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ChildFund’s COVID-19 Response by Country

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Posted on 9/16/2020

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The Americas
 
Africa
 
Asia
 
Bolivia
Brazil
Ecuador
Guatemala
Honduras
Mexico
United States
Ethiopia
Guinea
Kenya
Mozambique
Senegal
Sierra Leone
The Gambia
Uganda
Zambia
Cambodia
India
Indonesia
Philippines
Sri Lanka
Thailand
Vietnam

This page was updated on February 25, 2021

As you can imagine, the children and families we serve are exceptionally vulnerable to COVID-19 and its impacts. We are working hard, alongside local partners, authorities, and families and children themselves, to continue to make sure they have the food, water, health care, education and protection they need. As always, our response and activities vary from community to community, based on children’s needs. Learn how we’re responding in each of the countries where we work in the Americas, Africa and Asia below – and we’ll continue to update this page as our response progresses.
Thank you for your care, your support and your continued hope. Your kindness is the driving force behind every single thing we’re able to do for children, during this crisis and always.
If you’re a sponsor, you’ve probably noticed that one of the main aspects of sponsorship – exchanging letters – doesn’t look the same right now. Keeping kids safe is our top priority, so while it’s still important to keep physically distant in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus, we’re often not able to deliver letters. But you can still write to your sponsored child! E-letters are the safest, fastest and most reliable way to make sure your messages and photos get delivered to your sponsored child. Log in or register for your account and sign up for e-writing in the “My Correspondence” section of your donor portal to start writing today! That way, your messages will be ready to go as soon as we can safely deliver them.

 

ChildFund’s COVID-19 Response in the Americas

Read an overview of each country’s response below, and check out the most recent emergency response report from the Americas, which includes photos and stories from children and families, as well.

 

 COVIDpage_Americas 

Matias, 7, lives in Ecuador and participates in ChildFund's Program for Safe and Protected Children. During the COVID-19 quarantine, Matias and his family received a kit with food and hygiene supplies as part of ChildFund’s emergency response.


Bolivia

In Bolivia, daily cases surged at the beginning of the new year. Schools are scheduled to reopen in February 2021 through either virtual or hybrid learning. Departments and municipalities will have the authority to determine education schedules and if students will return to the classroom in-person. As of early February, at least one COVID-19 vaccine had been approved by the government, with plans to prioritize vaccination for health care workers. Incoming and outgoing child mail via post is still delayed.

Most of our local partners in Bolivia are delivering program activities via the radio, social media, online meetings, text messages and printed packets that focus on educational activities for young children and parenting support for caregivers who have been home daily since the onset of the pandemic. Our local partners produced two community TV programs to share activities that feature local youth leaders and guide mothers. ChildFund has partnered with multiple organizations to support a nationwide children’s anti-violence campaign via social media, radio, videos and printed information.

Connect with ChildFund Bolivia on Facebook to see more updates.

Brazil

Brazil continues to experience high daily case numbers of COVID-19 with varying degrees of incidence throughout the country. As of early February, at least one COVID-19 vaccine had been approved by the government. The government has begun vaccinating high-risk individuals as well as health care professionals. In the regions where ChildFund Brazil operates, local governments continue reopening commerce as well as some schools. For most of our intervention areas, however, classes remain virtual. Many children still report difficulties attending online classes without computers or mobile phones or with poor internet connections. Incoming and outgoing child mail via post is operational with continued delays.

ChildFund's program activities are gradually resuming, with a focus on initiatives related to prevention and protection and favoring virtual delivery methods where possible. Our local partner staff continue connecting with families virtually, emphasizing care and compassion for caregivers who are also educators at home. We continue to deliver food and hygiene kits and promote virtual educational activities, reaching more than 5,000 families in this reporting period.

Please visit ChildFund Brazil's COVID-19 response website for weekly updates on the progress of their emergency response, and connect with ChildFund Brazil on Facebook.

