With almost 6 million coronavirus cases worldwide and counting, the world has seen unprecedented changes and struggles over the past few months. The virus has turned people’s lives, businesses, and even whole countries upside-down as they’ve rushed to incorporate new safety measures and adapt to a new “COVID-19-centric” environment. And FINCA International’s social enterprise partners are no different. They have continued working hard to provide the populations they serve with the resources they need in the wake of this global crisis.
As the second in a series of three blog posts providing network updates, this post will explore how some of our social enterprise partners have adapted to better serve the communities where they work to address COVID-19. You can read our first blog on our microfinance network response here, and look for our third and final blog about our BrightLife program’s response in the following week.
Read on to learn about our social enterprise partners network update:
As a first step to address the new challenges presented by the spread of the virus, Eneza Education sent COVID-19 related content to its existing users through its mobile learning platform. The organization provided information and guidelines about COVID-19 from credible sources to combat misinformation about the virus. These messages received very high engagement from users, signaling a need for that kind of information.
Additionally, after the government of Kenya ordered that all schools be shut down, Eneza entered into a partnership with Safaricom, Kenya’s leading telecom provider, to open Eneza’s mobile learning platform to all learners for free throughout the months of April and May. Eneza also made a similar arrangement in Côte d’Ivoire for two weeks of free content for learners and have extended partnerships with the Ministry of Education in an effort to reach more students.
When the lockdown in Zambia began in March, Good Nature Agro (GNA) implemented various new protocols to keep its staff and farmers healthy and safe.
For its staff, GNA purchased multiple wifi hotspots to encourage employees to work from home. They also provided specific COVID-19 training to those working in the field. This included mandating a “no touch” greeting policy and requiring employees to stay at least 2 meters apart. GNA also set up hand-washing stations at multiple points around their headquarters, processing, and field offices, and they put up posters describing best practices in all facilities.
For its farmers, GNA has limited all group engagements to no more than 10 farmers at a time. Meetings are required to be held outdoors when possible, and GNA brings portable hand-washing stations to all field meetings.
As a social enterprise providing affordable health care and services to low income populations in Nigeria, MDaaS Global acted quickly and efficiently in its efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19. After Nigeria’s regional lockdowns began in March, MDaaS Global remained open to continue providing health care to patients in-need. However, they implemented strict safety measures—such as the use of personal protective equipment by all on-site staff, screening patients for symptoms upon entry, additional and more frequent sanitation, and more—to ensure the health and safety of all staff and patients.
Also knowing their team had some very unique strengths as a health care provider, as well as seeing how important large-scale testing had been in other countries, MDaaS Global quickly went to work collaborating with other organizations in Nigeria to establish multiple mass testing sites and expand the country’s testing capabilities. MDaaS Global then also produced a free, downloadable “playbook” with step-by-step instructions for setting up and managing a mass testing site, available for people in other developing countries to use.
As an essential WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) services provider in Kenya, Sanivation is working hard to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within the community and preparing to build back even stronger.
With nationwide and regional lockdowns throughout Kenya since March, Sanivation has been a source for reliable information within the community. They also have increased access to sanitation and handwashing by installing additional WASH access points and providing training designed to encourage safer behaviors. Furthermore, Sanivation is working to unite WASH utilities across Kenya to share best practices and is monitoring the impact of WASH interventions and supporting utilities in recovery planning projects and proposals.
The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc worldwide and caused countless struggles for individual people and businesses. And while this global crisis is not over yet, each of FINCA’s social enterprise partners has adapted to these new challenges to continue carrying out their missions. They are providing life-changing resources to people and communities in need, and they have no plans of stopping anytime soon.