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UPDATE: COVID-19 and Partner Communities



See the most recent updates from all of our partner communities.



(August 27, 2020)

Guatemala:

Health and sanitation awareness has always been a pillar in the training local staff offer partner communities. In this time of COVID-19, it's become a primary focus. FH Guatemala has adapted live-saving health messages into the local language of the Nebaj and Cotzal regions -- Ixil. Posters, handouts, and training is being offered to Leader Mothers and community leaders who are then able to share with their neighbours.






Burundi:

FH Burundi staff continue to check in with partner communities and their leaders. The local government did not mandate any lockdowns or distancing protocols, however FH Burundi recognizes COVID-19 as a real threat for families. So most work with community members has moved forward with updated safety measures in place (personal protective equipment, etc). Several construction projects have been postponed, community-level health professional are being offered additional training, and farming families are being offered workshops on how to still farm and take produce to market while adopting new social distancing behaviours. To keep communities safe, there's been an increased need for clean water. So, schools in Kabarore recently received new water tanks that collect rain water via rooftop run-off and eaves.



(August 26, 2020)

Cambodia:

FH staff in Cambodia reported that families with kitchen gardens struggled less with food security in the home.

"[Families] are doing home gardening with their children... they have beautiful home gardens! In the survey [these families answered], income is significantly decreased, but in terms of how they answer the question on food availability, it's actually quite high ... they have available food in the house."

-Irene Cataluna, FH Cambodia staff



(August 25, 2020)

Guatemala:




Nutritional bars were delivered to families in Nebaj. These bars provide essential nutrients for children, a major necessity during this time of food insecurity for families in the region. This program is projected to benefit over 8,000 children monthly for the coming months.



(August 21, 2020)

Haiti:

Food for the Hungry staff in Haiti delivered an update on the programs and activities being implemented in response to COVID-19. FH Haiti's livelihoods specialist, Edryne Pepjy Michel, explains:

"The Food Security and Livelihoods sector identifies the most vulnerable people to distribute seeds. In Belladere, 400 households received seeds of corn, okra and spinach. Due to COVID-19, [they] choose short cycle crops, so they can harvest them in a short period of time for the family [to consume]. "In the mountain region, approximately 700 households received vegetable seeds. Before the distribution, all our staff were trained in social distancing and preventive measures in order to fight COVID-19. In July, we also assisted church leaders in their new opening. We were there establishing hand washing stations inside and outside of churches. About 850 buckets, 26 tanks and soap were distributed to many churches in [the communities of] Kenscoff, BLM and Belladere. We also continued with school construction in Belladere." - Edryne Pepjy Michel, FH Haiti



(August 4, 2020)

Rwanda:

FH staff in Rwanda distributed beans and maize flour to community members to aid families dealing with food shortages. As well, soap was distributed to help improve community hygiene.




As well, wheelchairs were provided to 20 community members with disabilities.





(July 29, 2020)

Bangladesh:

Over the past weeks, vulnerable families in Bangladesh received food packs to help with food shortages.





(July 20, 2020)


Guatemala:

Families in the Quiché community received food packages from FH staff. As families struggle to access food, food packs become a critical part of COVID-19 response work.





Haiti:

This week, FH Haiti staff were present with church leaders as church programming reopened. Hand-washing stations were installed outside of church entrances and physical distancing measures were implemented in the services. Staff distributed 850 buckets, 26 tanks, and soap were distributed to local churches.




(July 13, 2020)

Uganda:

FH Uganda staff supplied the community of Bukiende with hand washing stations to be used across the community. 



Staff explain to the Bukiende community how to maximize the use of PPE and sanitation supplies. 


Haiti:



Livelihoods of many families in FH partner communities are at risk as 48% are facing food insecurity issues right now. To respond to this crisis, FH staff supplied 200 vulnerable families with seeds to plant household gardens. Harvests are meant to be shared with other families. 

(July 9, 2020)

Ethiopia:

The country has just come out of a week-long internet ban, and FH Ethiopia staff were not able to communicate with the the Canadian office during that time. Now, communication is back.


Guatemala:

FH Guatemala staff deliver food packs to families in the communities of Alta Verapaz and Quiche. The food aid will help many families who have lost jobs and income and are now struggling with food security.



All countries:

Across the board, FH staff are looking to reboot regular programming with caution to maintain physical distancing protocols. Schools remain closed, but some workshops and training programs are restarting while maintaining physical distance.



(July 6, 2020)

Haiti:


This past week, FH Haiti staff distributed hygiene kits to over 1000 families across three main regions. While maintaining physical distancing protocol to protect staff and community members, FH staff implemented WASH projects to spread hand-washing and sanitation messages to the community.


