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Supporting community recovery and resilience in response to COVID-19

A man holding a baby

Mohammed Musad, a 59-year-old displaced person in Dar-Sad District, Aden governorate

Mohammed Musad, a 59-year-old displaced person in Dar-Sad District, Aden governorate

“Without enough clean water for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene, it is difficult to maintain good health and fight off illnesses,” says Mohammed Musad, a 59-year-old internally displaced person (IDP) living in an IDP camp in Dar Sad district of Aden governorate. “Without proper sanitation, water supplies can become contaminated, and diseases can spread rapidly among displaced families. Even coronavirus can spread undetected here.”

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a worldwide challenge. But in worn-torn countries like Yemen, communities are more vulnerable. Having been forced to flee their homes, displaced families are exposed to a range of challenges and risks. During the Covid-19 pandemic, IDPs are especially at risk because they are unable to self-isolate and they lack access to water, sanitation and basic healthcare. For IDPs who already have difficulty accessing adequate water, sanitation, healthcare and livelihood services, the impacts of the pandemic are likely to be significant on their health and wellbeing, and its longer-term social and financial consequences mean that IDPs need more assistance than ever.

The threat of cholera and COVID-19 looms high in IDPs camps,” says Sabrine, CARE’s Hygiene Promotion Field Officer. “The lack of adequate water and sanitation infrastructure, as well as overcrowding, make basic prevention measures such as handwashing and isolation very difficult.”

A woman showing a drawing to kids, engaging them in an art activity.
A community health volunteer educating children in IDP camps about best hygiene practice

With funding from Jersey Overseas Aid (JOA), CARE intervened in Dar Sad district of Aden with its Responding to WASH Needs and COVID 19 Prevention project. The project prioritizes displaced and vulnerable families in the hosting communities to improve their short-term access to water, sanitation and hygiene services.

Community engagement has been considered a fundamental component of CARE’s response to past outbreaks, such as cholera. Educating community members about basic prevention methods can help them protect themselves and limit the spread of the outbreaks. Through the project, CARE works to improve community awareness about best hygiene practices to enhance public health.

In partnership with the Ministry of Public Health and civil society organizations, CARE reached nearly 28,635 people through various awareness-raising activities where community members and students in schools were educated about best hygiene practices and prevention methods such as hand-washing and physical distancing. Moreover, the project provided water tanks as well as essential hygiene materials and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for health facilities.

Kids wearing a face mask attentively sits in front of a classroom
Students learning about the importance of wearing masks

“Since I started to work as a community volunteer, I’ve been feeling more confident,” says 26-year-old Mona, a community health volunteer. “I have the power to make a difference in my community by educating people about the best health practices that must be adopted. Schools are a good place to exchange information with children who are often the most susceptible to catch an illness.”

“I feel proud to contribute to the positive behavioral change in my camp,” says Mohammed Musad. “Now residents in the camp wash their hands more regularly and move the solid waste outside their tents daily. I love watching displaced families practice best hygiene behaviors, so no one gets sick here,” he concludes.

A group of kids sitting in a big hall
Awareness-raising activities in a school in Aden governorate
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