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Covid-19

Even before Covid-19, the Great Lakes Region was already suffering from a culture that has accepted and legitamized violence against women.  The risk and rates of gender inequality and gender-based, however, have risen dramatically since the onset of Covid-19.  The reasons for this are multi-factored, but ultimately are rooted in patriarchy and the rise of inequality during this pandemic.  The combination of economic instability, containment, poor sanitation, lack of personal protective equipment, food insecurity, and in some cases lack of police/govt security, places women at tremendous risk. In response, we have been working with partners to develop women-led strategies and approaches.  

 

Our Response

ISOKO is assisting partners in coordinating a response.  Here are a few things we have been doing:  

  • Helping our partners to develop strategies to respond to this pandemic
  • Collecting research and data and sharing with our partners and the community
  • Identifying funding opportunities for our partners and providing technical support on their projects
  • Sharing strategies amongst partners and other activists to help learn from eachother
  • Developing and disseminating recommendations for policymakers and other advocates  

 

What Some of Our Partners are Doing

Burundi

SPPDF has been in the field since the beginning stages of the pandemic educating communities on limiting the spread of Covid. They are focusing on border areas which are particularly vulnerable to the spread, and increasing awareness of women's health needs and access to care.  

Central African Republic

Réseau pour le Leadership de la Femme en Centrafrique is working with the Ministry of Health to education and training on handwashing and sanitary techniques.  The process has unfortunately been hindered by limited government funding for things like masks, and lack of safe access to rebel-controlled areas, and have been advocating at the regional and global community level for support.  

Democratic Republic of Congo

Our partners in DRC have been informed in the reponse to the pandemic by their experience with Ebola.  AIDPROFEN in Goma has been in the field every day educating on sanitazation strategies, and in some cases going door to door.  They also ran a social media campaign #CoronaPasChezMoi to raise awareness.  Meanwhile in South Kivu, Uwezo Afrika Initiative began making reusable masks for the community.  Because most people live on less than $2 per day, the costs of disposble masks would otherwise be impossible.  Our partner CEDECO has also been in the field providing education on Covid-19 and GBV prevention and awareness.  

Rwanda

BENIMPUHWE completely shifted gears following the lockdown in March.  They began educating the community on Covid-19 and restrictions, and began a texting and phone bank where they would send updates on Covid and check in to see if they were ok.  To help keep their young entrepeneurs afloat, they fundraised and began delivering them food, and advocated through TV and radio for GBV and child abuse prevention.  

South Sudan

Hope Restoration South Sudan began raising awareness on the response to Covid-19, but soon realized a problem: there was no soap supply in the community.  To respond, they began retraining their workers to make soap, which was then distributed the community.  In additon, they are raising awareness of the risk of GBV and providing emergency response. 

 

Available Resources

 

Click here for a list of available resources for addressing GBV during Covid-19