Your Sponsored Child and Coronavirus

How your support is helping Baptist World Aid protect against and respond to the coronavirus outbreak in sponsorship communities

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Thank you for your loving support and care for your sponsored children during this global pandemic. We are conscious that now, more than ever, it is important for us to stay connected with each other and for you to know what is happening with your sponsored child.

We hope this page will help to answer some of your questions and keep you informed about how the coronavirus is affecting your sponsored child’s community, and how your sponsorship is providing vital support as the impact spreads around the world. We are working closely with our Christian partners in the field to monitor and respond to the situation in each community.

 

 

 

 

 

Country Updates

Like Australia, countries where we have sponsorship programs are in lockdown. Although our partner staff in most countries are abiding by government isolation advice, they are busy maintaining contact with sponsorship communities and providing support where they can.

Here are some country updates and ways in which our partners are taking action right now:

A small map of Bangladesh
Bangladesh

The number of new covid cases has increased significantly over the last month. Area-based lockdowns in high-risk areas have been in place since the end of May. Lockdowns have been effective in reducing covid case numbers from the June-July peak. This has taken some pressure off the largely under resourced healthcare system that struggles to provide treatment for covid patients.

Plans to reopen school on October 31 have been delayed further. A new date is yet to be decided. Discussions are currently taking place among education leaders as to whether schools will open by the end of November. Many children have had access to remote learning through government TV broadcasts. As a result of children spending extended periods of time out of formal schooling, child marriage rates have increased across the country, as well as the rates of youth crime in rural areas.

Staff have been distributing health information to prevent outbreaks in project communities and providing awareness-raising materials to reduce the risk of domestic violence. From September, most sectors of the economy have reopened, and our local partner have extended further support to protect livelihoods of the most vulnerable. They are also supplying further hygiene items, including masks and medicated soap, to more than 2,150 vulnerable community members as well as local health workers. Leaders in the community have now also taking part in awareness raising activities. In addition to these initiatives, project staff have increased access to clean water for drinking and washing hands.

Read the Bangldesh country factsheet

A small map of Cambodia
Cambodia

Many of the original restrictions have been lifted. Although the official number of covid cases in Cambodia is low, limited access to testing facilities means it is difficult to know the real number of cases and resulting deaths.

At the end of October, all schools across the country reopened their doors. This provided welcome relief to many children who have desperately missed schooling. Children are required to wear masks, practise social distancing, and regularly have their temperature checked to help keep them safe. On November 7th, schools in Cambodia’s capital, Phenom Penh, have temporarily closed for two weeks due to positive covid cases around the city. As the risk for localised shutdowns remain, many children across Cambodia are still at risk of permanent school dropout.

Although the recorded number of cases remain low, the Cambodian government has declared a third wave of covid, as of November 10th. This is expected to impact the gathering of project groups in the community. Project staff have implemented phone mentoring to ensure the health of the community continues to move forward. This has involved helping children learn how to protect themselves from abuse, ensuring education continues, supporting families to stay physically and emotionally healthy and training more community members to also implement these mentioning activities in their local context.

Read the Cambodia country factsheet

A small map of Malawi
Malawi

Malawi has only had a small number of reported covid cases so far, however the number of new cases has started to rise. Low testing rates are a cause for concern. In recent weeks, the national Dean of Public Health and Family Medicine has warned Malawians of a second wave. A full nationwide lockdown could have devastating impacts on these families, leaving them without income and food. The government has developed a response plan to invest into healthcare and targeted social assistance programs.

In late October, schools across the country reopened; a much welcome change for children who have mostly been learning through radio broadcasted lessons. Classes are running on a staggered schedule to spread out student numbers across the week. Classes are also run in line with recommended health regulations to avoid further spread of covid.

Staff from our local partner, CSP Malawi, are continuing to meet with sponsorship communities as per guidelines regarding social distancing and the number of people allowed to gather. Due to concerns of a second wave, Youth and Child Club activities remain on hold. Project staff have been adapting their programming to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus, focus on prevention activities and strengthen community health facilities. They are providing personal protective equipment and distributing information to raise awareness about the virus.

Project staff have been pleased to see that cases of other preventable illnesses in the community have significantly dropped due to better community hygiene practises. They have however, reported high child marriage rates, and increased alcohol abuse among youth over the last few months. Instances of these issues are expected to reduce with the reopening of schools.

A small map of Nepal
Nepal

Nepal now has a significant and growing number of covid cases, with case numbers peaking during October. In response to the recent dramatic increase, Nepal will now provide free testing and treatment to those infected. Health facilities across the country are already struggling to provide adequate treatment and to support quarantine requirements for patients.

