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Empowering Rural Communities in East Africa to Fight the COVID-19 Global Pandemic

When communities in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda experienced a surge in COVID-19 cases in March, we knew we had to adjust our priorities to protect youth and their families’ health and safety during the global pandemic. Many Asante Africa scholars come from the most vulnerable economic backgrounds. With the anticipation that they would experience food insecurity and financial strains, we developed a response plan and created our Family Essentials Package to alleviate hardships. 

Delivering an Inclusive Response Plan During the Global Pandemic

Our response plan includes several other initiatives for prevention and strategies for coping with the global pandemic. After focusing on families’ basic needs, we introduced learning materials to the essential packages to help youth continue their education and stay on track. Peer mentorship and rescue centers were established to combat the negative effects of social isolation and increased cases of abuse, and youth worked with local radio stations to ensure appropriate COVID-19 information and prevention measures were being effectively communicated and disseminated to communities. 

Fighting the Global Pandemic with Local Resources 

Asante Africa is a local organization at heart. On the ground activities are grassroots based and locally supported. Supplies for our “Family Essentials Package” and “Youth Essentials Kits” are purchased at local shops in East Africa to support local businesses. Program alumni volunteered as part of their pay-it-forward efforts to distribute packages to scholars in households experiencing the most economic hardships. We have been able to provide provisions to 970 families to date. That impact greatly expanded to 10,500 through families sharing their resources to neighbors and community members.

Youth and family members with their Family Essentials Package that includes reusable masks, reusable sanitary pads, soap, water, and food.
Youth receiving education materials as part of the essentials package. Items include textbooks, practice exams, solar lights, and access to phone data.

Seeking Support to Continue Our Fight against the Global Public Health Pandemic 

We were able to launch our response plan in March with funding from our existing programs. However, as the pandemic progressed into the summer and likely beyond year 2020, we understood that our organization needed external support in order to continue providing essential provisions to youth and their families. We could not have made the impact that we have and continue to do without the generous support of our donors. Our partnerships with our donors enable us to successfully respond to the effects of the pandemic, implementing programs that not only protect families’ livelihoods but also their dignity and hope. Addressing a global public health pandemic requires global effort and we are fighting it together!

Consider joining our fight and make a donation to our “Youth Essentials Kit.” Your contribution will make an impact for youth and their families!

Written by Genevieve Chan