To build the resilience and prepare vulnerable rural communities to the threat posed by COVID-19, ECLT and its network of partners have developed context specific activities to complement on-going programmes to fight child labour.
All project activities requiring close human contact and/or gatherings of people have been put on hold, following National guidelines and measures. Avoiding field visits, working from home when possible, carrying out meetings online are just some ways in which ECLT is adapting working methods to protect staff and partners whilst also ensuring that key interventions to protect children from child labour continue where possible.
Here are some of the measures being taken in each of our project countries:
To strengthen food safety and security of targeted communities in Guatemala, 150 households are being provided with seeds (corn, beans and tomato, amongst others), specific instructions on how to grow them and anti-bacterial soaps. Thanks to the internet credit provided, students have been able to access their lessons on the e-learning platform made available by the Ministry of Education. Students and teachers in the targeted communities are determined to make good use of this new scenario some students have even enrolled in additional voluntary online courses (on Excel or Photography) and most teachers have organised class meetings online with their students
In Indonesia, the Partnership in Action against Child Labour in Agriculture (PAACLA) is also adapting communications and meetings to use online tools. Project work in the field is being adapted to avoid large gatherings. The Child Friendly Village Task Force and Child Forum will meet in small numbers. In collaboration with local authorities, ECLT’s project partners (LPKP and SANTAI) are helping to disseminate disinfectant spray and hand sanitizers to households and public facilities. Billboards and posters with messages from the WHO and the Government to prevent farmers and communities from catching COVID-19 were displayed in 12 villages. A COVID-19 Prevention Handbook was also produced directed to Village Task Force, Regional Facilitators and Children's Forums on how to inform communities on COVID-19. Malawi
In Malawi, focus has been put on raising awareness at community level by adapting and translating key health messaging with the support of community structures. The messages have been shared with Ministry of Health for endorsement prior to dissemination through radio programmes, mobile vans and distribution of printed materials.
A similar approach has been followed in Uganda, where dissemination of key messages via local radios and TV channels, as well as distribution of hygienic material to targeted communities were considered most appropriate measures to strengthen resilience of communities in Hoima and Kikube districts. Awareness raising materials have been translated into local languages and shared with district stakeholders, and they are now ready for dissemination. Distribution of hygienic material shall commence shortly, as district authorities have recently provided their clearance.
Hygiene materials were also been made available for communities in Mozambique. Often remote communities do not have easy access to disinfectants and antibacterial gel. Farmers who received training to become Farming Business Advisors are being provided with mobile data so they can still obtain daily guidance and support other farmers in the community and avoid field visits. Finally, 5 water wells in the 5 targeted primary schools will also be built. Ensuring supply of safe water to targeted communities would have a positive impact in their health and would also allow them to follow appropriate hygienic recommendations against COVID-19.
Finally, in Tanzania, relevant community leaders participated in information sessions on the importance of hygiene and social distancing as a way to limit impact of COVID-19, and encouraged to raise awareness among all members of their community on crucial measures to take. Hygiene materials will also be distributed to rural communities shortly.
We are evaluating the situation day by day, ready to provide additional funds if required. ECLT is in regular contact with our implementing partners to ensure that field staff and communities are being protected from risks. We are also assessing and adjusting our approach to align with the evolving recommendations from the World Health Organisation and National Governments.
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