07 May 2020

How ChildFund donors are helping children and communities around the world to tackle COVID-19

Thanks to our monthly donors and sponsors, ChildFund is responding to COVID-19 in 60 countries worldwide.
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Having established, solid local partnerships in place and being part of an international alliance is key to ChildFund New Zealand in helping children thrive. At a time of crisis or disaster, our in-country teams are able to pivot from ongoing project work and kick into action helping communities through.

The initial response in most of ChildFund’s communities has been raising awareness about COVID-19, how it spreads and the importance of handwashing through advertising campaigns, social media and the distribution of information and materials. Also in giving out soap and providing more access to clean water for handwashing.

In Kenya, Zambia, Vietnam and Sri Lanka cash assistance of around USD $30 have been given out to many families to help them buy food and other necessities. Thousands more households are set to receive some financial assistance.

Education continuity is also a key focus and with schools and early childhood centres closed, ChildFund teams in Zambia and Sri Lanka have e-platforms to assist thousands of children with learning while other countries are working on processes to help children meet their educational goals.

Child protection around giving advice to caregivers and parents along with keeping channels open for reporting abuse continue in most countries. Positive parenting information is being shared in E-portals also. ChildFund continues its participation in governmental and non-governmental forums across all countries.

Here is a summary about what your support is doing to help children in some of the countries where we work:

Zambia

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For those Kiwis who support children in Zambia, you’ll be pleased to know that ChildFund has been working to minimise the impact of COVID-19 on these communities. 

More than three million people have been reached in 10 districts and 31 communities with supplies and/or assistance to help combat the impact of COVID-19.

ChildFund is working with six local partners, and in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and other national services, to distribute information on COVID-19 through mobile campaigns and community radio stations, along with distributing posters and flyers.

6,000 ChildFund-supported households have been selected to receive some cash assistance.

Child protection work is ongoing. Through our local partners, support circles have been kept active and communication lines have been kept open to report any case of abuse. Sponsored community radio programmes on COVID-19 also include information to caregivers on upholding child rights and also to provide advice on parenting during COVID-19. There is child-friendly information on hand-washing and information on the role that children play in stopping the spread.

ChildFund is part of the National Education Working Group of all international NGOs and local NGOs that work in the education sub-sector with the Ministry of Education, and has launched an education portal to support E-Learning.

From early childhood education to high school, we are procuring and distributing radios and smartphones for children, to tune into the lessons being aired on radio and our e-Learning portal. In rural areas, local partners are printing and distributing learning materials as well.

101 health facilities have been supported by ChildFund by providing hand washing facilities, soap, hand sanitizers, face masks, infrared thermometers, and beds and blankets for quarantine areas.

ChildFund has provided hand-washing facilities and soap in all community centres.

ChildFund is working with local government committees in all of the 31 communities where we work.

Rural households continue to be supported with livestock, including cows, goats and chickens.

Work is ongoing in communities, including the drilling of boreholes to ensure availability of clean and safe water for hygiene purposes and household consumption. 

Kenya

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Kiwis support children in Kenya, more than any other country where ChildFund works. Here are the ways your donations are helping children during the COVID-19 pandemic.

ChildFund and our local partners have provided cash transfers of around UD$30 to 240 vulnerable sponsored households in Nairobi to support them with food and other necessities. An estimated 26,000 households will receive support during COVID-19.

Over 2,800 households have been given hand sanitizer and/or soap. Another 23,000 households will receive new supplies.

Also, 3,000 water storage jerry cans are being delivered to families in need.

440 families with children under age 3 have been given hand-washing water dispensers for domestic use. A further 750 hand-washing vessels and soaps are being distributed to families this week.

Awareness outreach has been done in most of the 21 counties where ChildFund Kenya operates. These include caravan campaigns, distribution of pamphlets, and radio announcements and talk shows. Further support is planned to county governments and community volunteers with pamphlets and materials, including radio, TV and other forms of media.

ChildFund is working with local partners to monitor child protection issues. The team are active in meetings with domestic and international aid groups.

To prevent infecting children and families, all activities that bring children and their caregivers together in groups have been reduced.

Community health volunteers have been trained and have been provided with information on COVID-19 prevention which has been passed on to about 1,895 households.

Sri Lanka

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Kiwi donors support thousands of children and family members in Sri Lanka through ChildFund every year. In response to COVID-19, the following activities are underway.

ChildFund Sri Lanka has identified a targeted reach of 40,000 children and 40,000 adults with materials about COVID-19 and how to prevent infection and hand-washing processes.

