During a global pandemic where many turned to technology for entertainment, connection, and information, the digital divide across South-East Asia was highlighted even further. Now, during the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, it’s integral that governments navigate this gap.
All groups within the community need to know how and when they can get the vaccine, no matter what their level of tech-access or literacy. We unpack who the digital divide affects the most, and how a multi-channel communication strategy can ensure all community groups are engaged.
Groups made most vulnerable by the digital divide
While adoption of smartphones and the internet is relatively strong across some South-East Asian countries, there is still a digital divide that leaves many groups - particularly vulnerable ones - behind.
These groups tend to be lower-income earners, the elderly, and those living in rural areas. In Indonesia, for example, there’s a huge disparity between the most populated island Java, which contributes to more than half of the country’s internet usage, and the rest of the nation.
Singaporeans living in 1 and 2 bedroom public housing flats are far less likely to have internet access - only 45% compared to 96% of private households. And while Malaysia reports high internet access adoption (approximately 90% across the country), quality is still lacking, with reports of students having to climb trees and hills for better reception.
When there’s an expectation for citizens to register their details, book vaccine appointments, find out important information, and more all online, better measures need to be taken to ensure widespread access.
Reaching groups with low literacy or access to technology
The key to reaching a wider audience is diversifying communication methods. Multi-channel communication spans across various mediums – including two-way text messages, Facebook posts, voice messages and comprehensive emails.
Building out options ensures that each group is being met where they digitally live. For example, for someone without a traditional computer or broadband computer, communicating via SMS is likely your best bet. You could also ensure links to forms (such as registering their details or making a booking) are mobile-friendly, creating a seamless end-to-end experience.
Another example may be someone who has internet access but isn’t prolific at surfing the web. Instead, they’re more comfortable sticking to browsing Facebook. In this case, building out updates, resources, and communication strategies that focus on Facebook and other social media channels may be ideal.
Measuring success through distribution lists
After diversifying your messaging through multi-channel communication, you can measure success through the use of segmented distribution lists. These make it easier to collate data and determine how groups are engaging and converting.
Multi-channel communications made simple
Whispir makes it possible to easily build out multi-channel communication strategies through one single channel. Segment audiences, send messages at-scale, manage multiple channels (e.g., SMS, social media, voice and email), and much more.
These communication tools are key for helping local governments and government agencies bridge the digital divide, and make a significant difference in the lives of community members at such a critical time.
We’ve designed Whispir to be as simple to use as possible, so you won’t need any IT support to get up and running with your communication plan. Learn more about how Whispir can assist you in communicating your COVID-19 vaccine rollout.