Increasing COVID-19 prevention behaviors through strategic communication

South Africa

August 2021 – December 2023


In 2023, Project Last Mile continued its support to the National Department of Health to increase COVID-19 prevention behaviors, funded by The Coca-Cola Foundation and USAID. This involved sharing insights gained from Project Last Mile’s national support during the initial year of vaccine rollout and deploying more targeted campaigns to reach segments with low uptake or high risk from COVID-19.

Launched in February 2023, the “You’ve Got This” campaign concluded in September of the same year. This national mass media initiative, developed with a creative agency to refine the strategic approach and creative direction, aimed to encourage vaccination among individuals with chronic illnesses and those over 50 years old. The campaign included below-the-line activations to bring vaccinations and health screenings directly to communities.

Additionally, Project Last Mile completed a youth engagement pilot, focusing one week of the five-week campaign on vaccinations (highlighting COVID-19 vaccines) and offering COVID-19 vaccinations at the two wellness day events. This program, which ran in two underserved townships in South Africa, aimed to evaluate engagement through youth development organizations to increase health-seeking behaviors, particularly among males aged 18–30.

Project Last Mile continued supporting the National Department of Health’s Risk Communication and Community Engagement team in 2023 with various campaigns, including finalizing a communication strategy for the pediatric COVID-19 vaccine and other community-based initiatives.

“You’ve got this” results

  • An average of over 27 million people were reached nationally each month between September 2021 and January 2022.
  • Partnership with faith-based organizations resulted in the vaccination of 56% of their congregants.
  • Digital campaigns driven by influencers targeted youth through unconventional channels, garnering over 20 million views.
  • A campaign focused on creating awareness about the correct number of vaccine boosters increased the target audience’s knowledge by 46%.
  • A campaign offering digital rewards to incentivize vaccination among young people led to over 8,000 vaccinations.

Youth pilot results:

  • Partnership with youth non-profit organizations engaged 779 members and delivered 1,333 health services.
  • Held two health service outreach events, with 524 attendees, 49% of whom were under 30 years old.
  • Provided 1,333 health services, including 61 COVID-19 vaccines.

This information originally appeared in the 2023 annual report.