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Visual Storytelling on the Navajo Nation During COVID-19

Client/ Funder: Rural Arizona Project
Location: Navajo Nation
Catapult Service Line: Design
Thematic Area: GLOBAL HEALTH, WASH

Challenge

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, people are struggling. Those that were already vulnerable are even more so. This is especially true for those living on the Navajo Nation. Those most at risk of severe illness include elders and adults over 60 years of age, and people with heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes.

People living on the reservation are struggling to follow COVID-19 guidelines effectively in their day-to-day. Navajo public service providers (i.e. government) are struggling to enforce these guidelines despite strict curfews and messaging through commonly-used information channels. 

Work

Catapult Design saw an urgent need to develop creative new ways of adapting CDC guidelines to the Navajo context to make it more relatable, relevant, and actionable. The intent was to do the right thing now and build the foundation for a more resilient future in collaboration with Navajo partners.

We took the initiative to find the right Native partners and collaborate on a visual storytelling piece that would effectively communicate critical information and promote safe conduct during the uncertain times of the current pandemic.

In close collaboration with the Navajo & Hopi Families Relief team, Catapult Design developed a communications piece that utilizes the power of visual storytelling. The 1-pager focuses on context-specific COVID-19 guidelines in English and Dine (Navajo), designed specifically for the Relief care packages that are distributed to families across the reservation and for digital share-out on the Relief social media platforms.

Results

To date, Catapult Design has completed three Navajo-specific communication pieces utilizing the same style and Navajo characters to communicate safe conduct during the time of a pandemic. All research and design was done in close collaboration with our partners at the Navajo & Hopi Families Relief Fund and the Rural Arizona Project — sister organization to the Rural Utah Project and fiscal sponsor to the Relief.

The first more general piece on CDC COVID-19 guidelines was well received by the Native communities as documented through social media responses and re-shares. The second piece — which was also developed in close collaboration with the Relief team — illustrates proper hand washing and hand sanitizing within the realities of the reservation. For the third piece, the Rural Arizona Project engaged Catapult Design to design a communication piece on safe voting by mail and in-person on the Navajo Nation.

All works were done in both, English and Navajo. We also created black and white versions of all as coloring pages for children, a fun value-add.

 

Collaborators

The Navajo & Hopi Families Relief Fund, Indige Design Collab, Colin Lawler