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Latin artists come together to provide creative input for PAHO's campaigns on the COVID-19 pandemic

Updated: Feb 4, 2021

This article first appeared at

Washington, D.C., August 28, 2020 (PAHO) — Artists from 10 Latin American countries gather this weekend to design creative pieces intended to support the Pan American Health Organization's public health campaigns against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The "Hackathon of images against Covid-19" consists of two virtual days of creative work by more than 60 artists and visual creators to make a collective contribution of graphic pieces in three key themes: Stop the contagion of Covid-19, contribute to mental health during quarantine, and counteract myths and misinformation.

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," explained Rachel Gerrol, CO-Founder and CEO of NEXUS.

Dr. Marcos Espinal, Director of PAHO's Department of Communicable Diseases, kicks off the event Friday with a description of the COVID-19 situation in Latin America and the need for clear information. PAHO and the event organizers signed a collaboration agreement for the event.

The opening of the event was on Friday 28 August at 9h00 (GMT-5), and will be broadcast live by: In the two-day virtual workshop, artists, designers and illustrators will have the opportunity to converse with an expert PAHO epidemiologist, learn about people-centered design to create effective pieces, and receive peer feedback and co-creation. At the end of the two days, a virtual gallery will be delivered to PAHO as a collective contribution of artists to this organization.

The three creative challenges presented to the artists are:

  • Contagion prevention: It is important to know how to stop the spread by taking actions based on scientific and reliable information. "As organizers and participants of the Hackathon - Hack the Crisis 2020: Images against COVID-19 we have the challenge of generating graphic pieces that inform and encourage people in our region to prevent contagion by taking responsible actions."

  • Combating misinformation: The challenge is to generate graphic pieces that encourage the population to validate any information they receive from reliable sources based on scientific evidence.

  • Mental health and well-being: Fear, worry and stress are normal responses in times of crisis and uncertainty. These feelings can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in children and adults. “As organizers and participants of the Hackathon - Hack the Crisis 2020: Images against COVID-19, we have the challenge of developing graphic pieces that promote self-care, mental health, help us to face the challenges of everyday life, and believe that a better day awaits us to build together," the organizers say.

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