 Tracker, where we pull the latest reliable data from global institutions, governments, and universities to explore the health, economic, and social impacts of the virus on African countries. Have a look at the tracker here.
You can also quote the experts we have been interviewing during our #PassTheMic campaign, like ONE’s President and CEO, Gayle Smith or President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, is the former president of Liberia.
Mention your MP and your riding by name
You MP and their staff pay close attention to the media so by mentioning your riding and MP by name, you will more likely get their attention to this issue.
Connect it to a personal experience and why you care
Your passion and conviction can go a long way. Speak from the heart! Here are a few ideas that might resonate with you…
- Are you concerned about the immediate global response for prevention and treatment? Malawi only has a ventilator per 1.2 million people and in 10 African countries, there are no ventilators at all. Many of the world’s poorest countries do not have enough resources to tackle COVID-19. We need global resources to fund a strong humanitarian response in these countries and the development of new medicines and vaccines available to all, so that no one is left behind.
- Do you want to draw attention to the economic impact? 71% of Africa’s workforce is informally employed & unable to work from home. By following stay at home orders, vulnerable people will be pushed further into poverty and their biggest concern will be hunger.
- Are you calling for a long-term vision for the world? COVID-19 is only one of several diseases that have taught us how well a virus can spread beyond borders. We need to strong health systems around the world to prepare ourselves when this happens again.
Keep it under 150 words and give the letter a snappy headline
This will get the editor’s attention and increase your chances of getting published. Not only that, it will also peak the readers’ interest.
And the final step: Send it! No matter how well-written your letter might be, if it stays in your draft folder, it will never do any good.
Being stuck at home doesn’t mean we can’t use our voices and take actions. There are also other ways to fight COVID-19, like signing the ONE World petition, spreading the word on social media or reaching out directly to your MP.