(June 26, 2020)

Ethiopia:

FH Ethiopia staff are helping communities reduce the spread of the virus by spreading health messages and increasing access to water and cleaning materials. By displaying banners and sharing leaflets, important information about the disease is being spread. As well, new hand washing stations have been constructed, and families have been given soap, sanitizer, and masks.


(June 24, 2020)

Burundi:

The spread of the coronavirus continue to worry community leaders. Local authorities have been slow to implement precautions, and testing is not accessible to most families. FH Burundi staff hosted health trainings for community members earlier in the season, along with the distribution of sanitation supplies. FH most recently facilitated the set up of clean water stations, chlorination stations, and hand-washing stations at schools, in markets, or even at bus stops across in most partner communities.


(June 20, 2020)

Haiti:

FH Haiti remains among the lead advocating organization in partner community regions, promoting COVID-19 awareness and preventative measures. Tailored messages went out via church leaders, teachers, Leader Mothers, and even radio spots.

The need for PPE is being tackled within the FH family; FH staff themselves and a group of formerly sponsored children (now young adults) are sewing fabric masks to deliver to vulnerable families. They are currently working on preparing 4,000 masks. Several Canadian churches are generously supporting these efforts.



(June 14, 2020)

Guatemala:

In Cotzal, community leaders are in touch with FH staff. They share that most community members are doing their best to respect health precaution protocols, such as wearing masks, staying home, and washing up frequently. Some community members are finding it hard to adhere to curfews, as crops need to be tended and the need to move between communities increases.



(May 31, 2020)

Ethiopia:

The federal and regional governments continue to be involved with preventative measures by limiting travel, encouraging working from home if possible, and broadcasting health messages. The government also recently reporting they now have up to 20 testing sites across the country. FH Ethiopia continues to purchase PPE and other sanitary material for ongoing distribution within partner communities, including the Sasiga Mid-Highlands.


(May 29, 2020)

Cambodia:

In Cambodia, community members are using their current situation as a chance to support their neighbours, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. FH staff and other local officials teach elevated hygiene protocols to community members, some of which have set up ingenious handwashing stations outside their houses. Read about one grandmother who has taken on this admirable responsibility.


(May 28, 2020)

Haiti:

Because there are limited medical resources for those who fall ill during the pandemic, a huge priority is placed on prevention and providing families with basic food and supplies. Seedlings were distributed to the communities, as well as soap and cleaning supplies.


(May 25, 2020)

Bangladesh:

The 50-bed health facility was finally completed this past week. Follow Dr. Moomtahim on a tour through the new facility!


Haiti:

FH Haiti staff work to get health messages out to their community. In Belladère, where many community members do not have internet access, health messages about how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are extremely important. That's why FH staff equipped with megaphones are visiting communities to communicate these messages from a distance.





(May 19, 2020)

Cambodia:

Within our partner communities in Cambodia, thorough handwashing and hygiene practices are becoming a critical part of daily routines. Local community leaders like Sophea and Leang explain the important lessons being shared with the community.





Bangladesh:

Food for the Hungry partnered with the UNHCR to construct a 50 bed health facility to deal with a potential COVID-19 outbreak in the refugee camp at Cox's Bazar. The facility is now complete!




(May 15, 2020)

Guatemala:

Local FH staff continue to stay in touch with community leaders as best possible. Most families are complying with protocols strongly suggested by local authorities to minimize the spread of disease, but food is become more scarce. Some local churches have arranged for donated food to be brought to the communities.

Community members are anxious for curfews to be lifted and local transportation to begin moving again, so that they may personally travel between towns and so markets for their handmade fabrics can reopen.


(May 12, 2020)

Guatemala:

FH staff distributed seedlings to the communities of Quiché to help boost food security in the region. As the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic unfold, food security is becoming one of the major challenges.

Families are encouraged to plant seedlings in their kitchen gardens to boost their food security.
FH has provided vulnerable families with what they need to cultivate their own crops in the coming months. 




Health messages are spread through communities in Bangladesh via megaphone. Many families do
not have TV or internet access, so FH staff have taken a more creative approach to sharing
life-saving messages through the communities. 


(May 11, 2020)


Sponsor Children (All Countries):


Although no children in partner communities have contracted the coronavirus, they are still feeling the impacts of the pandemic in other areas of life. As schools have shut down, and parents have lost their jobs, the future for children in our communities remains uncertain. As the economic fallout unfolds in many countries, the physical health and well-being of children due to malnutrition poses a threat.



