Throughout the pandemic, CARE teams and the people we serve have been rising to the challenge by being creative. Around the world, people are using CARE programs to find ways to respond in the hardest circumstances.
In Ecuador, CARE is using emojis to help women who might be experiencing gender-based violence in quarantine to safely report and ask for help. In the Philippines, local women leaders are partnering with CARE to keep markets functioning by safely delivering fresh vegetables from farms to families in crisis. In Haiti, boom boxes have become a key ingredient in raising awareness around the disease while preserving social distance.
As of April 9th, CARE has reached more than 106 million people (nearly 51 million women and girls) through our COVID-19 response, 104 million of them in India alone. Outside of India, we were able to more than triple the number of people we were reaching in under a week (between April 3-9). We’re responding in 60 countries, despite having to work around operational restrictions in 25 countries.
What are we doing?
Promoting hand washing. CARE has worked with more than 1.7 million people to directly promote hygiene and hand washing. Kenya is working to get hand washing messaging to more than 491,000 people in Dadaab refugee camp. Bangladesh has worked with more than 281,000 people-especially those in the camps near Cox’s Bazaar. Sudan has reached more than 123,000 people with hygiene messages.
Getting people the supplies they need. CARE has already provided more than 41,000 hygiene kits, especially for refugees and people in very fragile circumstances. Afghanistan has provided more than 17,730 kits to people. Sudan is helping health centres to ensure they have the masks, gloves, and other supplies they need to respond to an outbreak. CARE Bangladesh, Philippines, and Somalia are all working with the government to ensure health care workers get the sanitation supplies they need.
Investing in infrastructure. CARE teams are setting up hand washing stations in critical areas-where we know we will be distributing cash, food or supplies. We’re also working in high risk places, like densely populated settlements or refugee camps, to set up housing and safe places to stay for people to stay while in quarantine. Part of this is ensuring that new shelters have hand washing spaces, clean water, and access to supplies. Bangladesh is setting up hand washing stations in crowded markets.
Supporting health workers. In India, CARE is working with the government to provide technical assistance in responding to COVID-19 in Bihar and prepare for response, hygiene, and awareness-raising. In Somalia, CARE has worked to train and support health care workers to understand how to prevent and respond to COVID-19. The team in Palestine is working with partners to train medical teams and custodians on how to prevent COVID-19, and is supporting planning and delivery of supplies in health centres. Mozambique is continuing to rehabilitate health centres.
Getting people water. CARE has helped nearly 397,000 additional people get access to clean water that is so critical for good hygiene and hand washing.
Focusing on food. In the Philippines, CARE has been safely buying thousands of fresh food packs of locally grown vegetables from farmers outside cities and delivering them to people in urban areas where mobility and markets are restricted every week. Haiti is adapting food security programs to give additional food vouchers to poor households who are stuck in self-isolation. Ecuador is including food kits as part of the humanitarian deliveries it coordinates with local organizations. Mozambique has prioritized delivering seeds for the agricultural season as one of its life-saving interventions.
How are we doing it?
Prioritizing gender. CARE teams have already completed 6 Rapid Gender Analyses to understand the gendered impacts of COVID-19, and we have many more in process so we can better respond to specific contexts. In Ecuador, teams are responding to urgent concerns about gender-based violence and have set up a virtual support mechanism. This support system provides information and training to prevent gender-based violence, practices to prevent COVID-19, and provides psycho-social support to caregivers and those who have COVID-19.
Asking people what they need. Hotlines, help desks, and other ways to collect feedback have been invaluable for planning and adapting our response. In Jordan, one needs assessment showed that 77% of refugees in Azraq refugee camp and the urban areas around it wanted to get information through social media. In Turkey, a help line set up to respond to the growing number of COVID-19 calls is helping our team target more effective information channels, answer people’s questions, and prioritize which areas need more supplies and support.
Communicate creatively. Somalia has worked with mobile providers that support CARE’s cash transfer programs to deliver key COVID-19 messages to more than 270,000 families. They are also working with radio and TV stations to distribute messages. In the Philippines, CARE is using its existing knowledge-sharing platform as the core library for COVID-19 best practices for the humanitarian response. In Turkey, the team is rolling out e-learning courses for community responders on protection against COVID-19. Haiti is sharing information through radio and mobile campaigns and making use of people in cars and on bicycles with boom boxes to spread message widely.
Thinking about the long term. In Indonesia, the team is advocating with garment factories to switch to producing much-needed masks and other protective equipment so that women garment workers can keep some income. In Somalia, CARE is working with the Ministry of Education to create a strategy for COVID-19 response in schools.