Southeast Seattle Education Coalition

Support Ethiopians of King County

The Tesfa Program offers a weekly teleconference to update people on emerging COVID-19 related health and behavioral concerns and directives. We also utilize text messaging and robocalls to share critical health info.

Started as a community response to COVID-19 in March 2020, the Tesfa Program provides regular culturally appropriate and accessible health info to the Ethiopian community.

Tesfa means “Hope” in Amharic because we want to give people hope during these difficult times. Our mission is to reduce the disproportionate negative health impact of COVID-19 on the Ethiopian immigrant community in King County. We provide scientifically accurate, culturally relevant and timely public health and healthcare information related to COVID-19 in Amharic, one of the top 5 languages spoken in King County. As the pandemic evolves, we will work in real time to curate, translate and personalize the public health guidelines to our community.

The Tesfa Program’s goal is to:

  • Encourage mask wearing, staying home and other behaviors that prevent or lessen the spread of COVID-19 and other conditions
  • Empower communities to seek medical treatment and preventive healthcare for COVID-19 and other conditions (including COVID-19 testing)
  • Educate communities on COVID-19 vaccination, including schedules and access upon development/release (estimated in early to late 2021)
  • Combat misinformation and conspiracy theories with accurate and timely information that considers cultural understanding of communities.
  • Support basic needs access to communities impacted by COVID-19’s economic effects, such as food, unemployment, and medical benefit programs

Program Areas
We focus on COVID-19 issues that intersect with social determinants of health directly impacting the Ethiopian community. We to improve health outcomes for the Ethiopian community by furthering the efforts of health care and public health providers by encouraging healthy behaviors in a culturally competent manner. We help people better understand systems so they may better access health, food, and basic needs programs. Finally, we connect people with resources and best practices on utilization to keep them healthy during this difficult time. Our community is very word-of-mouth focused so we work to dispel dangerous myths while cultivating trust.

Population Served
We serve the 13,000+ Ethiopian immigrants living in King County. Ethiopians make up the largest portion of the overall East African population in Seattle and King County. Almost all of our participants are Amharic-only speakers or have limited English skills.

Email: [email protected]