IDAY and the COVID-19 pandemic
The situation regarding the development of COVID-19 in Africa is still uncertain. What is certain is that millions of African children are now out of school for several weeks and that the economic impact of the pandemic will be to the detriment of the most vulnerable people. UNESCO thus indicates that 90% of the school population in the world is today impacted by the closure of schools, which has multiple effects on the schooling of children but also on their psychosocial and nutritional well-being. For many of them, school is a place of learning, development, security and self-confidence building. Children from the poorest families will be the most affected by this crisis, and the most at risk of dropping out of school for good. In view of the delay in their learning, many of them and especially some of them will not go back to school after the crisis. Girls will be particularly affected.
Confronted with this situation, the IDAY network is mobilizing across the African continent!
Civil society, because of its closeness to schoolchildren and the world of education, has indeed an essential role to play in the response to the crisis. Firstly, of course, by ensuring that local and national authorities fulfil their obligations to provide services to citizens and to respond effectively in the field of education. Many funds will be allocated to the governments of the affected countries.
Civil society is carrying out advocacy to ensure that the funds are allocated effectively, in particular on the basis of the real needs identified by actors on the ground. Secondly, by reorganizing their direct services to their beneficiaries to meet the new needs of the crisis. The services offered today by the IDAY network are of two types:
> Participate in prevention of the spread of the virus in local communities by disseminating awareness messages and presenting barrier gestures. Civil society also has a responsibility to participate in and encourage the dissemination of clear and accurate messages about the channels of spread of the virus, the barrier gestures and the risks of the disease.
> Participate in school continuity of children, especially the most vulnerable, through educational and psychosocial support to young people. The aim is to maintain the link between the child and schooling. This support takes the form of maintaining relations with the teacher, continuing and accompanying homework, school radio and television programmes, educational talks, availability of teams to respond to children’s concerns, etc. > To participate in the school continuity of children, especially the most vulnerable, through educational and psychosocial support for young people.
IDAY-Burkina Faso hosts radio programmes to broadcast key messages.
In Kivu, WCP, a member of IDAY DRC/Kivu, has started the production and sale of low-cost masks for the most vulnerable (sewing training centre for women).
Restitution of the training workshop on capacity building of young association leaders on risk communication related to COVID 19 and community engagement, by the youth of IDAY-Cameroon.
Awareness raising activities among students by IDAY-Burkina Faso in Gaoua by Prosper SINARE of the Association of Working Children and Youth of Gaoua (AWCY/Gaoua).
> Participate in reflections and actions in the medium and long term :
By promoting IDAY’s school health strategies:
School gardens are a real way to make students, teachers and the community aware of the need to have a balanced diet and to take care of one’s health.
The medicinal plant Artemisia annua is known for its immuno-stimulating effect.
The IDAY network will therefore strengthen its actions in favour of raising awareness among pupils about the virtues of the plant, thus giving them the means to strengthen their immunity and defend themselves against certain tropical and viral diseases (such as COVID-19) that hamper their access to school. In parallel with awareness-raising in schools, advocacy actions will be pursued both with the authorities for the disclosure of the plant and with research institutes for the establishment of clinical studies in accordance with World Health Organization standards.
In Cameroon, teachers are organizing to maintain school gardens during the closed period.
Through reflection and advocacy around the digital shift in Africa :
In this time of closed schools, many distance learning solutions are proposed: school TV shows, youtube video put online by teachers, interactive platforms, … Yet, in Africa, a significant proportion of children do not have access to electricity, let alone an internet connection. Even if they receive digital support to be in touch with their teacher, they cannot easily recharge their equipment.
The COVID-19 crisis thus shows us that there are huge gaps in distance learning for primary and secondary school children, due on the one hand to the lack of an organized system to provide distance education, and on the other hand to the logistical difficulties inherent in the current sub-Saharan African context. The IDAY network believes that the response to this type of crisis must be prepared upstream, in a concerted and realistic manner with the daily realities of children’s lives, especially the most vulnerable.
The IDAY network believes that the response to this type of crisis must be prepared upstream, in a concerted and realistic manner with the daily realities of children’s lives, especially the most vulnerable.
Thus, IDAY-Senegal has developed a distance learning tool in African languages. It is a software that the child downloads on his phone or tablet. Then, there is no more need for an internet connection. The child can switch on the software when there is no internet connection and start working independently. IDAY-Senegal is now looking for financial and operational partners to deploy this promising tool.