Photo credit: Aide et Action Afrique
In Africa, all Aide et Action's countries of intervention are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, to varying degrees. In the face of this health crisis, non-state actors have committed themselves alongside political and health authorities. Aide et Action is playing its role by focusing its intervention on three areas: educational continuity, information and awareness raising and prevention materials.
In response to the COVID 19 pandemic, all African states have focused on prevention measures in the absence of a cure and vaccine. The closure of schools was one of the first measures taken by governments to prevent schools from becoming centres of contagion. Following this decision, various alternatives had to be explored to save the school year. Distance learning, school on the radio, education through the media, are among the options adopted here and there to ensure educational continuity and avoid dropping out. In Benin, Togo, Côte d'Ivoire and Senegal, Aide et Action has put its expertise at the service of the ministries in charge of education with other partners to define strategies, approaches, media, contents and timetables for distance education, a new option for primary school teachers and students. Better still, in Benin, within the framework of the Support to Governance and Relay Initiatives for Quality Education (AGIR) project, Aide et Action has signed an agreement with three community radio stations and the school radio station for the broadcasting of contents for the examination classes. 80 schools are beneficiaries of this program allowing 960 students in exam classes to follow the lessons on the radio.
Informing and raising the awareness of the educational community
Moreover, Aide et Action, with the agreement of its partners, has reoriented some of its activities to focus on raising awareness among the population. In Benin, radio programs were organized to raise awareness among the population. Posters on preventive measures were also published and distributed. In Madagascar, community awareness sessions were also organized in Malagasy (national language) and others were organized directly in 60 schools. In Togo, Aide et Action is conducting information and prevention activities in 11 rural villages.
In spite of awareness raising, some populations do not have sufficient means to comply with barrier measures. Aide et Action is also active in this area in several countries. In Benin, our organization has provided hand washes and reusable masks. They are primarily intended for students as they return to school.
In Guinea, Aide et Action has received from its partner, the Orange Foundation, 80 sanitary kits composed of 160 buckets, 80 supports, 720 soaps and 120 cans of bleach. These kits will be given to the health centres and posts of Dabiss, Walya, Kenende Lory and Kataly. Also in Guinea, in partnership with Solidarité Laïque Internationale, our teams distributed hygiene kits for the Kobayah neighbourhood, which will house the Laboratoire d'Innovations Sociales (LABIS). In Togo, protection kits consisting of hydro-alcoholic gel, hand washes and soap were made available to 11 communities in the north of the country. In Niger, the bridge centres of the PassEduc project are equipped with hand-washing kits, masks and awareness-raising stickers. Finally, in Burkina Faso, as part of the project carried out with our partner the Fondation l'Occitane, protection kits should be distributed to women's federations.
With the reopening of schools and the gradual resumption of educational activities, the respect of barrier measures is imperative to avoid a strong return of the pandemic. Aide et Action, like other education partners, will strengthen its support in terms of awareness and protective materials.