(May 10, 2020)


Bangladesh:


The 50-bed facility is in the final stages of preparation. It is being stocked with supplies and s

Local volunteers and staff are trained on Infection Prevention and Control and how to properly
use Personal Protective Equipment in the new 50-bed health facility.



(April 30, 2020)


Burundi:

Communities are now focusing on providing clean water for drinking and hand washing. As well, soap, masks, and cleaning materials are purchased and distributed to the community. On top of this, community leaders are spreading health and hygiene messages to combat the spread of the virus. 

Funds are being reallocated to help families meet basic needs. This has meant construction and livestock projects are now on the backburner, while handwashing and hygiene projects are bolstered to take care of community needs that have risen because of the COVID-19 crisis. 



Ethiopia:

Most regular programs and activities, like education and livestock programs, have been reduced or put on pause. The exception is construction projects, which are carried out following social distancing measures. 

To reduce the spread of COVID-19, FH has created handwashing facilities like tippy taps in communal areas so that anyone in the communities can wash their hands throughout the day. 




Scroll further for updates by country




Donate to Help Families Respond to COVID-19




In Ethiopia and other partner countries, basic supplies are being delivered
to thousands of families. A global recession is making it even harder for families
stuck in poverty to get the daily food they need
.


(listed alphabetically)(as of April 27, 2020)
FH’s local staff are monitoring the situation closely and are providing updates as regularly as possible. With your help, FH is walking with partner communities as they try to adapt to the new realities of COVID-19.  


At this time, access to information from community leaders and in-country staff is more limited than usual. Our team is doing its best to keep the following updates relevant.

To look up the number of confirmed cases by country, please refer to the

Bangladesh:

FH staff in Bangladesh are working from home on a rotating basis so as to limit in-office contact, and have limited programming to only what is essential. FH staff are engaging with the communities by phone.


This situation in the Cox's Bazar refugee camp is different however, as staff are hard at work to help Rohingya refugees prepare. There are now reported cases of coronavirus in the refugee camps. Although they are not a partner community, FH in partnership with Medical Teams International, is increasing its relief aid efforts. FH staff here are aware of their risk of exposure but committed to their work. FH has been in the refugee camps since 2017, working to establish critical healthcare systems and run medical facilities. Currently, the camps lack effective testing, treatment, and isolation facilities; a 50-bed COVID-19 treatment facility with a small lab is under construction. FH is also working hard to hire up to 100 new healthcare staff and train local volunteer health workers. FH is training staff at the 4 existing health centres. As well, FH is providing masks, gloves, and hand sanitizers to the camps.


The government has placed the country on lockdown with an enforced 6PM to 6AM curfew. There is also a ban on arrivals from COVID-19 hotspot countries who lack proof of a clear bill of health.


Burundi:

FH Burundi are continuing with only essential programs deemed low-risk for the health and safety of community members and staff. FH staff are working from home.

Burundi confirmed its first cases on March 31. The border to Rwanda is closed, and the government has banned arrivals from COVID-19 hotspot countries. 

Burundi reports few confirmed cases of COVID-19. Preventive measures are in place although schools and businesses remain open. 

Cambodia:

FH Cambodia has limited programming to home visits only. They’ve postponed all training events, workshops, and meetings. FH staff are working from home and communicate with communities by phone. FH Cambodia has begun sharing critical health messaging on COVID-19 through phones with 179 Village Village Health Volunteers (VHV). VHVs continue to share with their families, neighbours, and Cascade groups. Informative handouts have been adapted for mobile phone use, and are being sent to volunteers in the community who in turn send the information to their networks and neighbours. People are following hygiene suggestions better than ever, thanks to a healthy concern about the pandemic.

The Cambodian government is denying arrivals from COVID-19 hotspot countries. They’ve closed all schools and universities across the country and banned gatherings in churches, mosques, and temples. Travel between towns is limited.

Ethiopia:

FH Ethiopia's focus is on making sure that key programs and services continue as much as possible without putting staff, their families, and our beneficiary communities at risk.

FH Ethiopia was an early contributor to raising awareness around the pandemic. It is running a nation-wide media campaign, creatively sharing ways to identify COVID-19, practice strict hygiene, how to self-isolate, and more. Messages are being shared in several languages include sign-language, and in partnership with local musicians, poets, and celebrities in order to be memorable and grab attention.

Meanwhile, FH staff in partner communities has shifted its daily work to focus on running demonstrations on physical distancing and good hygiene. They are also facilitating mass distribution of soap, sanitizer, masks, food rations, and more to thousands of families.

The government has closed schools and suspended public gatherings of any kind for the time being. 