Ecuador

In Ecuador, our public campaign of hygiene awareness continues to encourage personal safety measures. An increase in cases following the Christmas and New Year holidays led some localities to impose special measures during Carnival season. Schools remain virtual through the end of February, when a controlled return to face-to-face will be analyzed. As of early February, at least one COVID-19 vaccine had been approved by the government and a phased approach to administering vaccines was underway, though timeframes for administration to the general public had not been announced. The local post office that serves ChildFund Ecuador is shutting down entirely, and we're developing new routing to receive sponsor letters. Sponsors, please visit the My Correspondence tab of your ChildFund Manage My Account page for new mailing address information or to send a faster, more secure electronic message to your special friend.

Regular ChildFund Ecuador program activities are partially operational with protection and safety measures in place for children and staff. Our local partner staff remains in close touch with families, providing education and support to help manage the stress, anxiety and emotional challenges of the pandemic. To prepare for the re-opening of classrooms, ChildFund supported six schools in the North and Center Highland regions to improve water and sanitation facilities for returning students. More than 7,500 food baskets were distributed to help families through ongoing joblessness and food insecurity.

Connect with ChildFund Ecuador on Facebook to see more updates.

Guatemala

In Guatemala, reopening progresses while daily cases have seen little change since the latter part of 2020. Efforts to address COVID-19 have been further challenged by Tropical Storm Eta and Hurricane Iota, leaving more than 300,000 people across the country displaced from their homes and living in formal and informal shelters following the storm. Schools remain closed. As of early February, health authorities are anticipating the arrival of the first doses of vaccine during the first quarter of the year and are articulating a plan for administration. Mail is starting to stabilize but continues to be delayed.

ChildFund's normal program activities are beginning to restart, focusing first on opportunities to provide online, community broadcast or virtual education and support. We've also focused attention on families impacted by Tropical Storm Eta and Hurricane Iota, confirming children and families are accounted for and safe. More than 700 families received food baskets, health kits and shelter assistance, with an additional 200 families supported with household items such as mattresses, bedding and mosquito nets. Nearly 2,300 additional families received cash stipends to assist with purchasing food and essentials. Our plan for emergency response following the storms includes both assisting with food and farming support as well as psychological first aid for traumatized children and families. Rehabilitation efforts for a storm-damaged school were completed to allow a return to learning, as it begins, to happen more safely.

Connect with ChildFund Guatemala on Facebook to see more updates.

Honduras

In Honduras, COVID-19 challenges have been compounded by the destruction of Tropical Storm Eta and Hurricane Iota as they struck the country in the final months of the year. The storms destroyed the infrastructure of roads and bridges which succumbed to flooding and landslides. A national curfew continues from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., and businesses are allowed to operate at only 50 percent capacity. Schools across the country remain closed. As of late January, the government had not yet approved a vaccine for use against COVID-19. Incoming and outgoing mail may have significant delays.

In the wake of the devastating storms, our local partner organizations in the northern and western parts of the country have been focused on ensuring the safety of the children and families in our care. Our emergency response is being executed through our local partner organizations and focuses on food security, especially for displaced families..

Connect with ChildFund Honduras on Facebook to see more updates.

Mexico

Mexico continues its second wave of infections. Thirteen states, including three of our operational areas, were designated “red” under the federal stoplight system between February 1 and February 14. Under the red status, only essential activities are allowed. Authorities continue to promote safe hygiene practices and personal responsibility while restrictions on some businesses and large gatherings continue. Schools in only a few areas of our work have sufficiently low risk levels to facilitate in-person classes starting in January. Classes will continue virtually elsewhere. As of early February, the government had approved at least one vaccine for use against COVID-19, and a phased approach to administration was underway. Incoming and outgoing mail is still delayed.

Although ChildFund's normal activities remain on hold, our local partners are actively following up with families to ensure they understand how to protect themselves from COVID-19 and provide activities for skills building, physical activity and education. We're communicating through posters, videos, WhatsApp and SMS groups, reaching more than 11,000 youth and community members in January. We've also launched an education program via radio, sharing ideas and information about child safety and positive parenting. More than 85 families participated in our cash stipend program for food and household essentials in January, and we distributed food baskets to an additional 130 families during the month.

Connect with ChildFund Mexico on Facebook to see more updates.

United States

In all three areas of the U.S. where ChildFund works – in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, in Jackson, Mississippi, and in Richmond, Virginia – COVID-19 cases continue to rise, as they have been across much of the country. Schools districts in Texas and Mississippi that serve the majority of our supported children are offering either virtual or hybrid learning, while Richmond public schools are expected to begin offering some in-person options before the end of March. While approved vaccines have begun a phased approach for administration, it's still unclear when they will be fully available for the general public. Mail service continues with limited interruption, though safely visiting with families to deliver or collect messages is a slow and careful process.

Local partner organizations in Mississippi, Texas and the Richmond area are collaborating with schools and other groups to ensure that their most vulnerable families have access to food through local food banks, community distributions and school-sponsored curbside meal deliveries. Our Texas team received a shipment of masks through ChildFund's gifts in kind program and has already assisted local students by distributing more than 6,300 masks so far! We are preparing to begin distributing cash stipends for families in most extraordinary need in February. We continue to implement "no pressure zone" activities throughout our target communities, providing unit activity kits to facilitate learning. We also use these activities to celebrate birthdays, a meaningful experience for children who can't gather with friends and classmates. Regular outreach to our families continues to provide a vital connection and support to caregivers as we help identify and mitigate major stressors among youth and parents, providing referrals to additional local resources as needed.

Check out this short "thank you" video from ChildFund's Texas programs. 

 

ChildFund’s COVID-19 Response in Africa

Read an overview of each country’s response below, and check out the most recent emergency response report from Africa, which includes photos and stories from children and families as well.

COVIDpage_Africa

A mother and her children collect their food and hygiene kits from ChildFund during COVID-19 response in Senegal.

 

 

Ethiopia

Ethiopia is currently registering one of the highest numbers of COVID-19 cases in Africa. Demonstrations in the capital and civil conflict in Tigray are expected to drive the increasing rates of daily new cases up even further. Despite strong efforts in public education, safety and hygiene measures against COVID-19 are less frequently observed outside of major cities. Students across many regions of the country have resumed in-person education. As of late January, the government had not yet approved a COVID-19 vaccine, though it is anticipated that vaccinations may begin as early as March. Mail delivery is still delayed.

Although ChildFund's normal program activities are limited, we are keeping in touch with families, and we have been able to visit families in several areas. Support is increasing in our program areas bordering Tigray, where displaced families are facing food insecurity and struggling with the stress of the nearby conflict.

Connect with ChildFund Ethiopia on Facebook to see more updates.

Guinea

In Guinea, daily new cases of COVID-19 have increased slightly since the beginning of the year and are now further challenged with the confirmation of Ebola in Gouecke, in the southern part of the country. A Health State of Emergency remains in effect through at least mid-February, though both places of worship and schools have fully reopened. As of early February, at least one vaccine had been approved by the government for COVID-19. Incoming and outgoing mail is still experiencing delays.

ChildFund’s normal programs have resumed with careful attention to group size and providing for child and staff safety. We are sharing key prevention messages on COVID-19 in the communities we serve, including via radio broadcasts and printed materials. For the Gouecke area, we will also include Ebola prevention messages in our education efforts. Awareness-raising efforts reached more than 40,000 community members in this reporting period. Donations of handwashing kits and education sessions for faculty reached 20 schools.

Connect with ChildFund Guinea on Facebook to see more updates.

Kenya

In Kenya, every county in the country has now reported COVID-19 cases. The government maintains amended safety precautions, including extending the daily curfew from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. through mid-March. All grade levels resumed in-person learning in January under heightened health and safety measures. As of mid-January, the government had approved at least one vaccine for use against COVID-19 and is expected to receive delivery of its first doses in mid-February. Incoming and outgoing mail continues to experience delays.

ChildFund’s normal programs are resuming but have been scaled down to avoid large gatherings and to maintain safe practices for children and staff. Our local partner staff and trained community health volunteers continue to focus on stopping the spread and ensuring children are fed, safe and can continue learning. We continue to distribute soaps, sanitizers and masks along with our education campaigns to help keep thousands of community workers and students returning to schools safe. More than 50 primary schools across our operating area were supported with handwashing stations, education and supplies for a safe return to classrooms. Our efforts in January included food distributions to early childhood care centers, providing chickens to 110 families for food and income generation, and offering training to caregivers on safe parenting skills. We continue to distribute solar radios to households to assist with lighting and learning for children when they are at home.

