The challenge of COVID-19

Engaging Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities in COVID-19 and pandemic health information

Understanding the experiences and communication needs of CALD communities during the COVID-19 pandemic

The large amount of information that has been disseminated during the COVID-19 pandemic has posed difficulties for many in Australia, particularly for culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities, who face particular challenges in accessing relevant up-to-date information due to language and cultural barriers.

In the second half of 2021, RUMACCC conducted an interview-based study for the Victorian Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH). The purpose of the study was to understand how information about COVID-19 has been provided and understood in a range of different communities, how effective different communication channels have been, and whether participants have trusted the information they have received.

The report presents the study’s findings and recommendations and is available for download.

Enhancing COVID-19 public health communication for CALD communities

A major challenge for dealing with the COVID pandemic in Australia is ensuring that culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities have an appropriate understanding about self-care and government advice and directives in order to avoid infection and transmission. Reaching non-English-speaking communities with timely and accessible information is now acknowledged to be a significant problem in eliminating COVID in Victoria.

We explore:

  • (a) the provision of information across languages and communities
  • (b) mechanisms of access to and reach within CALD communities
  • (c) issues arising out of provision and access; as well as
  • (d) response to resources and services by CALD communities

Part of our attention is focussed on 3 case studies: the Greek, Italian and Chinese communities, especially with respect to information provision to protect the elderly.

The project evaluates issues in current COVID-related communication with CALD communities in Australia.

The project is highly timely and promises significant impact over time by helping governments and other organisations to improve information and service delivery.

This project is funded by a Faculty of Arts Collaboration Seed Grant.


  • Karidakis, M., Woodward-Kron, R., Amorati, R., Hu, B., Pym, A., & Hajek, J. (2022). Enhancing COVID-19 public health communication for culturally and linguistically diverse communities: An Australian interview study with community representatives. Qualitative Health Communication, 1(1), 61–83.
  • Pym, A., Hu, B. Woodward-Kron, R., Hajek, J., Karidakis, M., & Amorati, R. (forthcoming) Community trust in translations of official COVID-19 communications in Australia: An ethical dilemma between academics and the press. In Piotr Blumczynski and Steven Wilson (Eds.) The Languages of COVID-19: Transnational and Multilingual Perspectives on Global Healthcare. Routledge.