COVID and the divide between North and South
The Covid-19 global pandemic affects all of us yet it’s fair to say that affluent countries at least have the economic resilience to help ease the day-to-day tasks of earning a living.
Many of us have received assistance in the form of government furlough or stimulus packages. No panacea by any stretch of the imagination but at least vaccines are beginning to roll out so there is light at the end of a very dark tunnel. In stark contrast, it comes as little surprise that similar state assistance is beyond the means of poorer regions of the world so how are the communities where Girls in Sport are working holding up during these difficult times?
Sierra Leoneans are a resilient people, having endured a bloody civil war as well as the Ebola epidemic in recent years but the country remains one of the poorest in Africa, let alone the rest of the world, and will be among the very last to receive a vaccine. They are having a very tough time of it trying to feed their children as traditional economic activities shut down.
However, help is being extended in the form of emergency cash disbursements to qualifying recipients from Unicef. This scheme, which has World Bank support and is managed by the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA), has so far benefited 29,000 heads of vulnerable households who have received the equivalent of US$135 to help get through the pandemic and it is planned to help at least a further 35,000 households.
When Girls in Sport programmes were suspended during the national lockdowns, our local staff have continued to provide vital food packages to our beneficiaries and their families. Chiara Milan, Girls in Sport Head of Partnerships said: “Cash transfers are an absolute lifeline for these very vulnerable families and will reduce food insecurity and other risks to their children. The Unicef initiative is a great help and we would really like to see other international organisations step up to the mark - not just in Sierra Leone - but throughout West Africa and beyond”.