CBM was quick to launch a Corona Response Fund in March 2020 to mitigate the far-reaching effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on our projects worldwide. Our Regional Directors in Africa and Asia warned, among other things, of a dire food shortage and a drastic slump in medical care facilities, specifically for people with disabilities.
Funding activities in Africa and Asia
Funds from the Corona Response Fund are being channelled to CBM partners in Africa to provide assistance in Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, Madagascar, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Uganda. In Asia, CBM is partnering with local and national DPOs and governments in India, Nepal and the Philippines.
The funds are being used for:
- Access to water and hygiene (e.g. soap, disinfectant etc.). Common washing stations have also been set up in many local communities.
- Maintaining operations in our hospitals and health stations (e.g. training of personnel, provision of PPE, face masks, disinfectants and other hygiene kits)
- Food distribution to people with disabilities and their families who would be at risk of starvation and death due to strict curfews, unemployment or poverty.
- Dissemination of COVID-19 specific information tailored to the needs of persons with disabilities: special TV and radio spots, sign language interpretation, brochures in Braille, training on how to disinfect wheelchairs and so on.
Corona aid in India
In the Indian state of West Bengal, 800 families who are severely affected by the coronavirus are currently receiving aid. CBM partner Sundarban Social Development Centre (SSDC) is distributing food packages which include essentials such as potatoes, lentils, rice. The inhabitants of the region live in remote, inaccessible villages and it is particularly hard for people with disabilities to access food and stock up. The nationwide lockdown announced on 24 March is still in vigour and further exacerbates their situation.
Regardless of the Corona Response Fund, many CBM project countries are leading their own projects to tackle the Coronavirus crisis and help those in need.
In Vietnam, CBM and our local partner AFV’s primary goal was to save poor people from starvation. We were quick to launch a relief campaign for people with disabilities and their families, poor households as well as elderly people living alone in Ngo Quan. The relief kits included food items such as bags of rice, cooking oil, canned fish, fish sauce and milk), as well as protective hygiene items like hand sanitizers, masks, mouthwash, soap etc.
In India, CBM and our partners are responding to a huge humanitarian crisis triggered by strict lockdown to contain COVID-19 infections. We are providing aid for people with disabilities, the elderly and other vulnerable groups.
In Bangladesh, we are supporting awareness-raising campaigns to contain the Coronavirus. Voluntary civil protection committees in many local communities are working tirelessly in the fight against the Coronavirus by distributing leaflets and disinfectants.
Across many poor communities in Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Tanzania, we are providing sign language interpretation, telecounselling services, media awareness campaigns and increasing inclusion and resilience of girls with disabilities and their families.
Access our Guidance Notes
To support CBM’s Community-Based Inclusive Development partners, a “Disability Inclusive Community Action – COVID-19 Matrix” has been developed to provide community programmes guidance on possible action points in community development and mobilization in relation to COVID-19 preparedness and response.
Similarly, a guidance note for COVID-19 has been developed to support our eye health partners and communities they serve, in their efforts to combat this global health crisis.