The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is the largest Global health crisis of our lifetime. This is an indiscriminate disease that will disproportionately impact the most vulnerable citizens, especially the poorest communities.
With the virus already invading China and Europe, we immediately adapted our activities to a preparedness intervention approach with the provision of education and vital prevention and mitigation resources to ensure our beneficiaries and stakeholder communities remain prepared and protected. We also provided hand-washing and hygiene stations at all of our sites, and implemented a strict physical distancing policy.
On the 13th March, 2020, Girls in Sport took the difficult decision to suspend all programme activities, as our national governments and health services work to contain the disease and save lives
Our local teams are now working with host country partners in preparation for the arrival of the virus to our communities. We are working particularly closely with local child protection sectors to ensure that no harm comes to any child, girl or boy, while schools are now closed. We are adapting our sites, in any event that local response teams need additional community health or testing stations during this time.
Previous lessons learned help us to understand the risks this crisis exposes to children and teenage girls. While we are disappointed that we are unable to continue our usual activities that provide such a central role in gender and child protection, we know that we must all play our part in fighting COVID-19.
Girls in Sport staff in Sierra Leone have vital community-led experience, recently inherited through the unfortunate Ebola crisis, knowledge which is now intrinsic at this time to the effectiveness of our shared efforts, and key to safeguarding everybody, especially the most vulnerable.