For more information on our COVID-19 response in Kenya, check out ChildFund Kenya’s 2020 Annual Report. You can also connect with ChildFund Kenya on Facebook to see more updates.

Mozambique

In Mozambique, the significantly increased rate of COVID-19 infections and concerns about a fast-spreading variant have brought new mitigation procedures, launched in early February. A curfew is in effect in greater Maputo, and face-to-face classes have re-closed until March, with the exception of exams in progress. Places of worship are closed and most private social events prohibited. As of early February, the government had not yet approved a vaccine for use against COVID-19, though the Ministry of Health has announced intention to have vaccines beginning in the country within the first half of the year. Mail may experience delays.

ChildFund's normal programming has resumed following strict attention to gathering sizes and safety accommodations for children and staff. We are collaborating with the government and local partners to share key prevention messages on COVID-19.

Connect with ChildFund Mozambique on Facebook to see more updates.

Senegal

In Senegal, daily cases have risen above the 2020 highs, and the UK variant has been confirmed in the country. While economic re-opening continues, large gatherings remain prohibited, and strict mask and social distancing rules are in place. The areas around Dakar and Thies have further bans on public meetings and private gatherings, including a daily curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Students have returned to the classroom, though a modified schedule has been announced for the Dakar area starting in February. As of the end of January, the government had approved at least one vaccine for use against COVID-19 and was engaged in procurement and planning for its administration. Mail continues to experience significant delays.

Normal program activities have resumed with strict attention paid to child and staff safety and limits on the number of participants in group activities. ChildFund continues to focus on our COVID-19 response, supporting schools that have welcomed back their students and continuing messaging about protection. Hygiene awareness training was completed in recent weeks and reached more than 27,000 students and faculty members.

Connect with ChildFund Senegal on Facebook to see more updates.

Sierra Leone

In Sierra Leone, daily cases have seen a sharp increase, setting new records in late January. In late January, new inter-district travel restrictions were temporarily imposed, and a curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. was reinstated. As of early February, the government had not yet approved a vaccine for use against COVID-19. The new school term of classroom learning is underway. Personal protection measures, such as wearing masks in public places, remain in effect. Mail continues to experience delays.

ChildFund's normal programming is underway with measures in place for child and staff safety. Sensitization and education on preventative hygiene continues in the communities we serve. Since the start of our COVID-19 response in Sierra Leone, more than 12,800 children and family members have benefited from receiving cash stipends to help purchase food and household essentials.

Connect with ChildFund Sierra Leone on Facebook to see more updates.

The Gambia

The Gambia fears a potential second wave as daily positive cases and deaths have increased, and the UK variant has been confirmed in the country. The Gambian government has lifted COVID-related restrictions, allowing businesses, markets, schools, restaurants, bars, gyms, cinemas and nightclubs to resume normal operations, and borders to be open. Certain public health regulations, including the mandatory wearing of face masks and restrictions on public gatherings, remain in effect. Schools have re-opened for all students. Postal services, however, remain limited, making incoming and outgoing mail a challenge. As of early February, the government had not yet approved a vaccine for use against COVID-19.

ChildFund’s normal programs have started to resume with careful attention to the continued safety of children and staff. ChildFund has partnered with the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education and other actors to provide support to schools as they welcomed students back to the classroom. With our partners, we continue to promote strong safety and hygiene practices for COVID-19.

Connect with ChildFund The Gambia on Facebook to see more updates.

Uganda

Uganda continues to experience COVID-19 outbreaks. While restrictions were relaxed in November for many businesses and venues, a curfew remains in place from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. Schools have opened for final-year students with no major incidents, with plans for additional levels participating in staggered schedules beginning in March. Plans for remaining class levels are expected in the coming months. Elections were completed in January across the country with minimal disruption. As of late January, the government had still not approved a vaccine for use against COVID-19, though Uganda is part of the global COVAX initiative and is looking into additional procurement through its national budget. Mail may still experience delays.

