How NGOs Can Respond to Covid19

How NGOs Can Respond to Covid 19

15-04-2020

Covid19 pandemic, which may last from one to one and a half years, NGOs will also be affected and need to adapt to the work they have to do in a very different approach than the known development and humanitarian standards. People live in anxiety and having to deal in an unprecedented way in our lives, we need a lot of efforts and serious solidarity to confront the epidemic.

Health response is not enough to deal with the pandemic, because not only the health sector is not the only aspect impacted, as that extends to all aspects of life.

Therefore, professional NGOs, nonprofits, civil society organizations, and community initiatives need to play significant roles in every area of ​​prevention and response.

Here I will highlight some of the aspects that NGOs/nonprofits can contribute:

Health Response

1-     Health facilities: nonprofit organizations can assist in supporting extra temporary equipped spaces for patients that need health care, providing operating expenses for a number of health facilities, providing furniture, medical supplies, and a device, providing material incentives for health personnel and volunteers, and providing adequate food for patients and health personnel.

2-     Hire doctors to provide distant counseling by phone or on professional platforms for people that need support on general health conditions or on Covid19.

3-     Health cadres and volunteers: providing masks and protective clothing for health cadres and volunteers, and providing monthly incentives and psycho-social support.

4-     Society: Carrying out behavior change activities that start with remote awareness and focus on prevention methods, including social divergence, wearing masks, hygiene and hand washing in a proper manner, and distributing masking and hygiene materials to poor families or collectively in the targeted communities.

health response

Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH)

NGOs proved to play important roles in the WASH sector during humanitarian crises. However, the government and society will be very grateful if they are able to contribute to:


1-  Provide more water to poor families in difficult settings through water trucking.
2-  Support water and sanitation facilities in hospitals and health centers.
3-  Support cleaning and disinfection campaigns led by governments and local authorities.
4-  Setting up extra hand wash stations for families in overcrowded displacement and refugee camps with inadequate sanitation facilities.
5-  Distributing hygiene kits to displaced people. The kits include sanitary towels, soap, shampoo and other components as per minimum requirements based on Sphere standards.


Food and Livelihoods


1-   Food: Providing conditional or unconditional cash and food aid.

2-   Livelihoods: People who are forced to continue their work need to be educated about ways to deal while doing their work in restaurants, farms, markets, supermarkets or transportation to reduce the possibility of disease transmission.

3-   In-kind assistance: distributing in-kind materials and productive tools to poor families, from whom they can benefit in developing products to improve income, such as sewing or embroidery tools, cheese and jam materials and tools, and extracting honey in a manner that prevents transmission.

4-   Direct funding: for small and medium businesses and startups that are affected by the lockdown and need bridge funding to survive and continue operating during and right after the crises.


Protection/Child Protection

1-   Distant counseling by phone or online on different protection issues.

2-   Social reconciliation to improve the situation in each family as all family members are forced to stay inside the house and this may lead to an increase in domestic violence.

3-   Psychological support by appropriate means is important for people in need to it, such as those recovering from Covid19, and for those in contact with them. Psychological support tools and means are required, and therefore organizations can offer to purchase and distribute fun games and distribute them to poor families, as they help them spend enjoyable times, especially in areas where there is no electricity, television and the Internet.

4-   Cash for Protection: Financial aid can be distributed to some families to purchase some productive tools that can be used to train and use them to improve income such as sewing machines, embroidery tools, and others.

5-   Providing information about service providers: organizations can collect the information of service providers and distribute this information to people to help them to communicate and make sure that the services are available before going there.

Shelter and Housing

Nonprofit organizations can do a lot with regard to the shelter and housing by preparing special places for people who have been confirmed infected with the virus as they may not be able to return to their families either in their home country or those stranded in other countries.

In the shelter, nonprofits may do the following:

6-   Providing temporary places equipped with housing and cooking utensils that can be used for homeless people and for people confirmed positive and have to leave home to isolate him/herself from the family and children, but the symptoms are mild and do not need hospitalization.

7-   Cash for rent for people who have lost their jobs and are unable to pay rent.

8-   Distributing the housing and kitchen utensils among the tools that the stranded people need in their residence, such as blankets, mattresses, pillows, gas cylinders, cooking utensils and catering.

9-     Distributing clothes to the homeless, elderly or poor families who lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic.


Education

NGOs could work with social entrepreneurs in many countries to provide solutions that help children to continue learning even when staying at home. This could be done in many ways.


1- Provide assistance to teachers to continue online teaching by making videos or directly by using available online distance teaching/learning tools.

2- Encourage parents to teach their children at home during the lockdown and follow up with the schools and teachers.

3- Develop new interactive teaching and learning tools.


Media and Advocacy

NGOs could provide support to improve awareness on social media and help to combat fake news and awareness messages through:


1- Train social media influencers online and encourage them to talk about social distancing and the best practices based on stories.

2- Produce quality content through blogs, videos, and success stories of Covid19 survivors, medical professionals and social initiatives that helped in combating the pandemic and share them of their websites and social media outlets.

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