Covid-19: How To Create Neighbourhood Pods


As things get harder, we show up for our neighbours. As a neighbourhood point person, you’d take on the responsibility of reaching out to your neighbours, checking in on what needs are arising on your block, coordinating a neighbourhood group chat or phone tree, and staying in touch with the point people from other neighbourhoods for resource pooling.

We are trying to build a network of many neighbourhood pods across Johannesburg.

How To Build Your Pod

Print (or write out!) copies of the following contact sheet and deliver it to your neighbours. You might deliver 30+ fliers to the houses/apartments right around where you live. Knock, talk through the flyer with them, and if they aren’t home, leave a flyer. (For germ avoidance, it might be better to just leave the flyer!)

  • The flyers are to exchange contact info, in order to start a text thread (or WhatsApp, Signal, Slack, Facebook Messenger, whatever!) or a phone tree.
  • Naming your pod: Pick a fun name! My dad’s pod is “the Peralta Street Blockheads”
Click image for access to Google Doc

Building Your Pod:

  • Create a group chat for your neighbourhood and as people text you, add them to the group. We recommend WhatsApp, but use whatever works for you all.
  • Troubleshoot as needed – helping folks download WhatsApp and get set up if they need it, answering questions, and asking neighbours to help bring more people in.
  • Neighbourhood Pods should be between five and 30 or so, if there are more than 30 neighbours interested, figure out how to split up into two pods.

Stay in touch with folks. Use the conversation guide below to get a sense of what support needs may come up in your pod. Share wider-community resources.

Connecting To Other Pods

  • Join the Neighborhood Point People WhatsApp group chat to connect with other pods. You may want to ask for resources that your pod doesn’t have, ask for advice, share successes, or offer ideas to others.

kids about COVID-19

Pod Conversation Guide

This can be a conversation or you can take notes, compiling a little neighbourhood directory with emergency contacts for people. **We encourage you to have this conversation over the phone once you have exchanged info rather than in-person to minimise disease spread**

  1. Hi neighbour! We may know each other well, or we may be meeting for the first time. If this is the first time: tell me a little about your life! What is your living situation like? Do you have pets? What are your days like? Do you have any particular skills or hobbies?
  2. What are you concerned about right now in regard to COVID-19? Your health or your family’s? Losing work or childcare? Being confined to your home? What do you think this may mean for you?
  3. Who are the main people in your life who you contact about your well-being? How do you contact them (by phone, on Facebook), and would you be open to sharing their contact info with me in case of emergency? Who else lives with you, and how can we best contact them if need be?
  4. What resources, skills, interests, knowledge do you hold that you would be open to sharing with the block?
  5. What do you think is important to share with me and others about your health? Dietary restrictions? Where do you pick up prescriptions? Which clinic do you go to?

Resources To Share With Your Pod

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