A sample of a social media post from FH Ethiopia on how to identify coronavirus.

Food rations being distributed to families, in partnership
with other major relief aid organizations.


Hand washing stations have been added in partner communities in Ethiopia.
For many communities, this was part of risk reduction plans FH helped
establish before the pandemic broke out.

Guatemala:

FH Guatemala has deemed the crisis both a health and humanitarian crisis. Staff continue to work from home to ensure COVID-19 does not spread from urban centres into the communities. Many activities in partner communities are suspended until further notice in the interest of responsible social distancing. FH staff have started a fundraising campaign within the country asking other Guatemalans to support vulnerable families living in the rural interior struggling with the impacts of the pandemic.

FH Guatemala staff in the Ixil region (where FH Canada communities are located) are being trained on health messages developed by the GSC (Global Service Centre for FH). Since staff are not able to visit communities, these critical messages are being shared via telephone calls and text to key community members. These leaders then stimulate Cascade groups and Growth Promotion teams and other community volunteers to check in on families and share life-saving education. The use of this network is slower than usual, but it is working. 


Meanwhile the Guatemalan government has closed all schools and has closed their international borders to all foreigners until at least the end of March. All non-essential businesses have been shut down. A nation-wide curfew has been instituted from 4PM to 4AM in order to contain the current cases within Guatemala.

FH staff in Guatemala is working with local government officials to
 provide health supplies like masks, gloves, robes, and more to health workers
and other community members.

Haiti:

FH Haiti staff are doing their best to monitor the situation in partner communities through their regional offices. Schools and community activities have all been suspended.FH Haiti staff are being trained on health messages developed by the GSC (Global Service Centre for FH). These messages will be disseminated via Cascade groups and schools once field staff are able to train the community volunteers. 


Most inbound travel has been restricted, limited to a choice list of nationalities, and the country has also closed its border to the Dominican Republic. The government has also closed all schools and factories to minimize exposure. The government has implemented a national curfew from 10pm to 5am.

The pandemic and consequential shutdowns and food shortages has led to unrest in the major urban areas. There is also concern that the population is especially ill-prepared to handle the spread of the novel coronavirus, and there could be an outbreak.

FH staff are helping Cachiman and Mategouasse take precautions to minimize spread. These communities are rural and far from any urban unrest. They are also moving forward with a major clean water project (gravity water well system sources from a natural spring) that will help with the immediate need for washing stations and with the long-term need for drinking water, irrigation, and more.


Rwanda:

The Rwandan Government has place the country into lockdown until further notice. The pandemic hit during the 26th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide, making this a particularly hard time for families who are unable to be together.

FH workshops and training events such as cooking and farming demonstrations have been postponed, as per government instructions. However, other activities deemed lower-risk for group or personal contact are able to continue for now. Due to schools being shut down, many children are without education. For children home from school, FH Rwanda is partnering with the Rwandan government to offer a homeschool service over the radio, which will include education on the virus and how to reduce its spread.

Thankfully, many partner communities had previous adopted improved health practices; handwashing stations are frequented and other preventative measures are being taken seriously.

Rwanda has closed its borders, restricting all incoming travellers but doing what it can to maintain supply lines with other countries. Travel within the country is not permitted except for essential services.

Due to the current situation and travel restrictions, there are many who do not have food and are struggling to feed their families, especially those depending on daily wages through casual labour or small businesses. This week, FH Rwanda purchased and delivered even more basic supplies: 7,500kg of maize flour, 10,000 kg of beans, and 5,000 bars of soap to be delivered to over 1,000 vulnerable families.


Uganda:

FH Uganda staff are continuing with essential programming while remaining cautious about the health and well-being of community members and staff. The graduation ceremony for Marare and Nashisa will be postponed until the situation stabilizes.

The government has banned public gatherings as a precaution. All travellers arriving from international locations are subject to a two week quarantine.

Uganda's country nutrition program is considered an essential service. Please pray for the staff to remain strong, safe and healthy. Pray for strength as they are isolated from families as President Museveni just declared a further three weeks of lockdown. Please pray for school-aged children as school is still out and most do not have the luxury of being home schooled.


- - - - - - - - -
Updates provided as of April 27, 2020. FH Canada staff are in regular communication with other FH international offices and will update the above information as information becomes available.

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Food for the Hungry: UPDATE: COVID-19 and Partner Communities
UPDATE: COVID-19 and Partner Communities
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Food for the Hungry
https://blog.fhcanada.org/2020/03/update-covid-19-in-fh-partner.html
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https://blog.fhcanada.org/2020/03/update-covid-19-in-fh-partner.html
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