COVID-19 pandemic has affected majority of countries in Africa. Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Africa were 189,559 as of 8 June up from 51,000 a month ago. The numbers are growing fast. A new report by the Partnership for Evidence Based Response to COVID-19 (PERC) revealed some worrying findings about the impact of coronavirus on the lives of many Africans.
Half of respondents to the survey, conducted in 28 African cities, said they would run out of money if they had to stay home for 14 days. The lowest-income households expected to run out of food and money in less than a week. African Enterprise is privileged to being in the forefront in responding to this global crisis. With the help from our supporters, African Enterprise is implementing COVID-19 programs in 11 African countries through five key areas of intervention:
a) Distribution and selling of face masks made by AE tailoring projects in South Africa, Malawi and Kenya. The masks are being made by ladies who are trainees in those projects. This gives the trainees an opportunity to earn their livelihood during this crisis when jobs and incomes have been severely affected. Zimbabwe and Zambia are beginning to venture into making and distribution of face masks.
b) Food distribution is happening currently in South Africa and Rwanda while Zimbabwe, Malawi, Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia are now setting the ground for the same exercise. With food shortages as a result of loss of livelihoods, this response is bridging the gap and transforming many households.
c) Media engagement – Use of radio and TV broadcasts in educating communities on COVID-19 and bringing a message of hope is currently taking place in DRC, South Africa, Uganda, Malawi and Rwanda. Teams are seizing opportunities of media presence and leveraging on those opportunities to provide the much sought after education to masses through the conventional media in addition to social media.
d) Hygiene and Sanitation – Kenya has engaged in training on sanitation in informal settlements within Nairobi. DRC, Ghana, Uganda, Malawi and Tanzania are all set to kick off training of communities in hygiene and sanitation related topics as well as distribution of protective and sanitation products to aid in putting into practice what they learn.
e) Medical services – AE is involved in first line response through her existing medical healthcare facilities in Kenya and Uganda.
In addition to the five intervention areas, teams are encouraged to embrace the following for maximum impact:
a) Local partnerships: While the teams have received funding from AE supporters through the support offices, they are encouraged to seek local partnerships and local fund raising for continuity of the work. South Africa, Rwanda and Kenya are good examples that this achievable.
b) Trauma Counseling: AE has invested in training majority of Team Leaders, mission and social action directors in trauma counseling. They are seeking to optimize on these skills during this season to reach out to many people who are traumatized by the pandemic in one way or another.
c) Beneficiaries: With increasing needs coupled with limited resources, African Enterprise sticks to the rule of targeting and prioritizing the most vulnerable in her responses.
The Lord be praised for such coordinated ministry.
Ben Campbell is the CEO Africa Enterprise and Laura Bennett is a contributor for African Enterprise and radio host at Hope 103.2 based in Sydney.