Faced with the Covid-19 pandemic, GRET’s teams and their partners adapted their activities in all their fields of intervention, in particular to inform populations on preventive measures and how to reduce the risks of contagion
GRET and its partners are currently conducting activities to raise awareness on Covid-19 as part of the project entitled Improving livelihoods, income generation and resilience of vulnerable populations in south Chin and north Rakhine. This project has a threefold objective: contribute to reducing poverty, improve food security and promote peace in two townships.
Reorientation of the project
In the internal displacement camps in the township of Kyauktaw, GRET trained two partner civil society organisations on preventive measures to fight Covid-19. In addition to this training, awareness-raising materials such as posters published by the Myanmar Ministry of Health were provided, enabling massive circulation of recommendations. In full compliance with social distancing rules, these organisations in turn organised awareness-raising sessions among internally displaced populations, in parallel with distribution of basic hygiene kits.
In Paletwa, GRET is in regular contact with the communal authorities, who wished to receive support with supply of hygiene products and protective equipment for Covid-19 (disinfectants, gloves, thermometers, etc.). Despite enormous difficulties encountered in the entire area due to the ongoing conflict between the Burmese army and the Arakan army, GRET provided the Paletwa Township Development Committee (TDC) with an emergency supply of health products. “We thank GRET for donating health products that will enable us to ultimately mitigate the Covid-19 epidemic and also help certain victims of the conflict if necessary”, says one of the TDC representatives. These hygiene items were transported from Yangon, where products are still accessible, in order to avoid scarcity in the areas around the city of Paletwa.
Innovative means of prevention
When presence in the field was not possible, GRET contacted village chiefs in the townships of Kyauktaw and Paletwa, the Ministry of Health and the United Nations Refugee Agency with a view to implementing awareness-raising campaigns via text messages and verbal messages conveyed by megaphone. Messages recalling the barrier gestures and measures to be taken in the event of a suspected case were sent out to more than 600 families. In the township of Paletwa, these awareness-raising actions were facilitated by sanitation marketing activities, such as installation of latrines, initially planned by the project. The fact that GRET was already present in the village made it possible to mobilise pre-established contacts on site to bring messages conveyed in line with the fight against Covid-19.
In addition, a phone line was also set up by GRET to respond to worries experienced by inhabitants in the project intervention zone. People receiving the text messages are invited to contact this phone line if they have questions on Covid-19, and can be given recommendations made by the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation.