The role of leadership among a Congolese community in Australia in response to the COVID-19 pandemic: a narrative study
Objective: Community leadership enhances collective action in times of uncertainty, such as during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. This study explores the role of leadership related to the COVID-19 response and information sharing among a newly emerging Congolese community in the Hunter New England region of Australia.
Methods: Semi-structured qualitative inquiry was used to interview four participants who were identified as being influential leaders of the local Congolese community. The findings of this study were part of a larger exploration of COVID-19 messaging among emerging culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities. Two interviewers independently analysed the transcribed data before pairing their findings. Narrative analysis was employed.
Results: Two major themes were identified: leadership as an assigned and trusted role, and leadership as a continuous responsibility. Several categories were identified within these themes, such as mutual connection, education level, multilingual ability and networking.
Discussion: The Congolese community leaders reported feeling responsible and confident in their ability to proactively contribute to the local COVID-19 response by enhancing communication within the community. By partnering with and learning from respected leaders in CALD communities, government health services have the opportunity to improve how current public health messaging is developed.