What Non-for Profit Organisations in Africa can do during the Covid-19 PandemicIdes Ofune 5th April 2020 0 COMMENTS
I recently worked with a non for profit organisation to help them map out specific initiatives they could undertake in Nigeria during this crisis. Indeed, there is a lot to be done given the state of the continent in order serve the interests of the society and ease the burden of people as they go through this difficult period. Despite the fact that these initiatives ought to be done, it is imperative that they are tailored to suit the African context.
I have highlighted some measures although the list is non-exhaustive.
Proceed on enlightenment campaigns
By now, all your organisational social media handles and website should be buzzing with messages informing the general public on what to do to stay safe. Create simple animations and videos in ways that connect with your audience. The messages must not be ambiguous neither should they leave room for other interpretations. As much as possible, they must be in the local languages of your community. Furthermore, you can collaborate with trusted public personalities who have a lot of followership. This is to ensure that the public considers these campaigns credible and acts accordingly.
These campaigns can be passed through traditional media channels such as radio, TV and Newspapers. A large proportion of Africans rely on radio to get their daily dose of news. They can as well be enlightened on the virus through this medium. Preferably, the campaigns should begin with what a virus is in the first place. Most members of the public in this part of the world may not understand what a virus is given the level of education. It is therefore reasonable to begin with such a message. The campaigns must include how covid-19 is spread and how to prevent it. Remember to spread hope and not fear or panic.
Collaborate with the Government
The enlightenment campaigns you are embarking on must as much as possible not contradict the government’s directives. Rather, they need to be reinforce them. For example, social distancing measures put in place, curfew orders where applicable or the responsibilities expected from the members of the public. This way, there is uniformity of messages being passed across to the general public.
Distribute Basic Necessities to the Underserved Communities
This is a very key in most parts of Africa. A large percentage of the population rely on daily informal economic activities for survival. With the current social distancing measures in place, many households may go hungry. Your organisation can set aside some funds to fill this gap by distributing basic food items to those in need. This will probably require taking permission from the government as you don’t want to run afoul of the law. When doing this, ensure proper social distancing as much as possible with a few people involved. Identify the communities that critically need this, the number of households and then proceed with distribution. This measure is currently being undertaken by the Rwandan government and it’s been hailed as successful. It’s possible to implement same if your organisation has the capacity.
Members of your organisation may volunteer in areas such as hospitals and isolation centres where people are highly needed. It is well known in this part of the world that volunteering is often not done without financial rewards. This means that your organisation will be committing some funds to pay volunteers that are committed enough to support health workers. Your organisation may also play the role of coordination thereby relieving some burden off the shoulders of the government.
Support the Health System and Workers
Governments all over the world are in need of personal protective equipment (PPE). Some African governments would definitely need adequate amount for health care workers. Your organisation can step in by purchasing a number of these items to assist hospitals. This does not need to be in large quantity as any amount will definitely go a long way in saving lives. Not only are PPE needed, other necessities such as hand sanitisers, hand wash, bleach and sanitizing tools can be distributed to the local hospitals near you.
Health workers are at the frontline of this crisis and are putting their lives at risk. They are the heroes of this pandemic. They should be greatly appreciated not only financially but in ways that improve their overall wellbeing. I could list a number of ways your organisation can help the workers such as providing daily warm meals, sending them words of encouragement, donating items to their families and providing free transportation from their houses to work every day to mention but a few. As earlier stated, this should not only be the work of the Disease control centres (CDC) but the whole society in whatever form possible.
These are measures that as non for profit organisations, you could implement in your own little capacity. Your contribution may be small but it will definitely go a long way. Together, we can save lives during this pandemic and ensure that the burden is reduced as much as possible.
Did you find this article useful? Which of these measures would you be implementing? Or what have your organisation done during this pandemic? Tell us in the comment section or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Ides Ofune is currently a PhD Student at the University of Leeds. Her research focuses on civil society and accountability in improving the quality of education. She is the founder of Desert Bloom Initiative and editor of Desert Bloom Advisory. Ides is very passionate about education and creating an inclusive society. She speaks French and English fluently. She can be reached at email@example.com