A Somali-Norwegian sociologist Faisa Warsame is on course to winning the Oslo Citizen of the Year following her community outreach work to create awareness on the need for COVID-19 vaccination among Somalis in the Nordic nation.
When news spread out that Somalis and people of colour were most affected by COVID-19 in Norway and Sweden early this year, Faisa, a sociologist by training put her best foot forward and her professional training into action. She developed a call centre with all COVID-19 information translated into the Somali language to ensure Somalis understood the message from their language.
About 20 social workers, nurses, environmental workers, psychologists, lawyers, child welfare educators and students answered questions about covid, infection control and vaccines.
The message made sense when they heard and received it in their language, Faisa told the Norwegian publication, FriFagbevegelse during an interview.
The call centre was operated voluntarily, but it became too demanding without financial support and next to a full-time job. It was closed three months later.
But Faisa did not give up. She formed Hope Competence, an organisation that works to improve the everyday lives of children with an immigrant background in the Old Oslo district.
Among the members of Hope Competence, she hand-picked ten mothers for a mothers’ council on corona in collaboration with the district.
The council hired a Somali doctor who could answer questions about the corona.
Each mother was given responsibility for ten families, ie between 70 and 100 people.
Faisa’s efforts are now being recognized in Norway. She has been nominated for the Oslo Citizen of the Year award given annually to “a fiery soul who has moved beyond any position instructions”. To “a person who spends time and energy on making everyday life a little better for his fellow human beings” and “who has made the city even a little better to live in”, as it is called in the criteria.
Faisa now works full time at Outdoor Section in Oslo where she does outreach programmes reaching out to people in need in Oslo.