Adapting to the pandemic
Oct 22, 2020
CARE’s mission for equality is more relevant than ever before. And while COVID-19 has meant adjusting our path, our work fighting poverty, saving lives in emergencies, and creating a better, more equal world continues.
Our work is global, but the implementation is local. People in their own communities around the world are the ones making the difference—facilitating training, volunteering, advocating, delivering supplies, and much more. How are we working together to do this crucial work when every aspect of daily life has been affected by COVID-19? Here are some great examples:
Ensuring no one is left behind
Local partners of our Women’s Voice and Leadership programs in Kenya—supported by the Government of Canada—ensure women have the tools they need to make their voices heard, to communicate their needs and to take their seat at the decision-making table.
Center for Livelihood Advancement Kenya has:
- Helped domestic workers access hygiene supplies and information kits
- Prevented gender-based violence through media advocacy and a toll-free number to report any forms of violence they’re experiencing in their work.
Key Affected Population Health and Legal Rights Alliance has:
- Shared COVID-19 prevention guidelines specifically for sex workers through social media
- Established a 24-hour hotline number to facilitate real-time reporting of cases of violence.
The Kenya National Deaf Women Peace Network:
- Developed and distributed materials with COVID- 19 messaging for the deaf community in Kenyan Sign Language for children, youth and adults
- Ensured essential medicines were delivered to those unable to collect them or go for regular clinics and provided transport to those who needed to go to clinics
- Facilitated counselling and psychosocial support for those families affected by COVID-19.
All of this incredible work is helping to ensure that people who are often marginalized have the information and resources they need to identify and prevent COVID-19.
Having cash at hand
CARE provides cash and voucher assistance wherever appropriate, which is playing a key role in helping people living in emergency settings make their own decisions about what they need and have the money to buy it. This is also helping to build up local economies.
- In Ecudaor, people are contacted through a phone or WhatsApp call that walks them through . They then receive a bank code and a detailed explanation on how to withdraw money from an ATM. After the process is concluded, satisfaction surveys are also conducted
- In Somalia & Ethiopia, CARE has changed its cash for work system to unconditional cash transfers via cell phone to reduce the risk of person to person contact
- In Mali, a digital food voucher system is helping to ensure people can make sure their families can put food on the table during lock down.
- In Tanzania, CARE’s TAMANI project collaborated with VIAMO (mobile service), and developed key SMS messages centered on COVID-19 awareness and prevention. This included both interactive and recorded messages over a 4-month period.
Harnessing the power of social media
Social media has the power to unite, and this has never been more apparent than right now during the pandemic.
- In Benin and Togo, CARE is using social media to reach partners, savings and loans group members, and communities in general with vital information on identifying and preventing COVID-19. Community facilitators are training people through WhatsApp and meetings with staff, partners and donors continue to take place via Zoom.
- In Egypt, CARE is raising awareness and getting information out to refugees through podcast messages.
- In Ethiopia, CARE is using Facebook to communicate in three languages in partnership with a local publishing company.
To date, 41 countries that CARE is working in are now using new digital solutions, from building apps to taking advantage of text messages to communicate with participants, to holding digital forums and marketplaces.
Hitting the airwaves
- In the Philippines, CARE will be broadcasting a radio program in Marawi, where regular reminders for COVID-19 prevention will be shared in the local language, together with other health reminders.
- In Tanzania, CARE used the findings from their rapid gender analysis to plan a number of radio talk shows to discuss gender-based violence (GBV), including influencing police stations to provide better support for GBV survivors.
- In Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya, CARE education partners are using radio to teach lessons and to engage students by having them call in with questions and answers.
Reallocating funds to where they are needed most
In Sudan, funds were reallocated so CARE could help communities quickly and efficiently to respond to COVID-19 in East and South Darfur. This meant sourcing and distributing hygiene kits for women and girls living in displaced persons camps; providing PPE (personal protective equipment) and hand sanitizer for local healthcare and community outreach workers; and stockpiling a reserve of essential items (for example, food and oxygen supplies) in the event that they are needed, particularly in the most remote areas where access to hospitals is extremely limited.
Shifting models to keep women in business
We’ve all seen how COVID-19 has impacted businesses around the world—particularly women-run small businesses. Unemployment has skyrocketed, and unlike previous economic crises, these job losses are hitting women the hardest, since women dominate the service industries that are most affected by COVID-19 restrictions.
But there are solutions to help people find jobs, create jobs, and cope with unemployment and CARE is implementing them in many ways.
- In the West Bank and Gaza, CARE’s OBADER project—supported by the Government of Canada—is helping women small business owners make adjustments to their business models by using online platforms so they can operate during lock down.
- Many working in the apparel and textiles industry have used COVID-19 as an opportunity to make and sell face masks. Women’s groups supported by CARE and our partners in Sri Lanka, Honduras, Uganda and many other places have done just this. They are able to continue to earn an income for themselves and their families, while providing essential products for their communities.
CARE has been able to continue to develop solutions with women and girls and their communities to tackle the big issues facing them—climate change, economic empowerment, food security and emergency relief in times of crisis or disaster—all while responding to COVID-19 and the challenges it’s presented. And that’s thanks to our dedicated staff, both global and local, and our generous supporters.
Now more than ever, it’s our collective duty to work together to ensure that everyone, everywhere can get through this global crisis and build a better, more just world.