ChildFund’s focus has been on supporting families with immediate needs or home health crises to ensure they have the support they need. In several communities, we continued to award micro-grants, reaching almost 1,400 individuals to help their home businesses recover from lockdowns that had slowed local trade. An additional 1,400 households received cash stipends to help purchase household necessities. As grade 7 children returned to school, ChildFund's partners distributed nearly 800 face masks to help keep students protected. Distributions of learning materials continue, reaching more than 600 children in recent weeks.

Connect with ChildFund Uganda on Facebook to see more updates.

Zambia

Zambia seemed to be in its second wave in January, driven by a highly contagious and virulent strain of the virus. January saw the country recording the highest spike in COVID-19 cases and deaths so far. As of early February, the government has not yet approved a COVID-19 vaccine for use, and no timeline has been shared by the Ministry of Health as to when vaccines will become available for public use. Several community protection measures remain in place, including restrictions on large gatherings. Schools remain open for all ages and grade levels. Mail may still experience delays. Outbound post (i.e. children’s letters to sponsors) appears to be stabilizing.

ChildFund Zambia and its local partner organizations continue to work with the Ministry of Health on awareness and sensitization campaigns to help slow the spread. After almost a year of challenges, and with the risk of new variants, we must remain vigilant in our safety measures. Cash stipends have continued, reaching more than 2,000 households in December, while January food parcel distributions provided a lifeline to 250 families. ChildFund has continued supporting schools with soap, hand sanitizers and face masks as well as installing 14 handwashing stations since our last report.

Connect with ChildFund Zambia on Facebook to see more updates.

 

ChildFund’s COVID-19 Response in Asia

 

COVIDpage_Asia

Sreylin, 8, learns at home with a small cohort of children because her school was closed during the COVID-19 pandemic in Cambodia..

 

Cambodia

In Cambodia, in recent weeks, cases of community transmission seem to be stabilizing, with the exception of identified hotspots in Phnom Penh city. Schools are reopened. Social distancing rules continue to be in effect, with special incentives for those who have tested positive to quarantine at government-assigned facilities. As of late February, at least one vaccine was approved for use, and administration was underway. Mail may continue to experience delays with limitations in international flights for mail delivery.

As of the last report, there is no significant impact on children and families in our areas of operation. Currently, ChildFund Cambodia is implementing its activities as normal, following health and safety precautions of social distancing and keeping group activities small. We continue partnering with provincial governments to closely monitor the COVID-19 situation. Many social organizations are predicting that by mid-year, families living in border locations may choose to migrate to neighboring countries to secure their livelihood. Since many schools in border communities remain closed for use as quarantine facilities, the risk of children accompanying parents on extended migration is greater.

Check out ChildFund Cambodia’s 2020 Annual Report for more information. You can also find more information on ChildFund Cambodia’s website.

India

The number of COVID-19 cases in India remains among the top 3 in the world, though daily new cases have remained steady through this reporting period. Normal services are available throughout the country, including grocery stores, schools/universities, and religious services. Most schools have moved to online or hybrid systems. As of late January, the government had approved at least one vaccine for use against COVID-19 and was beginning a phased approach of administration. India has been the fastest country to vaccinate 6 million beneficiaries countrywide. Mail may still be delayed.

ChildFund’s programming in India has resumed normal activities, with small groups participating and observing strict safety protocols. In most of our program communities, schools are re-opening for hybrid learning in a phased approach, with 10th and 12th grades now offering in-person learning and more to come at the end of February. We continue to support communities with education and awareness campaigns for good hygiene practices to prepare for hybrid learning. Campaigns supporting vaccination efforts are also being reviewed.

Read India’s most recent COVID-19 response newsletter for more detailed information and connect with ChildFund India on Facebook.