The country has been in lockdown since 24 March. The length of lockdown is having a detrimental impact on livelihoods and the economy. Many casual workers have lost their jobs and been forced to return from the cities to their rural village homes, where many families are struggling to afford food and other necessities. A small number of schools have reopened across Nepal, and the government is working to continue online education support.

All staff from our local partner, United Mission to Nepal (UMN), are working from home. They are maintaining regular contact with sponsorship families via phone and child-friendly social media. UMN has adjusted its programming to focus on prevention activities. They have set up handwashing stations in communities, as well as for 35 families with family members affected by a disability. They have been providing hygiene information and psychosocial support for sponsorship families, to help them during lockdown. Many families have used the counselling services during this difficult time. Our partners have also made a major shift to develop a new livelihood support program, as covid has had a detrimental impact on livelihoods across our projects. Children are struggling with schools remaining closed in the area.

Read the Nepal country factsheet

A small map of the Philipines
The Philippines

The Philippines has a significant and growing number of covid cases. Lockdown restrictions (implemented mid-March) began to be eased in mid-May. Restrictions are gradually being relaxed further, to ease economic losses and help thousands of families suffering from unemployment, hunger, and poverty. The government has implemented a financial support package to reduce the impact on vulnerable groups. Remote learning has begun to be rolled out across the country and the government have stated schools will not likely reopen until a vaccine is made available. Their government have made plans to lock in 50 million vaccine doses expected to be distributed late 2021, early 2022.

Staff from our local partner, SAO Philippines, have adjusted their programming and are utilising technology as much as possible. This includes an online social media campaign with sponsorship families, to raise awareness about how they can take preventative measures and practice good hygiene. SAO has been creating activities that families can participate in during isolation. They’ve also been providing food items such as rice, with 630 sponsorship families receiving food assistance so far. All face-to-face group activities are on hold. Household income has been negatively impacted as lockdown continues, and well as mental health, especially among teenagers. SAO hopes to reach 780 vulnerable families with support to reduce these negative outcomes resulting from covid.

After Typhoon Goni, project staff have been warned that more typhoons are to be expected in the coming months, potentially compounding existing vulnerabilities caused by covid. They are preparing their church networks to be ready to care for affected families if a typhoon does hit the project area.

Read the Philippines country factsheet

A small map of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has a relatively small number of covid cases so far, however, the country has experienced a second wave in recent weeks. In response, the government will now enforce strict regulations across Sri Lanka. Schools were also closed again and are expected to reopen after the school holidays which been extended two weeks, until November 23.

Our local partner, LEADS, has begun an emergency response to the crisis (to donate to this, visit our COVID-19 Appeal page). They have set up handwashing stations in communities and are raising awareness about the continued risks of coronavirus. Staff have been providing sponsorship families with hygiene items (including soap and sanitiser), food packages, counselling support, and education packs for home-learning. They’ve also been distributing protective equipment, such as gloves, masks, and gowns, for village health workers. A further 200 families are also to receive protective and hygienic supplies including soap, hand sanitiser, safe water and masks.

Considering the rise in covid cases, at this stage staff are still working remotely, and Child Club gatherings remain on hold until further notice.

Read the Sri Lanka country factsheet

A small map of Uganda
Uganda

Uganda has a relatively small but, rising number of covid cases so far. A large portion of Ugandan businesses will now begin to reopen, to protect the economy from further decline. A large amount of families has been being impacted by job loss and many families have still been experiencing food shortages, surviving on only one meal a day. Uganda has slightly reduced the cost of covid tests for individuals, in hopes to increase accessibility. All schools have now reopened across the country

In line with health regulations, project staff have begun visiting sponsor children and their family’s homes from August to help identify the specific challenges they are facing during the coronavirus pandemic. Our partners have found that the most pressing challenges are insufficient income, savings, and food security. As some restrictions have been eased, some small-group activities have resumed, including saving groups. Our local partner has been distributing health information to promote good hygiene in sponsorship communities. They are ensuring families have access to water for handwashing and are providing hygiene kits to vulnerable households. More than 2,000 families have received soap for handwashing.

Read the Uganda country factsheet

“To our sponsors in Australia, we are very thankful for your support and prayer. Together we will beat this pandemic. Thank you for everything.”
– Jun, a sponsored child from the Philippines

At the rapid rate of change that is occurring with the coronavirus around the world, we will ensure this page is updated as regularly as possible with the latest news from the field.

Last Updated: 13th November 2020

FAQs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be Generous

To help keep more children and families safe from coronavirus, why not give your most important gift ever?


$100

Your $100 gift provides 4 hygiene kits to protect families at risk of covid.

$200

Your $200 gift provides 6 PPE kits for health workers in high risk, overcrowded conditions

$1000

Your $1,000 gift funds an emergency field worker in refugee camps for a month.

$

or call 1300 789 991