URGENT - We are delivering aid into Gaza, but much more is needed
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Plan International Ireland is proud to be partnering with Irish Aid, the overseas development and humanitarian programme of the Irish Government, to reduce the risks of COVID-19 to some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people.

Irish Aid has released €500,000 to Plan International Ireland to fund programmes that will help stop the spread of Coronavirus and mitigate its devastating impact in Cameroon, Nigeria, Niger, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Egypt, and Bangladesh.

Many countries in Africa and Asia will be particularly overwhelmed by the pandemic, as they have weak healthcare systems nor the capacity to roll out rapid and thorough testing. Due to high rates of other underlying health conditions, such as malaria, HIV, and malnutrition, there is a risk even younger people could be more at risk from the disease.

Prevention of the spread of the virus is critical to saving as many lives as possible

Some of the countries were already very fragile before COVID-19 due to ongoing conflict and violence, and have some of the largest displaced populations in the world.

“The situation will be exacerbated for those living in humanitarian contexts such as refugee camps, where water is scarce and conditions crowded. In Nigeria, Cameroon and Niger there are over 2.3 million displaced people as a result of the Lake Chad crisis. We aim to reach those extremely vulnerable groups and will intensify support and preventive measures in existing refugee and displaced people’s camps.” said Paul O’Brien, CEO of Plan International Ireland.

Across all the countries we are worried that measures such as home quarantine will increase the risk of gender-based violence to women and children, especially adolescent girls. The closure of schools leaves them without a protective environment or access to child protection services, so it is urgent that we raise awareness of the risks to children and girls during the crisis.

With this support from Irish Aid we aim to reach 488,175 people (including 250,000 women and girls).

Our response will focus on:

  • Strengthen health services through providing training to health workers, and provide essential equipment including public handwashing stations, cleaning materials, disinfectant spray kits and PPE for health workers.
  • Use radio and posters to raise awareness of COVID-19 and key hygiene and handwashing messages to help stop the spread of the virus.
  • Provide nearly 2,000 families with emergency cash to buy food, hygiene materials and other essential items, where they would otherwise receive no income.
  • Across the countries we will support the continuation of children’s education through development of educational radio programmes with messaging on the importance of keeping children and girls safe from harm. In Sierra Leone we will reach 260,000 people with these important messages and will distribute 3,400 radios to poorer households.

“We already work closely with Irish Aid to support children through education, child protection and advancing equality for girls. Our best chance to overcome this pandemic and save as many lives as possible is by acting in global solidarity. The Irish public are responding to this crisis and have been generously supporting our life-saving programmes. We’re very thankful to Irish Aid for providing this additional support that will no doubt save thousands of lives.” added Mr O’Brien.