ChildFund has prioritized cash and food assistance in Sri Lanka, and is planning to reach about 5,000 families who are in the current need through this intervention. So far, we have also reached 100 families through a food-assistance program.

ChildFund Sri Lanka is progressing to establish e-learning platforms for all of our programs. Currently, about 2,000 children and youth are being reached through our e-learning platforms.

We have also developed materials on child protection and positive parenting during COVID-19, which is to be shared on the e-learning platforms as well.

ChildFund is participating in various national and local government working groups.

Vietnam

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In Vietnam, children have been supported by ChildFund’s donors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In recent weeks, information has been distributed to our communities around the importance of hand-washing in schools and caring for the elderly. We have also provided equipment to enable satellite schools, and are preparing personal protection equipment for elderly members of the communities and the district hospitals, which will be distributed in coming days.

Developing plans for a potential household cash assistance programme is in the works for our communities in Vietnam.

ChildFund is also developing plans to reactivate projects in the context of schools reopening, so we can prioritize catching up on curriculum. Some activities have continued like the distribution of bikes for vulnerable children. 

Papua New Guinea

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ChildFund is continuing its life-saving work with vulnerable families in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

Our domestic helpline counselling service continues to operate with staff being assisted with safe transport. We have an ongoing focus on scenario-planning in case the COVID-19 situation continues to worsen, both financially and contextually.

Handing-washing demonstrations have been carried out in ChildFund-supported communities, and materials have been delivered.

Plans have been created by ChildFund PNG staff for newborn care training, which will be delivered by local midwives to 10 community health workers in 3 health facilities in PNG.

ChildFund will purchase protective equipment, like masks and gloves, which will be provided for the  safety for our staff and health-care workers.

We are also engaging strongly with government organisations and creating plans for province-led responses to COVID-19.

Kiribati

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ChildFund has been visiting households throughout Betio to distribute information and provide guidance on COVID19 prevention and improved hygiene and handwashing practices. Each household is also provided with a supply of soap with 2,200 households (17,600 people) so far visited.

ChildFund Kiribati actively shares information about child safeguarding and child protection with the Betio communities, and has included this in their awareness raising activities.

ChildFund Kiribati continues to raise awareness around the risks that COVID-19 restrictions place children particularly in relation to neglect, distress and family disruption.

ChildFund Kiribati continues to coordinate with key stakeholders, including the Betio Town Council, Red Cross, UNICEF, Caritas, Ministry of Health and Medical Services, WHO, and community representatives.

At this time, the ChildFund team are focusing on awareness raising activities and the distribution of soap, hygiene and handwashing communication materials. ChildFund Kiribati is working with the Betio Town Council and Red Cross to deliver community information sessions. To date, these stakeholders have conducted 24 maroros (community meetings) across Betio.

ChildFund is also utilizing social media to share prevention and awareness raising messages. The ChildFund Kiribati team update the social media sites once a day and have a significant community following.

ChildFund Kiribati is also working with UNICEF, WHO and Ministry of Health and Ministry Service to potentially create a group of volunteers to assist with awareness prevention in South Tarawa and the Outer Islands.

Timor-Leste

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ChildFund's Child Essential donors are helping support communities in Timor-Leste. Here is the current situation related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Timor-Leste, a high numbers of people from Dili are going to rural areas. There are concerns regarding longer term impact on food security (the country is dependent on import for essential (food) supplies. There is already a shortage of medicines. Goods overland border with Indonesia are still allowed, but could be affected with further worsening of the situation in Indonesia.

There is also a fear that coupled with an outbreak, introduction of more intense measure, it could lead to more civil unrest in the country.

This will pose a higher risk for challenges during exit such as misinformation amongst stakeholders and our ability ensuring assets are remaining for the benefit of the community. Finance capacity building for LP’s have also been cancelled.

There has been some challenges for the ChildFund team with IT infrastructure, in terms of aged equipment and staff experience more challenges with internet quality at home.

Parliament is discussing the economic stimulus package. Amongst these are measures to support 214.000 Households with basic income (100 USD for 3 months); subsidizing the payment of wages of formal sector employees who may be quarantined or staying at home during the pandemic; internet subsidies to study online for university students.

Thank you to all of our monthly supporters!

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Because of you, ChildFund is able to provide assistance to nearly 16 million children, youth and family members in 60 countries every year. With your continued support, we will be able to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and strengthen local communities for future disasters and emergencies.

ChildFund is currently working to raise funds for our COVID-19 responses globally, and we need your help. Please visit https://gifts.childfund.org.nz/covid19 to learn more about our appeal, and how you can help. Share with your friends and spread the word that you care about the impact of COVID-19 on children and families around the world. 

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