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WhatsApp provides creative teaching opportunity for SNAP-Ed with Minnesota's Somali community

SNAP-Ed educator connects with WhatsApp

While many of us have used Zoom to connect with each other during the pandemic, one Extension SNAP-Ed educator, Nimo Yusuf, found an alternative way to connect with Minnesota’s Somali community.

WhatsApp is the most popular messaging platform across Africa, and many in the Somali community in Minnesota use it to communicate with friends and family in Somalia, as well as each other here in the states. Looking for new and creative ways to teach online, and recognizing the popularity and widespread use of WhatsApp among her students, Nimo was able to pivot from in-person teaching and creatively adapt her normal lessons into perfectly bite-sized social-media friendly messages. By thinking outside of the box and engaging students through a platform they were already familiar with, Nimo was able to save time that might have been spent teaching people how to use zoom or trouble-shooting technology issues and instead spend her time creating voice memo lessons on a variety of nutrition topics.

Using the apps group function, Nimo could create ‘classes’ and add her students, allowing for interaction between students and herself as an instructor. She not only translated her curriculum into bite-sized messages but made lessons that were also culturally relevant to the Somali community. Nimo combined her voice memos with pictures lessons such as comparing across brands for price and healthfulness, and how to read nutrition labels. Though she missed seeing students faces in-person, the ease of using the app, at a time convenient for them, led to a huge amount of engagement and messaging between Nimo and her classes.

Related topics: Family
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