Indonesia

COVID-19 is currently widespread in Indonesia with continuing transmission across the country. Essential services are available, but public activities (including offices, religious activities, social and cultural gatherings and public transportation) continue to be limited in order to maintain social distancing. Some schools in low-risk areas or smaller islands have reopened, but the majority of schools remain closed. Distance learning via TV continues, and internet-based learning is offered where possible. Incoming and outgoing mail continues to experience delays.

While normal programming has slowed, we are supporting our local partners in implementing core programs with child and staff safety in mind. ChildFund is also working to help children and families through our COVID-19 response. We integrate personal hygiene training and refreshers into each activity to keep awareness and understanding of preventative measures strong. Information exchanges on the prevention of violence against children is ongoing, and support is provided to families to help their students engage successfully in home learning.

Connect with ChildFund Indonesia on Facebook to see more updates.

Philippines

In the Philippines, average daily cases have increased very slightly since the beginning of the new year. While the metro Manila area remains in General Community Quarantine status, most of our operational areas are in Modified General Community Quarantine and are seeing re-opening continue. Schools remain in a virtual learning environment with a mix of modular and online lessons. As of early February, at least one COVID-19 vaccine had been approved by the government, and the first vaccine supply was expected to arrive in the first quarter of 2021. Amid the challenges and accommodations for COVID-19, the Philippines experienced two devastating storms in late 2020: Super Typhoon Goni and Typhoon Ulysses. Wind and flooding impacted several of our program areas, destroying homes and adding to the stress of families already coping with the quarantine of COVID-19. Incoming and outgoing mail will continue to experience delays.

As we entered the new year, we consulted again with families to gauge their current concerns at this point in their experience of the pandemic. Families report continuing challenges with job opportunities and price increases in many basic commodities. Virtual and hybrid schooling remains a challenge for families, students and teachers alike, and prolonged home confinement continues to take its toll. We continue the implementation of our Family Disaster Resilience programs to help families prepare for and respond to the current challenges of typhoons amid a pandemic. Our programs include "psychological first aid" to families as well as relief workers in the hardest-hit areas, which provide a safe space for managing the intensity and stress of recovery.

Connect with ChildFund Philippines on Facebook to see more updates.

Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka, due to a recent increase in cases, the government has enacted preventative measures, including curfews and limited travel restrictions. There are nevertheless signs of re-opening. Borders are re-opening, and classroom learning for grades 6 and up has resumed. As of early February, at least one vaccine had been approved by the government for use against COVID-19, with administration to frontline health, military and police workers underway. Vaccinations were not yet available to the general public. Local postal services are still challenged, so communication via our website portal or using a ChildFund card is best.

ChildFund’s normal programs have resumed with strict safety measures in place to protect staff and children, favoring virtual engagements wherever practical. We've reinforced protocols with our community partners and are diligent to follow health regulations in our activities. As part of our response, more than 6,200 families received cash stipends or food assistance. ChildFund Sri Lanka has reached out to more than 44,000 children through its Educational Support Program.

Connect with ChildFund Sri Lanka on Facebook to see more updates.

Thailand

Due to a recent increase in COVID-19 cases, the Royal Thai Government has implemented new measures to decrease the spread. Our local partners in Thailand are in touch with enrolled families, monitoring them for needs including access to food, health care, hygiene supplies and clean water. Mail may experience delays.

We are coordinating with local and national authorities and continually working to help protect children and families from the effects of the pandemic, and to ensure they have better access to the food and other essentials they need.

Vietnam

In Vietnam, since late January, several hundred new cases of COVID-19 have been identified, prompting stricter social distancing measures in specific localities. International commercial flights are restricted, and strengthened measures around wearing masks and avoiding unnecessary gatherings are in place. Schools are in session, with the exception of those where there have been suspected cases of infected staff. As of early February, at least one vaccine had been approved by the government for use against COVID-19, with administration expecting to begin in the first quarter of 2021. Mail delivery has stabilized.

Normal programming continues in our areas of operation, where there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 as of the last report. We continue to maintain readiness should we encounter a new wave. New projects such as Swipe Safe and the National Child Help Line are progressing and include activities incorporating lessons from the COVID-19 experience.

Connect with ChildFund Vietnam on Facebook to see more updates.